There have been about 32,000 tickets sold for the June 11 World Cup qualifier between the United States and Panama in Seattle, according to a United States Soccer spokesperson. While the match is still three weeks away and a sellout is entirely possible, sales have slowed to a virtual crawl in recent weeks.
When tickets went on sale to the general public in early April, about 27,000 tickets had already been sold. About 2,000 more were sold over the next couple weeks and each update has showed a slowing trend since then.
There are any number of explanations for the slow sales. The one most often cited by fans is that tickets are relatively expensive, starting at $50 and going all the way up to $175. Interestingly, though, the TicketMaster website shows that many of the more expensive sections have already sold out and most of the available seats are at the $65 and $50 price points. American Outlaws -- the US supporters' group -- also has tickets available for both members and nonmembers. While these prices are obviously far more expensive than equivalent tickets for the Seattle Sounders, they are roughly on par with other World Cup qualifiers in Colorado and Salt Lake. In fact, Seattle AO tickets are actually $1 cheaper than they are for the Salt Lake match against Honduras.
Those complaints aside, more tickets have already been sold for the Seattle game than all but six U.S. World Cup qualifiers since the 2002 cycle and this would still crack the Top 10 since the 1998 cycle. Prior to the 2006 cycle, it was still quite common for U.S. Soccer to schedule games in areas where large immigrant populations lived, often making home games feel like neutral venues.
Top attended U.S. World Cup qualifiers during MLS era:
April 20, 1997: vs. Mexico in Foxborough, Mass. 57,407
Oct. 3, 1997: vs. Jamaica in Washington, D.C. 51,528
Nov. 16, 1997: vs. El Salvador in Foxborough, Mass. 53,193
Sept. 3, 2000: vs. Guatemala in Washington, D.C. 51,996
April 25, 2001: vs. Costa Rica in Kansas City, Mo. 37,319
Sept. 1, 2001: vs Honduras in Washington, D.C. 54,282
Oct. 7, 2001: vs. Jamaica in Foxborough, Mass. 40,483
June 4, 2005: vs. Costa Rica in Salt Lake City, Utah 40,586
June 6, 2009: vs. Honduras in Chicago, Ill. 55,647
June 11, 2013: vs Panama in Seattle *32,000