Nationals trying to draw more DC-area bars to show games on their TVs in exchange for fan freebies

- The Washington Nationals want their fans to be able to watch their games more often at local bars in the area. Now, the team has been reaching out to these businesses for them to play ball.

At Caddies on Cordell in Bethesda, the drinks and conversations are flowing. But on every game day this season, the Nationals will be playing on their screens.

“We were approached that there were not a lot of bars showing Nats games in the area and there was a problem with fans finding Nats games,” said Caddies owner Ronnie Heckman. “So we made a pact that at all times, we will show every Nats game no matter what. It will supersede basically anything else that is going on.”

But even with a steady flow of Nationals customers, Caddies is one of 37 local bars to join the newly-founded Curly W Restaurant and Bar Alliance. It is a group created by the Nationals to help drum up viewership for fans who can’t find the games easily or for non-paying television customers who can’t stream the games.

“I think it would be a good idea giving back a little bit to the community and allowing people to see the games,” said Chris Sandels.

The only requirement for the bars is to have at least one television showing the Nationals game. In exchange, the team will provide free tickets and a bar kit of decorations and Nationals gear and other promotional handouts.

If people are not watching the Nationals, many baseball fans are still watching Bryce Harper’s every move. With just one season left in his contract, the question remains whether the team’s campaign for more viewership will make Harper hit the road.

“I think almost everything this city, this town is about hurts that cause,” said Heckman. “I don’t think a lot of athletes want to come here.”

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