MLS Season Tickets Update – Thanks to SBJ

The Sports Business Journal will be doing a full MLS preview this year which should be real interesting to read in the next couple weeks or so. It really has been fun to see the amount of MLS/World Soccer headlines in there go up ten-fold over the past year or so. Just wanted to pass on this table of information to you regarding season tickets sold as of 2/17/2008. Might have seen this somewhere else, but there is some good stuff here..

TEAM

2008

2007

% CHANGE

Chicago Fire 2,759 2,553 +8%
Chivas USA 837 858 -2%
Colorado Rapids 2,968 1,866 +59%
Columbus Crew 3,227 3,190 +1%
D.C. United 5,976 4,721 +27%
FC Dallas 3,002 3,134 -4%
Houston Dynamo 4,116 2,205 +87%
Kansas City Wizards 1,539 464 +232%
Los Angeles Galaxy 7,915 9,308 -15%
New England Revolution 4,001 3,502 +14%
New York Red Bulls 3,170 2,391 +33%
Real Salt Lake 4,632 4,421 +5%
San Jose Earthquakes 3,822 N/A N/A
Toronto FC 16,641 12,435 +34%
TOTAL 64,605 51,048 +26.6%

We’ve already heard about Toronto FC selling out a second consecutive year, but let us look briefly at how announcements, stadium construction, on-field performance affects season ticket sales. Colorado Rapids are a pretty big surprise here, up 59% from last year at this time and there on-field play has been sub par at best, no real announcements this offseason. You can’t possibly contribute this to the signing of Christian Gomez? Some of the other teams are little more clear cut. The anticipation of a new stadium and a more aggressive ad campaign has helped the Red Bulls put more butts in the seats. Kansas City’s relocation to their minor league baseball stadium has already increased ticket sales ensuring that intimate stadium feeling they were hoping for. Is it possible that Houston’s successes on the field are translating intermittent fans into season ticket holders? Anticipation of a possible stadium deal as well as the talks between Oscar De La Hoya and the club (which hadn’t been confirmed by 2/17) could have been a factor as well.

It really is good to see New England on the rise in Gillette, D.C. up 27% in RFK, and the Red Bulls up in Giants making the Atlantic rivalries that much more important.

Couple questions to ponder though:

Real Salt Lake’s new stadium is coming, why no jump in season ticket holders? They still sit at the fourth-highest total in the MLS though…

What is Chivas USA doing wrong? Contenders in the Western Conference yet again this year and this still can’t get a fan base.

Does a decrease in the Galaxy’s season-ticket holders this pre-season mean that the Beckham Effect is losing influence?

With Seattle, according to Don Garber, past the 12,000 season ticket mark – where will they be come this time next year? How about Philadelphia?

MLS Philly: The Press Conference! Sons of Ben Video!

A good 1-2k showed up for the festivities at Turbine Hall, the whole investors’ group was readily accessible, and a couple things were said that wasn’t covered fully in the MLS Press Release.

Continue below – first though, here is the video of Nick Sackiewicz addressing Sons of Ben at Dark Horse Tavern on Tuesday night. Yours truly sits right at 0:38 with the glasses and striped blue shirt [without the scarf]. Handsome devil I am. Enjoy. Particularly the moment where Sons of Ben gives Sackiewicz his first round of Philadelphia boos.



Read on below for press conference tidbits:

– The head of the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association will head up the Youth Development program for MLS Philly.

– There are thoughts, post 2010, to bring a women’s team to the area.

– Sons of Ben president Bryan James was interviewed, called up on stage, and asked to speak. Each speaker mentioned the Sons of Ben, a true testament to all that they’ve done.

– Seattle has sold over 12,000 season tickets now. That’s ridiculous.

– Nick Sakiewicz has called this the “fan’s team”, which leads me to believe that the colors will remain light blue and yellow (a la Philadelphia flag) with probably black or white foundations.

– The fan’s will vote for the MLS Philadelphia name.

– US Soccer legend Walter Bahr was on hand and received a couple shoutouts.

– For those that haven’t been to the site, it will be gorgeous once everything is up and running. Once I figure out how to extract photos from my stupid cell phone, I’ll get them up on the site.

– CEO Jay Sugarman looks like a cross between Jim Carrey, and someone else, anyone know who that other person is? Both Mayor Nutter and Governor Rendell were on hand.

The archived video of the press conference should be up very shortly on MLSNet.

MLS Philly: Getting Closer, Ives takes a look at Philly

Ives Galarcep does a great piece on the prospects of a Philadelphia Major League Soccer franchise.

I will be heading to a Meet the Owners party tomorrow for it. Hopefully, I’ll bring back some pictures and a few concrete facts……..

MLS Philly: CONFIRMATION!!

