Standing Room Only – A Firsthand Account

If you’ve recently purchased tickets to a Caps home game or you’re gearing up to Rock the Red in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, you may have noticed the reappearance of Standing Room Only ticket options on your vendor’s website. First appearing during the 2010 playoffs and now officially available as a season ticket option for the 2011-2012 season, Standing Room Only (or SRO) tickets at the Verizon Center have become a regular offering for the Caps faithful that provides fans a rather unique game-watching experience.

Considering SRO tickets? Read on!

The Red Rockers dig Standing Room Only

The concept is a somewhat bizarre blend of authorized loitering (from an excellent vantage point, I might add) and marketing genius to push the revenue limits of the venue to the max. The “seats”, which are really numbered painted boxes on the floor, are located behind the net on the platform area situated between the Loge Preferred seating and the luxury boxes.

The SRO experience does offer some advantages over traditional seating arrangements. For example, the cost associated with the SRO tickets is substantially lower than regular seating in a comparable section of the arena (Section 104-107 and 115-118), and sight lines are excellent since you’re standing behind the last row of seats in the section below. If you’re planning on going to the game with a group of friends, the SRO area gives you some flexibility within your block of painted boxes to switch your location at any point during the game without disturbing those around you, which makes for a more social outing.

While much can be said of the pros associated with this experience, SRO tickets do come with a set of downfalls, as well. For example, standing for 100-plus minutes of game and intermission time is not for the faint-of-heart. And while the Verizon Center staff was thoughtful enough to provide coat hooks at each spot, there is no place to put your food, drinks, or trash along the walkway except for the ground.

The SRO section also comes with a noticeable increase in arena security vigilance. Ushers keep a watchful eye over the single-file crowd to ensure that people from the “cheap” seats don’t file down to try to grab a better view, much like they do throughout the rest of the arena. In this case, however, the ushers are also there to ensure that SRO fans don’t trickle up the steps at either end of the standing area to avail themselves of the Acela Club Level amenities.

Whether or not the experience is right for you remains an entirely subjective and personal debate. However, this Caps fan would argue that the experience was definitely worth the price of admission. So, the next time you are looking for tickets the game, give the SRO option some consideration – you might find that you’ve got a new favorite spot to watch the hottest team in town.