So I had this great idea for a post where I was going to talk about some of the suggestions or rants I've offered up on this blog over the years and connect those old posts to new programs, new benefits for season ticket holders or improvements at Verizon Center / Capital One Arena which have been implemented over the years by the Wizards. I figured I've spent enough time complaining, imploring and begging over the last five or so years that it might be time to give credit where credit is due.
Don't believe me? Let's give it a shot. I've asked for more bobbleheads here, here and here. We got more bobbleheads via the G Wiz Kids Club (I know it costs $20...) and last year via the Monumental Rewards program. I've asked for better food options, including a specific suggestion that season ticket holder Jose Andres open a spot. Last year, we got an Andres food stand. I've asked for access to the Etihad Lounge (admittedly, I asked for this because it got taken away) and we got it (back) via the Fluid Tickets Program. I even asked for a different approach on season tickets to increase the number of Wizards fans in the building after which the team rolled out a digital only, low cost, full season plan with non-fixed seat locations which could not be re-sold.
OK, so I get they are not necessarily doing these things based on personal requests from me, but my voice is potentially part of a larger discussion and things are changing. Or have changed.
But enough about how much the team is listening to fan input on new benefits because this post isn't about that. It was going to be until I found out the team has killed the Monumental Rewards program, the rewards site which allowed Wizards, Capitals and Mystics fans to redeem points accumulated through a variety of team-engagement activities for exclusive experiences and swag.
For some fans, the loss of this program will have little impact. Over its four year history, I used the program for cheap access to the VIP lounge area a ton of times then once a month access to the VIP lounge area then access to a suite once per year with some free food then for a couple of Mystics games and an exclusive bobblehead. If those perks in the previous sentence seem to get less exciting as the sentence goes on, that's by design because the program actually did get less exciting over its four year history. Well, with the exception of the exclusive bobblehead availability. I saw that last one as the solution to my bobblehead envy of other teams' fans who get multiple bobbleheads every year for free with a game ticket.
For other fans, and count me with my 97,107 lost reward points among this number, this is a failed initiative that just lacked some imagination behind it to succeed. The program was rolled out four years ago with a good amount of fanfare and for a while it was super valuable and a great perk. Heck, even if there were a little swag, maybe a suite game to bid on and a collectible bobblehead each year I would love this program. I suppose with the team's prospects on the upswing, the need to continue to provide benefits like this to fans goes down. I've said it before and I'll say it again: there are times where teams need to value their season ticket holders a little more than doing the bare minimum will allow them to do.
|Looks like Scott Brooks will be the only exclusive Wiz bobblehead released under Monumental Rewards.|
I kind of saw this coming. The Monumental Rewards site has been down for a few weeks now, just displaying the message at the top of this post when you sign on to the site, which is still active as of this writing. I also never got my new points as a result of this season's ticket purchase that I made this past February or March which made me a little suspicious. But I did use the program as recently as August to attend a Mystics game in a suite. Those missed opportunities will be felt in the future.
So what replaces this? Anything? Is this just another lost benefit that the team decided to kill because it was too much of a pain to keep going? Is the team now too popular to have it waste efforts like this to make season ticket holders who have suffered through plenty of non-playoff seasons (including two 19 win years and NOT during a lockout shortened season) a little happier?
I should mention that I have not received any notification from the team that this benefit is dead. I'm sort of putting two and two together here. But I believe I'm right. I don't believe we'll see the team auctioning off suite access or creating any season ticket holder exclusive bobbleheads any more. And that sucks. I hate writing blog posts like this. I believe NBA teams should value long term season ticket holders more than cancelling benefits without communications to the people that have stuck by the organization for a long time. Moments like this make me realize that interactions with season ticket holders is a business too. I'll get over it. Regular season starts in less than two weeks. That will take my focus off this sort of stuff for a while.