- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On March 6, 2008
- 2 Comments
One of the more hotly discussed items yesterday was the talk about the MLS restricting club supporters for away games this season. A great article over at Pitch Invasion got the topic going yesterday with plenty of other sites chiming in on the issue.
What seems to be the issue is that clubs like Toronto and Chicago will only be allowing 100 tickets for away supporters this season.
Most should know that Toronto supporters will be traveling in full force later this month to start the season against Columbus. I’ve heard upwards of 2,000 Red Patch Boys and U-Sector groups going to the game against the Crew.
But when the Crew come across the Great Lakes they will only be able to bring 100 supporters. That doesn’t sound too fair when you really read that.
How can two clubs begin a rivalry like Columbus and Toronto are hoping to do (I believe they should call it the Great Lakes Cup or Erie Cup…something like that) not have equal amounts of tickets for games here?
Simple math really, though I will get into why the league needs to improve on this in a second.
BMO Field sold out its season tickets last year, and this year did the same (any maybe a Reds fan can tell me if that number was raised from last year from 14k to 15 or 16k??) plus a few thousand 1/2 season ticket packs thrown in to the mix and before long that 20,000-some seat stadium is going to be full or pretty darn close.
On the flip side with the Crew, they don’t sell out every game like the Reds so it makes sense that even if they are only giving up 100 tickets to away supporters that Toronto fans were still able ot get tickets online or through some other outlet.
So people going crazy about Toronto should pipe down a bit when you look at the whole picture here. Toronto simply does not have room for more than maybe even just 500 away supporters. That’s why this 100 tickets to away supporters at BMO Field doesn’t seem to get me riled up like some folks did yesterday.
Don’t get me wrong, the league has to improve this kind of thing as it expands. Look at the east and what it will be in two years when Philly enters the fold. You will have six teams within easy driving distance of one another with supporter groups that will want to travel and that will more than likely do so. I highly doubt that Philly supporters will only take 100 fans to a game in DC or one against the Red Bulls in the new Red Bull Park.
In other words the league has to help accommodate for fans that want to travel better. This mostly will have to go for those clubs that travel within a certain distance of one another. I honestly don’t see a need for the league to make this restriction on every game. Only the big rival games and what not really need to apply here in this kind of thing. I couldn’t see the league require the Galaxy to set aside a couple thousand tickets for away supporters from Columbus. Same goes for KC being restricted to opening up more tickets for supporters from Seattle when they enter the league.
Make it easier for the ones who can travel and want to travel in large packs. It only helps grow the league and create better rivalries.
Finally, supporter groups have to put pressure on their clubs and the league itself for these kinds of things to go over smoothly. The better communications between the sides the better the result and then in return the better the atmosphere at the games.