Survey: On MLS Ticketing

A few weeks ago, I questioned the merit of the New York Red Bulls and other MLS teams using Groupon, the popular group discounting site, to move tickets.

Who wants a ticket discount? Actually doesn't work that way...

Working in Silicon Valley (and mind you Groupon is based in Chicago), we’re deluged with tech companies and “tech-hopeful companies” (companies who have one feature, but lack a true business model) all the time and there is often a pre-disposition by existing brands to glom on to the latest tech company or partner su jour just for the brand equity value so they can say they’re hip or on the vanguard of technology.

In terms of Groupon–the current tech high flyer–I reasoned that fans would be conditioned to wait to purchase MLS tickets until they became available on Groupon and that season ticket holders would be upset–and clubs would face a backlash when they saw fans could wait and buy hugely discounted tickets and maybe get some goodies to go with it.

Groupon, I reasoned, would only be good for building an email list and marketing to fans after the Groupon offer.

Turns out–as is typically the case–I was half-right, half-wrong. First on the right side, many teams do use Groupon just to build list and question the long-term viability. However, most fans–those I talked to were the hard-core passionate type on Twitter–actually were fine with the offerings just to increase support for their team.

Didn’t expect that.

Given that TSG preaches statistical or experiential evidence above all, we reached out to a few ticket departments at MLS hops and got quite an education.

Below, a compiling of answers from the Chicago Fire, FC Dallas and Sporting KC on MLS ticket sales and ticket philosophies.

A huge thanks to the respective Director of Sales at each organization, specifically Jake Reid of Sporting KC, Kris Katseanes of FC Dallas and Mike Ernst of the Chicago Fire (with support from Communications Manager Brendan Hannan.)

Let’s go.

On ticketing sales, have sales thus far been in line with what was forecasted at the beginning of the year? If possible, please offer your season ticket projections versus year to date.

JR, Sporting KC: Right now sales are exceeding expectations for the year for our season tickets.  We had hoped to be at 10,000 by the home opener on June 9th, and we have already surpassed that figure.

KK, FC Dallas: Sales have been great, and we have surpassed our renewal and new FSE goals.  Through four games, we are a bit ahead of our overall group sales plan. (*TSG note: FSE stands for Full Season Equivalents. It’s the number of seats guaranteed to be sold per game before groups and individuals buy tickets.)

ME & BH, Chicago Fire: The Club set a record for most new season tickets sold in a year. Through four games, our paid attendance is up 19% over 2010.

*TSG Note: Important to remember that the US economy on average is better in 2011 than in 2010.

What’s a challenge that is unique to marketing and selling tickets for your specific team?

JR, Sporting KC: We have at an extremely busy year with the rebrand of the team, the new stadium being build, and starting the season with 10 straight road games.  Our biggest challenge thus far has been selling season tickets without having a home game until June!

Super Bowl shuffling...just a part of Chicago's challenge...

ME & BH, Chicago Fire:  The Fire face the challenge of playing in one of the most saturated sports markets in the United States. Chicago contains a number of storied sports franchises. The competition for the sports entertainment dollar can be a challenge in our market.

KK, FC Dallas: Relevance in the marketplace…going head to head with long-standing traditions of the Cowboys, Mavs and Rangers…we’ll get past it, but it is the biggest battle we face.

On average how does team performance impact ticket sales in MLS soccer in season?

JR, Sporting KC:  Certainly team performance will always play a factor.  However, I believe with season ticket sales most of the buying process comes down to value (cost savings vs single game tickets), extra benefits, and the level of service they receive throughout the year.  It’s tough to judge how team performance has affected us, because our fans have yet to see us win or lose at home.

ME & BH, Chicago Fire: MLS is like any other sport in that there is a correlation between ticket sales and team performance. We feel the biggest impact from team performance in our Ticketmaster and Walk Up sales. (*TSG note: “Ticketmaster” sales are likely those that come from marketing a “Geo”…as in a city…and not the specific team as the Fire do on their tickets page of their web site.)

