WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Washington Mystics restricted their online ticket sales for their WNBA Finals home games to residents of the "DMV" -- the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
The 4,200-seat Entertainment and Sports Arena, which the franchise moved into this season, was sold out for Game 1 on Sunday and Game 2 on Tuesday with the Connecticut Sun. The series is tied 1-1 after the Sun's victory on Tuesday night.
"We wanted to ensure hometown fans with a DMV address had access to the very limited seating that was available for single-game tickets through the team," team spokeswoman Ketsia Colimon said. "And make sure the bond between locals and the venue was strong. We ensured a strong home-court advantage.
"Resale seats on Ticketmaster and other third-party sites did not have a zip-code restriction, so fans not in the DMV were still able to purchase seats through these sites."
Colimon added that this was the first time the Mystics have done that for ticket sales.
However, she said the Mystics' owner, Monumental Sports and Entertainment, has enacted similar policies for its other pro teams, the NHL's Capitals and the NBA's Wizards, at Capital One Arena. Before this season, the Mystics played at that 20,656-seat venue, but during last year's WNBA Finals, it wasn't available, so they played their lone home game of the series at George Mason in Fairfax, Virginia.
ESA, as their new building is called, guarantees the Mystics a home all the time, and an intimate atmosphere that has provided the team with more of a home-court advantage than Capital One Arena did.
The Mystics sold just over 1,500 season tickets this year, and those customers were given first access to WNBA Finals tickets. Then the team opened the sales online but with the restriction that credit-card purchases had to be linked to a DMV address.
Secondary markets tend to charge more for seats, though. A spokesman for the WNBA said that ticket policies are left to the discretion of individual teams, but he was unaware of any WNBA team previously restricting sales in this way. However, no other team's home arena is this small.
The Mystics did provide a certain number of tickets to Connecticut Sun players for their friends and families. Amber Cox, Sun vice president, said the team also was able to get some tickets for Connecticut fans who reached out to her.
Cox said there are no address restrictions on ticket sales for the Sun's WNBA Finals game(s) at the Mohegan Sun Arena, which seats about 9,300. There have been other pro franchises that have restricted their ticket sales. That was the case, for instance, for 2015 Stanley Cup Finals game tickets in Tampa, Florida -- they were restricted to credit-card holders with a Florida zip code.