Slightly later than most MLS sides the Seattle Sounders launched their season ticket renewal push this week.
With the very short off-season MLS clubs start asking for season ticket renewals during the regular season. Shortly after that they also start asking for MLS Playoff ticket purchases. It is the nature of the long season. It also means that teams have to get a bit creative, to understand their fan communities and never take a break. Staff around the Seattle Sounders are pushing for the October 7th game versus Portland where a crowd of 65,000 is currently expected (per radio adverts). There is the 2013 scarf vote. There is the General Manager retention vote. There is a home CCL match. And probably some time next week with the Playoffs a lock they start building towards a home game in the second season.
The 2013 season ticket renewal pitch starts with a video that goes "Beyond 3D or 4D" instead it emphasizes the Full9D. There are appearances by Michael Gspurning, Mauro Rosales, Sigi Schmid, Brad Evans, Andy Rose and a section on Fred-D.
There is not a Vancouver Whitecaps discount system, but in what seems to be a trend around the league the prices are either completely or relatively stable for previous season ticket holders. That should help retention rates in a what is still a fragile economic situation for many. The removal of the friendly from the package also reduces costs.
Adrian Hanauer was clear at practice. The removal of the friendly from the package is not an indicator that there will not be a friendly, but instead a response to the fans who in 2012 will have three regular season matches out sell the Chelsea match and a total of four that went beyond standard capacity. It will also increase the team's flexibility in negotiations with foreign clubs.
The ticket map at this point looks the same as 2012. Being that it is just for renewals that makes sense. How many would want to move further away from the action when their are less expensive price points available? But it does lead to the question - where will the Sounders put more fans in 2013?
Because they will expand their season ticket reach. It's what they do. In 2009 the initial goal for season tickets was around 15,000. In just four years they've more than doubled that target with about 32,000 season ticket holders.
Yes, the Sounders have only been the second or third best team on the field since their first season. Off the field though there is no doubt. They are worth more than any other team in the league (and all but 39 around the world). TV ratings are decent. The kit sponsorship will expand. With it being quite likely that 2013 will see Cascadia rivals in CenturyLink Field two times each, the per game average should increase as well.
Are you happy with generally flat ticket prices? Do you expect the team to have even more fans in the CLink every game next year? When will it stop?