KK, FC Dallas: I’ve always thought that it can help because the message is easier to sell a winning team, but it shouldn’t ever be a negative reason why sales can’t occur.

What opponents are the biggest draws for your teams and why do you think they are?

JR, Sporting KC:  Chicago is a huge game for us.  Local Midwest rival for us.  LA will always be a big game, most of your casual soccer fans know the household names of Donovan and Beckham.

ME & BH, Chicago Fire: LA Galaxy and NY Red Bulls, all based on star power. Ticket sales for other matches fluxuates based on the day, date, and time of the match.

KK, FC Dallas: It’s obvious for us…LA and NY for the star factor and Houston from a rivalry standpoint

Discounting a positive?

How do you feel about using a site like Groupon–do you use Groupon–which offers discount tickets to fans who may or may not have been to an MLS game before?

KK, FC Dallas: We’ve used Groupon four times in the past two years…it’s moved about 1,000 tickets on average for us.  The only way it makes sense is if someone has distressed inventory, but if you do it’s a great avenue.  I would also caution someone about being specific in negotiations when securing these deals (exclusivity clauses, actual reach of the offer, primary v. secondary offers, etc.) because it can prove to be less effective if you don’t get the right arrangement.

JR, Sporting KC:  We used Groupon once last year, and it shifted 1200 tickets in roughly 24 hours.  I believe in the right situation, it can be useful, and beneficial to drive new fans to your stadium.  However, overall I’m not a firm believer in price slashing.  I think you need to protect your price integrity, and drive new fans through added value.  This also helps you protect and ensure season ticket holders always have the deepest discount on tickets, which is vitally important.

ME & BH, Chicago Fire: We have been an avid users of Groupon since their inception in 2009. We have found that it is a great opportunity to drive paid trial of our product. This often times leads to long-term fans. For example, this past offseason we did a season ticket offer via Groupon for the first time, we sold 400 season tickets in 3 days.

React to this statement. Sunil Gulati recently, tongue-in-cheek perhaps, said that MLS ratings may lag because diehard fans are going to game. Do you think this is the case?

JR, Sporting KC:  Not at all, I believe that similar to college football 10-15 years ago.  As the fan base and popularity grow, you will see attendance increase, and TV rating go up.  I believe the two go hand in hand, and one is not counterproductive to the other.

ME & BH, Chicago Fire: No. With increased marketing and media awareness ratings will continue to improve. The Chicago Fire drive fans to attend matches at TOYOTA PARK and take part in the exciting, engaging game day atmosphere, however, we continue to encourage supporters to watch our matches live on Comcast SportsNet Chicago and My50 for all home and away games.

KK, FC Dallas: I do think diehard fans are going to the games more as we continue to put more emphasis on them being the primary target.  It makes sense I guess, but wouldn’t have any foundation for supporting or refuting it.

And up it went...

Some of you are opening new stadium this year or recently have, what’s the “most sellable” aspect of a new stadium? The view? The food? Alternate entertainment?

JR, Sporting KC:  Our stadium will be the most technologically advanced in North America when it opens in June.  The views are outstanding, the sightlines are tremendous no matter where you sit.  We have a one of a kind supporters club for our 2000 fans sitting in the members section, the first of its kind in MLS.  We also have a 360 degree canopy which provide coverage from rain for every seat in the building.  The canopy will keep the sound in, therefore creating a loud, very intimidating home field advantage for our players, and an exciting atmosphere for all of our supporters.

KK, FC Dallas: I was part of opening Rio Tinto in Salt Lake as the Director of Sales.  The most sellable aspects were investment in long-term seat location–someone being able to secure a seat for life that would not otherwise be available in 5-10 years–and new seating perspectives, amenities, experiences that weren’t available in the previous stadium, especially premium options.

I can imagine that parking would be a big factor for some even though it wasn’t as big a deal for us.

What one improvement you’d make to your league or your team that you would say would dramatically improve ticket sales? An answer of “winning the Supporters’ Shield” or “winning the MLS Cup” is disqualified.

