Living Social Steps Up To The Plate

The Washington Nationals are in the Major League Baseball playoffs this year but the games will end after public transit has closed. In the past, pro sports organizations have paid deposits to keep the metro system running overtime. But the Nationals said they wouldn't pay. So Living Social spotted a PR opportunity, and came up the $30,000 deposit.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is about a Washington, D.C. company stepping up to the plate for a PR pinch hit. LivingSocial is a daily discount website that competes with Groupon. It's based in Washington, D.C., and is offering a sweet deal to its hometown baseball fans.

You see, the Washington Nationals are in the Major League Baseball playoffs this year, but these games start and end late after public transit has closed. So in the past, pro sports organizations have paid deposits to keep the Metro system running overtime.

VICKY HALLET: But the Nationals were saying that they would absolutely not be paying for this.

INSKEEP: Vicky Hallet is the Washington Post transportation reporter. She said the team wanted the city to pay. The city said no. so LivingSocial spotted a PR opportunity and put it up to $30,000 deposit.

HALLET: And they're going to basically steal all that goodwill that the Nationals could have built up. So definitely a win-win for LivingSocial - especially because the way the refunds worked out it's almost guaranteed that they won't be spending any money.

INSKEEP: That's because Metro will reimburse the company based on how many people ride the transit system. If enough fans ride, the company gets all its money back - which is a good bet. The nation's capital has not hosted a baseball series in 79 years, so the team is expecting sellout crowds at its riverfront stadium, where parking is at a premium.

By the way, the Nationals won the first game of their series against St. Louis - that was on the road. Some other winners include the New York Yankees. Cincinnati is up two-nothing in its series, and Detroit, two-nothing in its series against Oakland.

That's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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