Monday, November 19, 2012

The End of an Era

In DC United's last game of the season, they tied at home.  Because they lost the aggregate score 4-2, they don't advance to the MLS Cup.  Given that they hadn't been to the playoffs in a few years, I consider it a fine result to get as far into the playoffs as they did.  It was particularly impressive that they made it one game away from the championship game despite losing their best player to injury for the last few weeks of the regular season (and all but 29 minutes of the playoffs). 

Even though the future looks bright for United, I have made the difficult decision not to renew my season tickets for the first time since 1997 (I had a half-season plan that year). In my cost-benefit analysis, I decided that the costs have gone up and the benefits have gone down to the point where it doesn't make sense to renew.  Costwise, ticket prices keep going up, and with Kathy not working and Emelia now attending a private school, the ticket plan is now a significant amount of money for me.

Benefitwise, we traveled a lot this year, which resulted in not being around for a lot of games, and we plan to do more of the same next year -- I just don't see myself going to enough games to justify a full-season, or even a half-season, ticket plan.  But there's also another reason, one that I hardly noticed until recently -- I miss my family when I go to games.  The obvious answer would be to bring them along -- Emelia had a great time at the game she went to this year, enough so that her attention didn't flag and we didn't have to leave early.  The problem, however, is that United rarely plays day games.  This is consistent with what I believe to be United's business model, i.e., their target audience is young singles.  Until yesterday's playoff game, United had not scheduled a home game for before 5pm.  And only two games started between 5 and 6pm.  I feel confident that this approach is one developed by DC United rather than being an MLS policy -- when I looked at this year's schedule, I saw that six regular season road games started before 5pm.  United's policy wasn't much of a problem when I was a childless middle-aged adult going to games, but it is a problem for families with children, a demographic to which I now belong.  So while I'd like to take Emelia regularly, for the most part the games are just too late for her. 

All told, I'll still go to games, but not as many.  Friends will have extra tickets now and again, and I'll keep my fan club membership (Screaming Eagles) active so I can buy tickets through them.  Hopefully, some of the games I go to will be early enough that I can take Emelia, or even Hannah.

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