Nationals Park - Washington Nationals tickets

Map of southeast Washington DC
Nationals Park
Washington, DC

Tenant: Washington Nationals (NL)
Opened: March 29, 2008 (exhibition against the Baltimore Orioles)
First regular season game: March 30, 2008 (3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves)
Groundbreaking: May 4, 2006
Capacity: 41,888
Style: Open air
Surface: Grass

Architect: HOK Sport (Kansas City) and Devrouax & Purnell Architects-Planners (Washington)
Construction: Clark Construction Group LLC (Bethesda)
Owner: DC Sports Commission
Cost: $610.8 million

Public financing: The city may sell up to $610.8 million in bonds to finance the stadium. Revenue to pay the debt on those bonds would come from these sources:

  • $11 million to $14 million per year from in-stadium taxes on tickets, concessions and merchandise.
  • $21 million to $24 million per year from a new tax on businesses with gross receipts of $3 million or more.
  • $5.5 million per year in rent payments from the baseball team's owner.

Private financing: The team is responsible for any cost overruns. Naming rights belong to the team and were not earmarked for stadium construction costs.

Lease: Team will lease stadium for 30 years from the DC Sports Commission. The value is estimated at $5.5 million per year.

Washington Nationals tickets:

Location: On a 26-acre plot of land located just over a mile south of the United States Capitol. Left field (N), "N" Street SE; 3rd base (W), South Capitol Street SE; 1st base (S), Potomac Avenue SE; Right field (E), 1st Street SE.

Dimensions: Left field: 336 ft.; left-center: 377 feet; center field: 402 feet; right-center: 370 feet; right field: 335 feet.

Fences: Left field: 8 feet; center field: 12 feet; right field: 12 feet.

Materials: Concrete and steel structure clad in brick and limestone.

Exterior view of ballpark

After a year-and-a-half of negotiations, mayor Anthony Williams, the D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission and the Washington Nationals unveiled plans for a 41,888-seat state-of-the-art baseball stadium for the Washington Nationals on March 14, 2006. Williams and the D.C. Council agreed to spend as much as $611 million to get the stadium built.

Included in the ballpark's configuration are approximately 22,000 seats in the lower bowl, 12,100 in the upper seating bowl, from where fans can see the U.S. Capitol building, 2,500 club seats, 1,112 suite seats, a 500-seat founder's club with indoor dining, and a 1,300-seat diamond club with indoor dining. The exterior design includes a lot of glass, similar to the Washington Convention Center.

The ballpark promises to play the major role in the Anacostia River waterfront entertainment district. In addition to government plans for the area, major development is anticipated from investors who have bought up property near the ballpark.

Nationals Ballpark Trivia:

  • An out-of-town scoreboard has been built into the right-field fence.
  • Design is similar to Turner Field in Atlanta because about 70 percent of the fans have to enter through outfield gates.
  • President George W. Bush threw out the first ball at Nationals Park on March 30, 2008 to help inaugurate the Washington Nationals' new stadium almost 46 years after John F. Kennedy did the same for RFK Stadium (then called DC Stadium) on April 9, 1962.
  • Cristian Guzman, the lead off batter for the Washington Nationals, got the first official hit here on March 30, 2008, a single in the bottom of the 1st inning.
  • Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves hit the first official home run here on March 30, 2008, a solo shot in the top of the 4th inning. Ryan Zimmerman hit the first official Nationals home run, a walk-off solo shot in the bottom of the ninth inning of the same game.
  • Pope Benedict XVI held mass here before 46,000 people on April 17, 2008.

Interior view of ballpark

Recommended Reading (bibliography):

  • Baseball in Washington, D.C. by Frank Ceresi, Mark Rucker & Carol McMains.
  • Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present by Josh Leventhal and Jessica Macmurray.
  • The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic (Revised Edition) by Ron Smith and Kevin Belford.
  • Stadia: A Design and Development Guide by Geraint John and Rod Sheard.
  • City Baseball Magic: Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks by Philip Bess.
  • Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit (2nd Edition) by Joanna Cagan and Neil deMause.
  • Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums by Kevin J. Delaney and Rick Eckstein.
  • Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist.

Jarry ParkOlympic StadiumHiram Bithorn StadiumRFK Stadium

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All images courtesy of the Washington Nationals.

Special thanks to Dave Lanham.

Updated April 2008

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