MLS Season Tickets On The Rise?

MLS Season Tickets On The Rise?

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On February 2, 2009
  • 10 Comments
  • Attendance Figures, Season Tickets

During a rough economy one would think people would be less willing to spend extra cash on any sort of sporting events. Espically ones that come at a high price. Lucky enough for MLS that isn’t the case. Tickets aren’t nearly as expensive as they are in other sporting leagues in the country and now the league is seeing growth in season ticket sales.

The Sports Business Journal is reporting that at least 10 of the 15 clubs are ahead of season ticket renewals from last year. Only Houston was reported to be on par with 2008 sales. More positive note to hear that clubs like Colorado and Salt Lake are ahead of last year’s totals.

The New England Revolution, which sells a 20-game season-ticket package for $375 to $400, has increased its season-ticket base with new sales and is renewing at a 70 percent rate, said Chief Operating Officer Brian Bilello. To improve its value proposition, it has developed deferred payment plans for the first time and a formal ticket exchange policy that allows season-ticket holders to turn in tickets to a game they canít attend in exchange for tickets for a game they can attend.

The San Jose Earthquakes are working the youth soccer ranks and the Hispanic community to unearth new season-ticket sales. The club is working with hundreds of youth soccer clubs to sell tickets in exchange for a percentage of the sales, and it partnered with local Hispanic grocery stores to have them sell season and group tickets, as well as a Mexico match to which the franchise is playing host.

The Chicago Fireís effort to drive new ticket sales relies heavily on a $99 season ticket that gives fans general admission seating in the upper level of the stadium for 15 games. And the Los Angeles Galaxy has begun giving discounts to season-ticket holders who provide a lead for new season-ticket prospects.

Of course clubs like Toronto and Seattle are doing fine as far as tickets go. We’ve seen and heard their numbers before so we know they are fine.

Only FC Dallas, Kansas City, Chivas and New York were unable to report numbers.

Its a positive thing for the league to see this many clubs on the rise for season ticket renewals. One would have thought in a down economy that people would be less willing to fork over cash for tickets. Turns out they are willing to. Plus it doesn’t hurt as much that season tickets for most clubs are in a reasonable range.

As far as FC Dallas is concerned, it isn’t shocking to see them not return calls for this report. Around town you see very little in terms of marketing of the club, even during the season. You’d think they would want more fans in their new(ish) stadium but their marketing is still not in right direction of where it needs to be. Now that is another story for another day. I can’t comment on the same for Chivas, KC or New York.

  • Jason Davis

    Very good news, provided it's early returns and the data is incomplete. I want to address this myself in depth, so I won't blow all my comments on your site, Drew. Still, maybe the economy being down is actually good for MLS.

  • Jason Davis

    Crap. Meant to say something on your FC Dallas marketing comment-I'd be curious to see how each team approaches local marketing. I haven't heard good things about efforts some teams are putting forth.

  • joel

    FC Dallas has a bad rapport with their fans due to ownership Hunt Sports Group. The chiefs fans are fed up with the ownership. They finished 2-14 and charge too much for their tickets and concessions.

  • Very good news, provided it’s early returns and the data is incomplete. I want to address this myself in depth, so I won’t blow all my comments on your site, Drew. Still, maybe the economy being down is actually good for MLS.

  • Crap. Meant to say something on your FC Dallas marketing comment-I’d be curious to see how each team approaches local marketing. I haven’t heard good things about efforts some teams are putting forth.

  • Geoff

    I would just like to know why can't FC Dallas, KC, Chivas and the Red Bulls get advice from clubs like Toronto, Seattle, Houston, DC, Chicago, San Jose and Columbus in how they have managed to build a strong supporters base. Marketing the team better would help. I think the Red Bulls will draw better when they move to Red Bull Arena though. Look at TFC. I know everyone loves to praise them, but seriously, they haven't been good the last two seasons (not their fault since they've only been around two seasons) and got massive support. Columbus didn't historically draw well until it seemed the club made a real effort to get the name out and get the city of Columbus to support the Crew and it worked.

  • FC Dallas has a bad rapport with their fans due to ownership Hunt Sports Group. The chiefs fans are fed up with the ownership. They finished 2-14 and charge too much for their tickets and concessions.

  • Geoff

    I would just like to know why can’t FC Dallas, KC, Chivas and the Red Bulls get advice from clubs like Toronto, Seattle, Houston, DC, Chicago, San Jose and Columbus in how they have managed to build a strong supporters base. Marketing the team better would help. I think the Red Bulls will draw better when they move to Red Bull Arena though. Look at TFC. I know everyone loves to praise them, but seriously, they haven’t been good the last two seasons (not their fault since they’ve only been around two seasons) and got massive support. Columbus didn’t historically draw well until it seemed the club made a real effort to get the name out and get the city of Columbus to support the Crew and it worked.

  • Bruce

    Geoff, I think at the very least for a team to build base, they need a soccer specific stadium to create atmosphere, and it must be located where it is easily accessible by train by the urban population. Now admittedly I am not up on these locations, but I do know Toronto, and I live in Boston. The boston base is horrible, yet they are a very competitive club each year. However the team is stuck in giant gillette stadium an hour south of Boston. I've been to a few games, and the atmosphere is horrible. The crowd is primarily suburban soccer moms with kids. Not the real rabid fans one would find in the city, as Toronto has. <br />
    SSS and location are key and should be a requirement to any new club.

  • Bruce

    Geoff, I think at the very least for a team to build base, they need a soccer specific stadium to create atmosphere, and it must be located where it is easily accessible by train by the urban population. Now admittedly I am not up on these locations, but I do know Toronto, and I live in Boston. The boston base is horrible, yet they are a very competitive club each year. However the team is stuck in giant gillette stadium an hour south of Boston. I’ve been to a few games, and the atmosphere is horrible. The crowd is primarily suburban soccer moms with kids. Not the real rabid fans one would find in the city, as Toronto has.
    SSS and location are key and should be a requirement to any new club.