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Let's Talk Ticket Prices

The Sounders season ticket renewal process is ongoing, and... they bumped up prices a bit. Is it logical, or is it outrageous?

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Pro sports teams regularly bump up their prices for tickets, and only rarely lower them. This is a fairly simple fact of life; nobody (save the team owners) seems to like it, but it's kind of like death and taxes.

The Sounders bumped up their prices for the 2014 season. They also made a few changes; they are bringing back a friendly and lumping that into the season ticket package, but it will not be one of the giant Euro super-clubs with a large price tag.

Instead, the Club has set the pricing for the friendly at the same level as the 17 MLS games in the season ticket package- and they've already let us know that the team they bring in will be a lower-profile opponent.

The "blended average" prices are going up 4%, but many people are seeing increases more than that. How does that work?

Well, there are two pricing tiers for season tickets. One tier is tickets that were purchased in the 2009 inaugural season; the Sounders had told folks prior to the first MLS season that people who bought in for that first year would always get a better price than those who started later.

The second tier is anyone buying in 2010 or later- and even if you already had season tickets in 2009 and added (I had 4 the first year and added 2 more, for example) tickets to your account, the Club prices the later ones higher.

There are sections seeing very small increases- for example, many of the seats behind the goal in the Brougham End are only going up 50 cents. There are sections seeing larger increases.

Like most sports teams, the Club isn't exactly being super forthcoming with exactly how the actual average ticket price is going up. Is the "blended average" taking one of each pricing class and then seeing what the increase is? Is it every ticket in the stadium being throwing into an average?

Personally, I don't think it matters that much. We all have to decide whether we want the tickets based on our own situation anyway, and the Club has seen very high renewal rates.

In my opinion, they kept the increases down - and we are blessed by a combination of luck and foresight here in Seattle. In MLS markets where the team is selling out or very near capacity, the owners have two ways of increasing revenues; they can either build more capacity (which involves either shelling out a lot of money for an addition to their stadium or getting the local governments to do so) or they can raise ticket prices.

Here in Seattle, we can just roll the tarps off some of the seats and sell more tickets. Granted, we're not selling 50,000 to every game (yet), but we're well on our way.

In my opinion, when you look at the commitment to winning that the Club's owners laid out, and you look at the money they've spending on increased salaries (between Martins and Dempsey, the Sounders are spending millions of dollars more than previous seasons), I think it's fair to say that the renewal price increase is a fair one.

Now that renewals have been open for a while, are you signed up for more? A new season ticket holder? Want to complain about the 2009 folks getting a discount some more?

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