If you're a Sounders Season Ticket Holder (STH) and it seems like the past few years, the Club keeps asking you for money earlier and earlier... you're right.
In and before 2012, the Club started the STH renewal process in October. in 2013, they pushed it earlier in the year to September, and this year they're starting the 2015 process in August of 2014. This isn't an accident, and while many fans might not be crazy about it, the Club is doing it intentionally- and with fan input.
As Dave pointed out in this article on SaH last year, the September date was actually later than most MLS clubs ask their fans for renewal. The Club's front office folks have actively engaged the Alliance Council on this issue, asking our input and thoughts on the process.
One of the main things we've heard from a large majority of fans (well, fans who've expressed an opinion on this to Council, anyway) over the past few years is that they prefer an earlier process in general, so they don't wind up hitting renewals in the holiday season or at the same time they're doing playoff tickets. Additionally, many fans like being able to spread the payments out over more months, because their finances just can't take the hit of a bill all at once. (The Sounders have told the Council they'll be offering STH a 5-month plan on the payments this year instead of 4 months.)
(Whether this is good money management or bad isn't really something I am concerned about, but I do think it's fair to say that the Club is concerned with making tickets as accessible to as many people as possible. This strikes me as a pretty reasonable and logical business practice.)
The reality of the situation is this (working backwards on the timeline): The tickets have to be ready to be produced and mailed out by mid-February. That means the "master list", if you will, needs to be done in early February.
The new ticket holders want to get their seating arranged, and have a week or two to decide which location they want, so that gets us back into mid-January. The existing STH have a process for moving and THAT takes a few weeks of back-and-forth with the account reps and STH, and with New Year's and Christmas in there, that process backs up into mid-December.
So existing STH need to be paid up by mid-December, and if you're going to have a 5-payment plan to make it easy for fans to come up with the money, that works back to starting the process in August (then Sept, Oct, Nov, and Dec for the payments).
And... there you go. The main point I want to make here is that the Club has been actively talking with the Council on this issue and working to try and make purchasing the tickets as easy and accessible-to-all process as possible.
Club officials have met with the Council on numerous occasions; the ownership group has said that they are dedicated to NOT being one of the most expensive teams for pricing and keeping a significant number of tickets at as accessible a price as they can; and they have been open and responsive to our input on this matter.
All in all, when you consider that August is in line with other MLS clubs, that we (the fans) have been asking the Club to work to keep tickets affordable, and that many people want extra time to spread their payments out if possible... then the beginning of the renewal process in August makes a lot of sense.