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How Much You Wanna Bet the Caps Make the Finals?

By now, you've probably heard of OptionIt, a new (to Washington Capitals fans) ticket-buying concept which offers fans the ability to purchase an option now to acquire tickets to a future game at face value. 

As reported by the Washington Business Journal:

Purchasers of an option have three choices. They can let it expire at no additional cost, sell it to someone else in an aftermarket on or exercise the option and attend the event. The site guarantees that it can provide a ticket at face value should an option holder decide to exercise.

In the stock markets, an option provides the holder the ability to acquire shares at a certain (sometimes below market) price, in exchange for a small sum paid up front.  Thereby allowing the option holder to benefit from the gain on the market price of the stock between the acquisition and exercise of that option.  Of course, the stock price could fall below that certain price, leaving you out the amount paid for the option should you choose not to exercise it. 

Right, you know all of this.  But in the market for Capitals tickets, where the franchise is going great guns, offering precious few single game seats for sale, and selling out the barn on a nightly basis, the price for those tickets is only rising.  And fast. 

Want a prime seat in Section 116 for the tilt versus the Penguins on March 24th?  $172.50 per billet on ticketexchange.  Face value?  $120 per seat.  With OptionIt, by an "option" for $56 a ticket to purchase seats later at face value, which adds up to $176 per ducat.  For now, only certain seats and sections can be optioned, but there's availability in both the 400 and 100 levels.   

Looks like a wash, except that you're guaranteed today of not paying more later.  Not sure if you can make the game, but don't want to scramble to get a pricey ticket at the last minute, or go through the hassle of re-selling a ticket you've already purchased?  By an option.  You'll be able to "exercise" it when you're set to go, at a fixed price, for an exercise window clearly noted on the site -- if you're not able to go, well then you're, at worst, out the cost of the option.  And there's promised to be a brisk aftermarket for these options on the site.  (You choose the price, minus a hefty 17% fee, 10% paid by you, and 7% paid by the buyer). 

These days, one might be reluctant to embrace classic Wall Street practices.  But here's the best part.  Think the Caps will make the Stanley Cup Finals?  Buy an option now for $78 to purchase two 100 level corner section tickets at face value.  And don't worry about scrambling to score those tickets (at any price) as soon as that oh-so-anticipated playoff game is scheduled.  You're covered.  

But when would that "exercise window" for an undetermined playoff game begin and end, you ask?  Michael Proman, VP of Marketing, breaks it down for us:

Once the Capitals officially qualify for the playoffs, First Round - Home Game One and Home Game Two will become ‘scheduled’ events and the exercise window will likely open two weeks before and close anywhere from 5-7 days before the event.

Where things get a bit tricky is on the "swing games."  Example: Capitals are the #1 seed, up 3-0 in the first round series and playing Game 4 (away).  Fans holding the option on a Game 5 (Home Game Three) ticket will only have the opportunity to exercise if the Capitals lose Game 4.  The exercise window would effectively open up on Game 5 as soon as the result becomes official in Game 4.  Depending on how many days between Game 4 and Game 5, the exercise window would likely close 24 hours before the game.

We will always give fans a reasonable amount of time to exercise their option and will send out reminder emails to customers before the exercise window even opens to remind them that they are holding an option for a particular game and that they will need to be prepared to exercise quickly.

Therein lies the real value.  Might be a good time to ante up now for the reward of a guaranteed great seat in June.  If nothing else, maybe it'll add some good Caps karma for a Finals berth.  (And further squeeze out opposing fans who would buy tickets.)