JR, Sporting KC:  Promoting the young talent in our league.  I think we need to promote the stars of tomorrow more.  Right now the casual fan doesn’t know our players, therefore they don’t understand how many phenomenal athletes we have in this league.  You look at the NBA/NFL/MLB…each team has players that are household names to even casual sports fans, we don’t have that.

Sales training (courtesy IM Soccer News)

KK, FC Dallas: More ticket sales people who are well-trained (which we have been the beneficiary of here and it’s working!). See more on this topic here.

ME & BH, Chicago Fire:  Increased exposure in the market place would improve ticket sales. The Fire garner publicity from a number of local and national outlets, however, additional coverage and exposure across all media platforms would help increase ticket sales revenue in the Chicagoland area and across ML

—-

TSG: Could not agree more on Jake’s sentiments on promoting young talent. To me, in terms of league exposure, it’s a crucial one for MLS to get right. The main challenge of course being, with young talent in MLS getting better by the year, how much promotion can and should you give to a player who may jump to Europe for a better salary and allure of playing in a better league.

The league saw this with a player like Sacha Kljestan, who was featured in a set of Adidas ads and then jumped the pond. Stu Holden himself–as we see with the scheduling of a Houston-Bolton friendly–would have been an ideal ambassador to fill the new Dynamo stadium. Specific to this column, Teal Bunbury is a critical marketing fixture already for Sporting KC, but might he one day soon go to Stoke City?

Big challenge there and more discussion in an upcoming column. Oh and on a note, wholly different, and cyclical, challenges for the US national team. Current sales for the US-Spain friendly are just shy of 6,000 off for a record in New England. 52,000 sold. Record is 57,407.

A big thanks to the Chicago Fire, FC Dallas and Sporting KC for contributing their answers on ticketing. The least I could do is link to their ticket sales page…which I just did in the last sentence.

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42 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by kaya on 2011/05/16 at 11:04 PM

    Selling season seats via groupon seems weird to me. However, most businesses expect to take a hit when using groupon and look at it as a marketing expense. I don’t see why MLS would be any different.
    I’ll start worrying about MLS trying too hard to be on the bleeding edge of tech when they start talking about being in the clouds.

    Reply

  2. Posted by MrTuktoyaktuk on 2011/05/17 at 5:42 AM

    Great interviews! MLS is investing time and money in developing team sales expertise,include league assistance to teams in training, etc. For a league that is so reliant on gate revenue this is critically important.

    Reply

  3. I spoke with Peter Wilt (former GM of the Chicago Fire, Minnesota Thunder, Chicago Red Stars, and others) and he made an interesting point, that JR in KC echoed, about discounting your ticket prices or giving them away for free without the recipient having to “earn” them in some fashion; you are setting the value of your product to be low/free and now people have trouble internally justifying paying for a ticket they once got for free.

    Reply

  4. Posted by John on 2011/05/17 at 7:13 AM

    From the Dallas response:

    “going head to head with long-standing traditions of the Cowboys, Mavs and Rangers”

    I have always found this interesting because I lived in Dallas for a very long (too long) time. Sports fans in Dallas (for the most part, and yes I know I am stereotyping) are interested in winning. I hate to say it but they are a bit of a front runner. When the mavs were abysmal you could get tickets on any night to go see them, and they used to give them away for free under Dr Pepper caps and as raffle prizes. I know, because I won a free pair as a kid and couldn’t be bothered to go see them. The rangers were the same way, during the Arlington stadium days people WOULD go see them, but you honestly wouldn’t find that many Texas Ranger fans, just fans of baseball out at the game. (IE There aren’t many people out there talking about the good ole days of Steve Buechele and Pete Incaviglia)

    The Cowboys always win, so they always have attendance. Plus for Texas, typically the Sporting tree is

    Football, Football, Football.

    Take your pick of which three teams. It is either

    #1 Texas
    #2 Cowboys
    #3 Highschool

    or

    #1 Cowboys
    #2 Aggies
    #3 Highschool

    Or whatever combination you can find. So to a certain when they say..

