—by Garrett Dittfurth
One thing I’ve enjoyed about being a soccer supporter in the United States is that it’s very affordable to attend every single match. This article I found at the New York Times on pricing out regular fans to the Champions League Final sort of struck a chord with me. Wembley Stadium is going to be full of people eating prawn sandwiches and discussing their stock portfolios while the match is being played rather than supporting a team. Obviously one of the drawbacks in a sport becoming more popular is that the demand for tickets drives the price up. In some cases it makes absolutely no sense at all. Take Toronto FC as an example. They sell out BMO Field for every match, have a waiting list for tickets, and put a terrible team on the pitch year in and year out. They are price gouging their supporters because they know they can, because what else is a supporter supposed to do but pay what they tell them to? To an extent the same thing is happening in Seattle, where supporters have seen their prices rise despite promises to the contrary. When questioned about it the team hems, haws, and says the supporters weren’t reading the fine print.
How many of you out there are Ducks fans? Were you able to get a ticket to the National Championship game or the Rose Bowl last year? Who here is a Blazer fan? Through pure luck I have a friend that regularly comes up with corporate courtside seats and nicely asks me to go to games every once in a while. The view down there is great. The last game I went to, I sat so close one of the assistant coaches was handing me the updated stat sheets throughout the game once he was finished looking at them. One thing I’ve noticed about sitting that close is there are very few supportive fans. A lot of the people spend very little real time watching the court. It’s really a travesty that the people up close can’t swap with the people in the 300 level—those who are genuinely interested and involved with what’s happening on the court are the ones who have to sit so far away. Sadly, it’s the nature of sport today to out price true fans. I hope MLS takes a lesson from watching what has happened in other sports and realizes that growing the game here in the United States requires making the highest professional level accessible to the most people.