The D.C. Baseball Commission yesterday voted to begin a season ticket drive aimed at supporting the area's bids for one of the two expansion franchises the National League will add in 1993.
The drive, to be formally announced at a news conference Oct. 15 at RFK Stadium, will follow the same format as the commission's season ticket effort in 1986, said Councilman Frank Smith (D-Ward 1), the commission's chairman.
Fans will be able to open special interest-bearing savings accounts at area banks. They will be asked to deposit an amount equivalent to the estimated price of a full season ticket, one-third season ticket or 10-game plan. Smith said the commission is planning to use a $9 average ticket price, so deposits in multiples of $729, $243 and $90 are likely to be requested.
Although the commission will be notified about the owner and size of each account, Smith said depositors will retain "full control over their accounts at all times." He also said all interest will go to account holders, who will be under "no obligation" to maintain the account for any particular length of time or to purchase tickets if Washington is awarded a team.
In 1986, with the commission using a $7 average ticket price, Smith said more than 4,200 accounts were opened and about $9 million, representing commitments to purchase the equivalent of about 15,000 season tickets, was deposited. Smith said he believes most of the accounts remain active, but Armory Board General Manager Jim Dalrymple, whose office maintained a list of the accounts, said the list has not been updated in "a couple of years."
Smith said the goal is deposits for the equivalent of 25,000 season tickets, at which point the campaign will be cut off.
Washington is represented by two groups. Metropolitan Washington Baseball, led by John Akridge, has a letter of understanding to lease RFK Stadium for 45 years. Capital Region Baseball, led by Mark Tracz, would like to initially locate a team at RFK Stadium, then move to a new facility in Northern Virginia.
The commission has voted to support Akridge's group, and Smith said the season ticket campaign is being launched "on behalf of baseball at RFK Stadium." However, he added, "Obviously, I think it will help anybody who wants to get a ballclub."