    “Through four games, we are a bit ahead of our overall group sales plan.”

    It’s because they started winning. Out of both the Fire and Sporting KC, FC Dallas have the biggest problem because of the location of their Stadium. It is in the middle of absolute nowhere. You might as well call them FC Denton or FC Plano. It’s the same problem I have with the idea of Minnesota building a Dual Purpose stadium in the suburbs and trying to get the MLS. Not to mention that Dallas has almost no Public transport, so you are talking a 2 hr (one way) commute for some FC Dallas fans. I mean if you live in Duncanville and commute into Dallas for Work (and many do) then it is entirely possible that you could be a soccer fan that doesn’t get to go out there because of the distance. Ugh. The planning and location of that stadium is a disaster and I question whether or not it is ever going to work there.

    Reply

    • First – Chicago’s stadium isn’t in some great location…it’s off of Harlem Avenue in between the Southside of Chicago (read: worst part of the city) and the South Suburbs, so everyone has to travel to get there. The great public transit of the Chicagoland area doesn’t get anywhere near this unless you want to ride on a public bus for hours on end.

      Second – I hadn’t heard the Minneapolis area was interested in MLS, I’d be interested to read about that. Second their Stadium ideas for the Vikings aren’t bad since everywhere in the Twin Cities except the far East and West ‘burbs are within a 30 or so minute drive from anywhere else. However, if they want an MLS franchise they should take a note from the NSC Stars (formerly the Minnesota Thunder) playing up in Blaine. The facility is a nice stadium for soccer with a beer garden, lots of parking, etc. However, they fail to draw decent numbers because not enough people care about soccer to drive up to Blaine to catch a game. Also, public transit isn’t that great up here yet – the Light Rail is excellent if you live close to the single route that it follows, otherwise you’re hosed. Also, the weather has been annoying for my Men’s League team which didn’t start playing until May, MLS starts in late March/early April and they’re talking about an outdoor stadium for the Vikes…I want the MLS up here, but not sure it’s the best city all things considered.

      Reply

      • Posted by John on 2011/05/17 at 10:43 AM

        In regards to #1 – Google directions Dallas TX to Pizza Hut Park, Frisco TX. Then realize that the time estimate is without Traffic.

        In regards to #2 –

        http://aol.sportingnews.com/soccer/story/2011-05-13/mls-confirms-contact-with-zygi-wilf-about-minnesota-team

        Article, essentially Wilf just lobbed it out there. I would very much doubt that the MLS (with montreal and the non-existant brand Cosmos) is interested, but you never know.

        Reply

        • Thanks for the MN article. The Southern Dallas Suburbs to Frisco is about the same as the Nothern Suburbs of Chicago to Bridgeview.

          Reply

          • Posted by John on 2011/05/17 at 11:52 AM

            Either way we can agree that distance without infrastructure is a factor when it comes to people attending MLS.

            Incidentally I really hope that if the MLS to Vegas idea is going to happen that they build an indoor/air conditioned stadium. It was 114 there in July last year.

            Reply

            • Agreed on all accounts. Playing the game in a Minnesota April is bad, but not as bad as 114 degree heat, which could be lethal.

              Also, if we have air conditioned stadia for MLS, shouldn’t the 2026 World Cup be automatically given to us?

            • Posted by John on 2011/05/17 at 12:23 PM

              By 2026, Blatter will have probably awarded the WC to either Iran or the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

        • Posted by Russell on 2011/05/17 at 3:55 PM

          I certainly understand the distance factor. San Jose is about 90 minutes away for me and as a result I’ve been maybe 6 times total.

          However, I never fully understood the absolute ticket failure of Pizza Hut Park. The North Dallas suburbs are mostly average to affluent and fairly soccer friendly in the Texas scope of things. The Dallas Cup hasn’t been a great success for years for nothing.

          In addition, while Dallas is 60 mins with traffic away from Frisco. Richardson (100K), Carrollton (130K), Plano (275K), Garland (225K), Allen (85K), McKinney (131K), Denton (120K) and Frisco (116K) are all closer than Dallas.

