Last season, the Nationals redubbed their stadium “Natitude Park” for their first series against the Phillies. What started as a cheap marketing stunt became a Thing. The fans showed up, the slogan stuck and the team took the National League East from the Phillies for the first time ever.
The Natitude marketing stunt gained national attention when the team instituted their “Take Back the Park” initiative, temporarily limiting ticket sales for the series to the Washington D.C. area. Allegedly tired of Phillies fans in the stands, the team wanted to give Nationals fans the opportunity to buy tickets first.
The story was quickly twisted into an allegation that the Nationals were trying to “ban” Phillies fans from their stadium. This narrative was widely circulated because people–especially Phillies fans–are stupid. The “Take Back the Park” crap was a marketing move. I attended Nats-Phillies games in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. During “Natitude Park” weekend I didn’t notice any fewer Phillies fans. But I did notice more Nationals fans, so I guess the marketing trick worked. A full park is a full park. The only other byproduct of the marketing trick was the gift of self-satisfaction to unaware Phillies fans who thought they were “sticking it to the man” by dropping money in another team’s stadium. Again, Phillies fans are stupid. Especially Ed Rendell.
I did notice a drop-off in Phillies fans attendance as the season progressed however. I didn’t notice a lot of “Occupy Nats Park” t-shirts in September. Maybe that’s because the Phillies sucked last year. And maybe they suck this year too. That’s why overall attendance at Citizens Bank Park is down from to 44,000 average to 38,000. Maybe Phillies fans aren’t superior fans after all. Maybe they just like a winning.
And maybe Nationals fans like winning too. Attendance at Nationals Park is up over 2,600 per game this season and the summer hasn’t even started yet.
All fans are the same. They like winning. Nats fans should embrace this truth because it means the obnoxious Phillies fans at Nats Park will be fewer and far between as their aging team slides into irrelevance.
The celebration after the Nationals walk-off win against the Phillies during last year’s “Natitude” weekend: