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Nationals believe new membership card will 'revolutionize the ticketing business'

When he talks about the Washington Nationals, chief operating officer Andy Feffer uses words like “hip” and “fun.” That’s by design, of course.

Baseball likes to draw on its traditions, but it also needs to attract new generations of fans.

That’s particularly true of the Nats, who arrived in 2005 and are trying to embrace their newness.

The team is big into social media and has been expanding the audience for its official blog, “Curly W Live.”

This season, the club introduced its season plan holders to a personalized card that allows speedy entry into the ballpark without a traditional ticket. Soon, the Nats expect card holders to be able to use the cards to make purchases at concessions stands.

The team is looking to expand the program next season to fans with flex plans or those attending single games.

“It’s a membership card,” Feffer said. “It’s probably the most unique thing that’s going on in sports, and I think it will transform and revolutionize the ticketing business.”

The Orioles – in the midst of a four-game, home-and-home series with the Nationals – say they are also looking to tap into new technology. While the club has no plans for a virtual ticket for season plan holders, it does offer fans the ability to enter Camden Yards by displaying a bar code on their iPhones through Apple Passbook.

There had been no major league baseball in Washington for 33 years before the Nats – the former Montreal Expos – arrived. The franchise knew it had to grab fans’ attention through non-traditional means.

That was particularly true before the club – which had recorded six straight losing seasons until last year – started winning regularly.

“On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we’ve got a DJ at a T-shirt bar in the main team store spinning tunes – something you wouldn’t typically see in a retail venue,” Feffer said.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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