          Shouldn’t they have been selling more than 8K a game with over 1 mil population within an hour driving distance..to a nice park?

          Reply

          • Posted by John on 2011/05/17 at 4:15 PM

            Well, here is the thing…. they are.

            As much as I just complained about it (whether or not these are bodies in seats) the average attendance at Pizza Hut Park is 14,258. Which you have to give them credit for pulling even if that is just sales and not warm bodies.

            Also, I think a big issue here is that Affluent soccer parents and kids are actually the worst group of people you can pull for fans. They don’t create much of an atmosphere and probably aren’t going to come out in the pouring rain.

            Incidentally none of this is meant to slate the diehard FC Dallas fans that make the trip to see their team.

            Reply

            • Posted by John on 2011/05/17 at 4:22 PM

              I will say this though, If you watch their games (which I have been for some reason)they don’t have 14000 in the stands. Unless they are all on the side of the field that the camera shoots from.

      • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/05/17 at 1:45 PM

        The great public transit of the Chicagoland area doesn’t get anywhere near this unless you want to ride on a public bus for hours on end.

        CTA runs an express bus from the Midway Orange Line stop to Toyota park every game day. The ride takes about 15 minutes.

        Yeah, it isn’t an ideal location, but travel times shouldn’t be overly onerous for people who don’t live in the outskirts. A recent car trip from the north side to Toyota Park on game day took me about 30 minutes, for example.

        Reply

        • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/05/17 at 1:47 PM

          Sorry about the failure to close my tags. Wish I could edit it.

          Reply

        • Ufficio – Great point, thanks for the info. I’ve been out of the Chicago area for 2 years now, and the last 2 years I spent there were in the South Suburbs off of Harlem Ave, which meant I could easily drive to the park. However, when I lived closer to O’Hare the transit options were limited to the Blue Line to the Orange Line which takes at least an hour.

          Glad to hear that they’ve gotten better.

          Reply

    • Posted by Durant Durant on 2011/05/17 at 2:36 PM

      Having just moved to Austin from Dallas last year, I can say that this is the absolute truth. Driving up from Dallas to Frisco by car is a freaking nightmare, especially if you’re facing rush hour traffic. It might as well be in Oklahoma. Moreover, the passion for team itself is almost non-existent. It’s a bunch of families with their 5-12 year old kids who spend most of the time playing around in the concourse instead of watching the game. Frisco will never see the kind of passion that exists in Seattle or Portland simply because of the type of fan that lives in that area.

      Reply

      • Posted by Durant Durant on 2011/05/17 at 2:37 PM

        I think Austin would be a great place for a MLS team if they could build a stadium close to downtown.

        Reply

        • Posted by John on 2011/05/17 at 2:45 PM

          Austin has an interesting history with the game that I am sure Dan (from the Free Beer Movement) would be better at expounding upon.

          They recently (as in last year) lost the Azteks to Orlando for a variety of reasons.

          Reply

        • Posted by Kevin on 2011/05/17 at 7:44 PM

          If you’re looking to keep it in Texas San Antonio may be a better option. Supposedly multiple ownership groups are interested one of them being the owners of spurs and tottenham.

          Reply

    • Posted by Kevin on 2011/05/17 at 7:33 PM

      But my teams go like this

      Dynamo
      Manchester United
      I’ll have to agree with the high school part though.

      Reply

  5. Posted by kaya on 2011/05/17 at 10:44 AM

    Interesting about the locations of the stadia. I hadn’t given it any thought beyond thinking it was lame the Quakes are in San Jose instead of San Francisco. That’ll learn me to complain!
    I knew the Chicago stadium wasn’t in a super location because I once contemplated trying to incorporate a game into a visit to family. While the fam live on the south side, it’s true that without a car, it’s really hard to have time to make the trek.
    How far can you go for a soccer specific stadium before you get too far?

