“Two Wizards Spurs tickets,” read the headline on Craiglist. “If Wizards dont win, you get em for free!”
That wasn’t all. The same ad listed many more tickets to many more games, with the same money-back deal. Either you see the home team triumph, or your entry into the arena gets refunded. Win-win. So to speak.
“I guarantee a win for every Wizards [game],” the lister wrote. “See Below a list of the games and what your price would be per ticket. Of course if the Wizards dont win, your cost is ZIPPY.”
I talked to the man who wrote this ad, a 35-year old lifelong Bullets/Wizards fan (and longtime Bog reader) from the Maryland ‘burbs named Tim.
“On StubHub, tickets are selling for about 80 cents a ticket for weekday games,” he told me. “I’m getting hardly anything for these tickets to begin with. So I thought, you know what, let’s ask people to put their money where their mouth is. Everyone says the Wizards are so bad. I’m asking people to pay a little more than they would pay anywhere else, with the caveat that they’re paying for a chance to get them for free.”
Tim is a relatively recent season ticket holder, and he bought tickets with the specific goal of re-selling some of them to finance the rest. He has a young daughter and goes to perhaps 10 games a year, but his season-ticket package yielded four upper-level baseline seats for well below face value, plus a three-year locked-in price guarantee.
“If you look at the Wizards, they’re a stock that is about as low as it can get,” he argued. “I figured if I can buy that stock low, when they get good – if they ever get good – I’ll have these tickets at a price that’s very low. I took a three-year bet, hoping that they get good and I make a lot of money. But even if they [stink], I’ll make a little bit of money. Last year, coming off a lockout, I still made money off the Wizards.”
Tim isn’t doing this to buy a luxury condo, mind you; he told his wife that his one vice was attending live sporting events, and he uses his re-sale profits to fund this hobby. Besides the Wiz seats, he’s a Redskins season ticket holder and goes to 10 or 15 Caps games a season.
But this year’s Wizards games haven’t exactly been a high-demand item, which led to his promotional idea. He’s only offering the money-back guarantee for two of his four tickets, and he admittedly is asking for considerably more money than he received for the same seats against the same opponents last year. On the other hand, if the Wizards lose, the seats are free, and a refund (via PayPal) will come within 24 hours.
If anyone decides to play along, Tim figures he’ll get a bit more of a thrill watching the game, with a financial incentive to cheer on the home team. And if the Wizards average just one home win out of four games, he said, he will still make his original money back. He’s already had about 20 inquiries from his listing, but no buyers just yet.
“Maybe they’re a little bit worried if this joker will give them their money back, and I understand that,” he told me. “I’m very curious to see how this works. With the two other tickets that I have, I’ll be okay. I don’t expect to get every game sold [under this promotion], but if that does happen, I’m willing to bet that they would win one out of every four home games as we move forward.”
And yes, silly jokes and attention-getting promotions aside, Tim still wants the home team to succeed. In the meantime, he’s like all of us, finding a way to stumble through the days and weeks and years until the winning arrives.
“I was actually thinking about this the other day: I’ve never seen a really good Bullets/Wizards team in my life,” he said. “Yeah, the teams with Gilbert were fun to watch, because they were scoring a lot, but they were also being scored on a lot. I watch games now on ESPN, or the ABC game of the week, and it’s like that’s not even the same league.”
But once John Wall and Nene get healthy, and the law of averages takes over, and hope and faith triumph, well….
“I mean, gosh, ” he said. “They can’t [stink] this bad for the entire year, right?”
(Image via the Bobby Bernethy Tumblr.)