Ticket prices and economic conditions

For those of you like me, season ticket holders from year one, you probably have some questions after you got an email today. You saw an increase of 20-25%, even AFTER the refund from that Los Angeles Galaxy match.

From $360 to $375 to $419 in two trying economic years

Let's recall back in Fall of 2008. King County seemed a bit immune to the national rumblings of the down economy. Unemployment in King County was under 6%. Our city was getting a brand new MLS team after losing the NBA. We were getting prices that would only adjust for cost-of-living/inflation for the first three seasons.

It was an amazing deal. My tickets, in the second lowest price point in the stadium were $20 per match, for seats that are good enough to cost FOUR TIMES AS MUCH to watch the Seahawks.

Like many in Greater Puget Sound, my family has dealt with some financial stuff lately. My wife got laid off shortly after we made the season-ticket pledge. Unemployment passed 8%. She found a new job after several months. But my only entertainment dollars are the Sounders. That I get, it is my tonic, my escape and my community.

Two years later, and my house - like so many in Puget Sound - is worth less than I paid. I didn't do a crazy mortgage, but a flat rate VA loan for a first-time buyer who was merely a retail barista with Starbucks at the time.

The neighborhood, like many here, has so many homes for sale. Foreclosures are up, and still up and going to be up for a while. They call it a correction.

But I need my community. I need my family that is 36,000 strong. I need the ECS and GFC. I need the prawns. I need the families. This is my Sound and these are my Sounders. My brother and two of my greatest friends stand next to me for 18 home games.

And then the price went up. Not by a dollar a match, as some Ninja Accountant might claim, but from $20 per 18 to $25 per 18.

According to the Seattle Times, 30% of Sounders season ticket holders are unemployed non-employed (this number includes those economists call unemployed, those on disability, professional students, retirees, those who are no longer searching for work, those who stay at home, but likely not children because I doubt the Seattle Times surveyed children). My wife is again one of those. We weren't going to get 1.333333 seats again, but just one. We were going to cut back. My seatmates are too. This increase wasn't just poor timing for us. It is poor timing for the greater Sounders community.

We may have to cut back more.

Maybe the economic climate has influenced my concept about #TophiesNotFriendlies but that's my right. Sometimes a blog isn't just about nifty new statistical work, or analysis of  4-1-3-2 v  4-2-3-1. Sometimes it's going to be a bit personal. Very rarely, but sometimes. Due to this price increase, this is a time.

I'm going to renew my tickets, even at the higher price. I'll cut other things out of my life. But I'll also be calling my ticket rep and seeing if there is any way to adjust the price in any way. Those who think the increase is too much, too soon probably should do so as well.

I only want to go to games that matter, and like many, I can't afford to loan the Sounders money until I sell my tickets to a "premium friendly."

I can't wait to get back to writing about how Steve Zakuani treat David Beckham like David. Let's get this business of soccer stuff out of the way, and let's get back to this business of winning trophies. #BeatLA

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