There are no official numbers yet, but it sure seems like the Seattle Sounders are poised to break the U.S. Open Cup finals attendance record that they just set a year ago. What we know for sure is that about 11,000 tickets were sold during the presale when season-ticket holders were limiting to buying their seats.
When we asked for an update on ticket sales, we were told only that "tickets are going fast, well ahead of last year's pace." We were also told that at least part of the reason we couldn't get exact numbers is because sales were so brisk that the total would be irrelevant almost as soon as we published it. On Thursday, we received an unconfirmed report claiming that 25,000 tickets had already been sold.
What does this all mean? Well, it's hard to say. Last year's game drew more than 31,000 to set an Open Cup record. Of that, about 17,000 were sold during the presale, but season-ticket holders were able to buy more seats. On Sept. 13, 2010, the Sounders announced that they had sold 22,000 tickets, which was already an Open Cup record.
Throw in the fact that the Sounders have been aggressively marketing this game in a way I don't remember previous non-MLS contests being advertised, and it sure seems like another Open Cup attendance record is going to fall. Could the Sounders match or even exceed the 46,000-plus that showed up for the match earlier this year against the New York Red Bulls? That seems unlikely, and, quite frankly, I don't think it says anything. If the Sounders can sell 35,000 tickets with about a month's notice and totally from scratch, that's an amazing accomplishment.
One thing that is almost guaranteed is that we should be in for another amazing finale. Just about everyone who was there last year agrees that the 2010 Open Cup final was the most electric Sounders crowd in history. I know I plan to be there, are you?