Ives has been wrong before, but let’s be honest, he rarely is…and is easily one of the most credible places to go for news in the US soccer world.

But if you don’t believe Ives – the Philadelphia Inquirer works too.  We will know the details on February 28th…and this will be your place to go for all news MLS Philly.

MLS PHILLY is on it’s way!

MLS Philly: Sons of Ben getting more foreign press

“Tim Timminy, Tim Timminy,Tim Tim Teroo / We’ve got Tim Howard and he says fuck you!”

The Guardian UK’s Steven Wells profiled the Sons of Ben as they await the announcement – which could come any day now (coughendofthemonthcough…).  Hell of a good read…

Membership is now 1,200 strong and over 2,500 season ticket ‘intentions’ have been counted. Wells’ points out that there is already an undeniable hatred brewing between the Mid-Atlantic teams and almost-team…

And in New York Red Bull fan chatrooms, the Sons are routinely dissed as “scum”, “infected douches”, “fucking retards”, “Philthadelphia” and “the Daughters of Betsy”.

My ‘cough cough’ moment above alludes to – from an anonymous but very credible source and piggybacking off the MLS Rumors’ timeline – a potential “Meet the Owners” event being held at a location TBA early next week. If the owners are going to meet the Sons of Ben, they are clearly going to have something to talk about.

MLS Philly: “The Stars are Aligned”, Expansion Inching Closer

I know, I know. Yet another article about how the deal is so close, but not quite there yet.

This one is a little rosier. And the coverage on the deal in the Philadelphia Inquirer has now gone – dare I say – daily? (well, three days in a row that is). Or does Domenic Pileggi’s editorial count as one?

Yesterday’s article was a back-and-forth between city officials, members of the ownership group, and a bunch of pessimistic sports economists.

Today’s – however – is much nicer to look at as “Sources” say that it is not about the “if”, “hows”, and “whens” anymore.

People familiar with the work accomplished during the last two weeks – since Gov. Rendell announced the award of state funding – believe the Philadelphia bid has assumed an aura of inevitability, capable of being derailed only by an impossible-to-foresee cataclysm.

“It’s definitely Philly,” said a Major League Soccer source, declining to be quoted by name in advance of an official announcement. “It’s the market size, the ownership group. These are wealthy people. They’re going to be strong owners.”

For many, the appointment of Nick Sakiewicz really cemented that ‘aura of inevitability’ around the deal. I’m still treading lightly as I don’t want to get my feelings hurt, but damn will it be a good day if and when this team is announced.

Should I dare to ask for predictions? If a team is announced for 2010, who will be MLS Philly’s coach – prospects? Who will be their first signing?? Former SJ product (Delran), Peter Vermes as Coach?

Notable Philly-based Players

Bobby Convey [Reading]
Chris Albright [New England]
Dan Gargan [Colorado]
Jim Curtin [Chivas USA] – from Oreland, PA
Jeff Curtin [Chicago]
Jeff Larentowicz [New England] – captained FC Delco, Chestnut Hill Academy
Danny Cepero [RBNY] – UPenn graduate
Jeremiah White [AGF Aarhus] -FC Delco Alumni
Chris Wingert [Colorado] – FC Delco Alumni
Jeff Parke [RBNY] – Drexel graduate

Miss any?

MLS Philly: It’s Much More than a Stadium

“It’s like the people from the Publishers Clearing House, and they’ve come down here and they say: ‘You know what? You just won half a billion dollars.’ I’m ready to put a shovel in the ground.

That’s Chester Mayor Wendell Butler’s intake on receiving the funding from the state that they needed to move one step closer to breaking ground. There isn’t only an 18,500 person stadium going in.

A riverfront promenade, 25 apartments, 186 townhouses, boat slips, percentage of ticket revenue to the Chester school system

It’s good to see that there exists a sense of grounding with all the people involved in this, as even Governor Ed Rendell explains, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over”. So until they break ground, I will hold my breath…but even then, a good thing is that this project doesn’t hinge on the fact that the MLS awards Philly a team – $25 million is earmarked for the stadium. The fact that MLS has acknowledged that Philly has moved a billion steps closer is a good, good thing.

Garber’s response…

“The Philadelphia market just took a big step forward and is now well positioned to receive an MLS expansion team. The opportunity to be part of a large-scale urban-renewal project along the historic Chester waterfront remains extremely appealing to us. We are eager to continue our conversations with the potential ownership group to finalize an agreement and we will provide more details shortly.

One more piece of funding is yet to be voted on as another $10 million is expected to come from the Delaware Port Authority. Once that is secured, groundbreaking is supposed to take place this fall.

Going down to Rivertown, to see some MLS soccer, sounds nice to me…