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Emerald City Supporters doing part to curtail scalping

Supporters group has plans to "mystery shop" to identify people reselling general admission tickets at a significant profit.

Mike Russell/Sounder at Heart

Scalping is a practice any fan of live events is well aware of. Even if it's not actually illegal, it is generally seen as an annoyance at the very least. Well, Emerald City Supporters are doing their small part to curtail the practice.

After seeing tickets sold for double -- or more -- than face value in general admission, ECS has announced plans to seek out re-sellers.

While acknowledging that the Sounders front office has done a "great" job reducing the number of pure scalpers -- especially from the general admission Brougham End -- and that most of the tickets being made available on sites like StubHub are being sold for at or near face value, ECS made the decision to get more active after seeing several tickets posted for double what they were originally sold for. This year, ECS bought blocks of unsold GA tickets with the intention of selling them to members at face value.

Particularly piquing ECS's interest was the fact that these tickets were being made available on April 1, the same day ECS promised to distribute their tickets.

"We'd obviously love it if people didn't feel that they needed to sell their GA tickets for double (or more) the face value, and know it's going to continue to happen for Cascadia and other matches, but have elected to control what we can here," ECS co-president Tom Biro told Sounder at Heart in an email. "If it means we ship tickets later, then that may be the solution. If it means in-person distribution, we'll look into that option. Ultimately, we want this to be a seamless process, and there needs to be expectations on both sides. For us, we're simply expecting that members (or others using members' accounts) aren't purchasing tickets simply to flip them on the secondary market at a profit.

"We elected to purchase a significant block of seats in 2016 because we thought it was a smart decision for our membership, and we're able to provide them a service. We plan on defending that choice, and feel that this falls squarely in our #SoccerForAll efforts to deliver tickets at an affordable price on a game-by-game basis."

Biro explained ECS will able to track the tickets, will know for certain which account bought them and if they were sold at a significant profit. If they do find out who did that, the account will be barred from future purchases, Biro said.

"We're not in the business of chasing down every other ticket seller out there - not that it'll stop us from calling them out via social media or otherwise, as we have been doing - and are simply looking to lead by example here with those tickets that ECS has purchased and is reselling to its membership."

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