    Reply

  6. Posted by Andy on 2011/05/17 at 12:57 PM

    Absolutely correct about stadium location. If MLS is going to position itself towards the younger / pub oriented crowd then having a stadium near that market is important. In my opinion, the downtown location of Portland / Seattle stadiums certainly contributes to their marketing plans. I believe DC United has a shuttle to and from RFK from a group of soccer bars; perhaps that is an option for other MLS teams not geographically positioned at the heart of their market.

    Reply

    • Posted by John on 2011/05/17 at 1:23 PM

      I firmly believe that some of the attendance issues in Colorado are part of this. While supporters groups have set up shuttles for their members, Dick’s Sporting Goods park is out in the middle of nowhere compared to downtown. It certainly isn’t as bad as Dallas or (from the sound of it) Chicago, but you aren’t going to have a troop of people wanting to walk out of the local bars, under the highway, through the industrial district, and through the wheat fields, to get to DSG.

      If that stadium was closer to downtown you would have a large increase in your average attendance. As it is I give full credit to the supporters groups (BSG, Pid Army, Class VI) there because they have succeeded in spite of the organization, not because of it.

      Reply

    • Posted by Joe on 2011/05/17 at 2:49 PM

      There is also the DC metro that has a stop at RFK

      Reply

      • Posted by EFG on 2011/05/17 at 3:34 PM

        True, but there is nothing in that immediate area. I personally haven’t taken the H St shuttle to RFK yet but hope to soon.

        Reply

        • Posted by John on 2011/05/17 at 3:39 PM

          Incidentally the DC issue really irritates me. Here you have a flagship team in a huge market playing in a run down stadium that doesn’t suit its’ needs. A fantastic read by Steven Goff and Jonathon O’connell on the situation here. Do people really want to see DC United become Baltimore United?

          http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/struggling-with-crumbling-rfk-stadium-dc-united-is-desperate-for-a-new-home/2011/05/11/AFiiNb1G_story.html?wprss=rss_homepage

          Reply

          • Posted by Joe on 2011/05/17 at 4:03 PM

            I question which is worse staying in RFK or rushing out and ending up in the burbs or nowhere VA or MD. I would like to see DC stay in DC as I think our nations capitol deserves a team and definitely a team with the glam of United.

            Reply

            • Posted by Matthew on 2011/05/17 at 5:36 PM

              Used to live on Capitol Hill about 8 Blocks from RFK. RFK is rundown but the location is great. The Armory metro is right there. There are a couple of bars within walking distance (4 blocks or so), one being Trusty’s (small but spirited). The Eastern Market metro is one stop away, there are several good bars a block or two away: Ugly Mug and Finn McCools on 8th and I (shuttle usually runs from these bars to RFK). Capitol South Metro (2 stops from the Armory) is two blocks from several great bars such as Capitol Lounge and
              Pour House. Everytime I go back to DC, my friends and I try to rally at a bar on the Hill and hit a match. The whole experience is one of my best memories of living in the city. Great bars and great soccer culture.

  7. Posted by Joe on 2011/05/17 at 2:30 PM

    I want to echo the closing thoughts of John. The placement of the stadium is terrible it is in the middle of nowhere. One of the things that I have found most interesting in recent years is the location of the expansion teams stadiums. TFC’s stadium is in Toronto, Seattle is in Seattle, Portland in Portland, Vancouver is in Vancouver. All these stadiums have public transportation options to allow people to get there easily. Also those teams are selling out almost every game (TFC would sellout more if they didn’t charge an average ticket price of $90). The cities are the hubs of activity. You can pregame some place in the city and then celebrate afterwards. So when you go to the game it is more than just a two hour event. This is especially important when most of your games are on a Saturday. Plus for the Wednesday, or other midweek games, it allows fans to get off work and just stick around a little bit while waiting for a the game. This idea was brought up to me by a Red Bulls fan who hates the location of their stadium which means he only gets to 3 or 4 games a season but he would like to be a season ticket holder, but sees the Knicks selling out every game. I am really looking forward to the new Houston stadium (I wish it was bigger maybe closer to 30k than 20).
    I also would like the ticket prices to stay reasonably priced much like the Bundesliga. Where the base ticket price is $40. (I think TSG did an article on this.) The owners claim they make more money by keeping ticket prices down. They guarantee a sellout to advertisers and with more people able to see the games you create more fans so now you have a large group who will watch games on TV that they can’t see in person. This is one of the things that has really discouraged me about the NFL with their ridiculous ticket prices.

