Not for the first time, the Washington Capitals are doing their utmost to make sure only home fans can get tickets, based on the billing address and purchase history of buyers. From Dan Steinberg and the D.C. Sports Bog:

“We decided to take extra measures and it’s actually worked out to our advantage,” Jim Van Stone, the team’s vice president of ticket sales, told me. “We’ve done [the geo-mapping] from time to time through the years. This time, we ended up doing it at the start. We just want to make sure we continue to rock the red and give our fans locally the first chance to buy tickets. In today’s day and age, any password is going to get to anyone that wants to search and find it. This is just another assurance to make sure we protect the home ice, that people outside the market don’t buy tickets.”

(Photo via the PensBlog)

Indeed, the bandwagon wasn’t big enough to exclude this Flyers fan last season, even though Philadelphia is a whole lot closer to D.C. than Pittsburgh. I still get updates from Ticketmaster promoting Caps games every month, simply because I bought a pair to Round 1 Game 7 a year ago.

Of course, I don’t live in Philadelphia, and that’s my biggest problem with this policy. Do we not live in an age where people move around the country? An age where cable TV and Internet has made it possible for anyone to be a fan of any team? Do the Capitals not have some fans in New York City who might want to catch a game? What about some random hockey fan in say, Kentucky, who has made AO his favorite player? If the Flyers limited their ticket-buying map to PA/South Jersey/Delaware, where would that leave me? And how about Caps fans who are passionate enough to hit the road themselves? If everybody does this, every road fan loses.

Steinberg quotes a Caps message board post joking that the reason there were so few Pittsburgh fans on Saturday is they were still leaving Fed Ex Field (one of many football stadiums which Steelers fans have managed to take over) and that’s the thing: if you have a bad team and an unloved franchise, your fans will become scalpers if they can. If you have a winning team, then filling up the seats with loyalists should happen by itself. I’m sure the whole thing is a boon to ticket agents/Stub Hub sellers who have D.C. zip codes though.