    I’m Sounders till I die!

    Reply

    • Posted by Kevin on 2011/05/17 at 7:52 PM

      I read somewhere that the Houston stadium is being built with 22,000, but the front office hopes to expand it some time down the road to around 30,000. I don’t remember really well, nor do I remember where I read it but may have Houston Chronicle.

      Reply

  8. [...] Shin Guardian: On MLS Ticketing [...]

    Reply

  9. Posted by Mike Lundwall on 2011/05/17 at 3:53 PM

    wow, what an interesting and informative article! Sometimes people lose sight of the fact that sports IS a business with Strategies and challenges like any other business. Thank for for the insight.

    Reply

  10. Great article. One of the best here in recent memory.

    Reply

  11. Posted by corky on 2011/05/17 at 8:27 PM

    Houston has done it right. They are building the stadium downtown. I think the Dynamo ownership did a good job as framing it that every other sport got a new stadium (Toyota, Minute Maid, Reliant), we deserve one too. Dynamo ownership demanded it be downtown and they were successful. Of course, they have to share it with TSU’s football team, but this stadium is going to be a rousing success.

    Reply

  12. Posted by joe on 2011/05/18 at 3:44 AM

    Corky I want to make note of one important fact. The new dynamo stadium is being built for soccer not the TSU football team so it wont be nearly as cluttered like Robertson Stadium’s field.

    Reply

  13. Posted by John on 2011/05/18 at 8:05 AM

    So here is something to talk about as well.

    Why does the MLS work in Houston?

    I am being very serious about this. Houston is not exactly known for having strong European tendencies, and isn’t exactly impacted by immigration from the south any more than Dallas or San Antonio.

    I would never really have bet on Houston ending up being a strong soccer supporting town, but it is. They are going to have a downtown soccer specific stadium, which (if you have been to Houston) is amazing to note!

    Is the organization better there? The brains in charge? Is this a case of a city wanting something, in combination with the fans, in combination with the front office?

    Reply

    • Posted by Joe on 2011/05/18 at 9:56 AM

      I would say that the FO in Houston is really smart and have been studying other US teams. They have done a very good job of marketing their team through any means they can. They were one of the first teams to really embrace the Supporters groups. Also the fact that they came in an immediately started winning gave them the ability to get press in the sports section of the Houston Chronicle. I think around the time TFC entered the league the Chron.com gave the dynamo their own tab off the sports sections. And I remember several articles by various writers imploring their readers to go and support the Dynamo (the only winning team in the city) like they do the other teams, because they were the only team that was built to win.

      Reply

    • Posted by Kevin on 2011/05/18 at 8:21 PM

      As far as the downtown stadium goes, I give a lot of credit to our former president Oliver Luck. There were options for us to build in suburbs, but Oliver Luck remained adamant about having the new stadium downtown and didn’t settle for less. I, for one, would like to have the field named after him.

      As far as the city, There’s still a lot of work to be done. On Chron.com, the number of racist comments, regarding things like getting the border patrol to go to games and rounding up immigrants, astounds me.

      Lastly the most logical reason behind a relatively loyal fan base is success. Our very first game was a 5-2 win over Colorado, and of course there was already buzz about a new team. Ching had four goals in that game. Then for fans to watch the 2006 and 2007 finals, especially the 2006 final with two goals in the 120+ minute which lead to penalties, is a big boost as well. Also throw in the boost of having an expansion team the same year as a world cup. It’s like double exposure.

      Reply

  14. Posted by Andy_4Lakes on 2011/05/18 at 9:04 AM

    I live in southern WI. Chicago is less than two hours away, not so far as to discourage occassional trips for some event. However, the prospect of getting to a Fire game makes that particular trip out of the question. Sigh…

    Reply

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