SBD/Issue 94/Franchises

MLS Sounders To Cap Season Ticket Sales At 32,000 For '10 Season

Sounders Owner Says 96% Of Team's Season-
Ticket Holders Renewed After Last Year
After setting an MLS attendance record last season with 30,897 fans per game, Sounders FC yesterday said that it "will cap season ticket sales at 32,000 for the coming year," according to Greg Johns of SEATTLEPI.com. Sounders Majority Owner Joe Roth said that 96% of the team's season-ticket holders "renewed after last year." Less than 1,000 season tickets "remain for the 2010 season," and only a "limited number of single-game tickets" will be available next season. The team "does not plan on expanding its Qwest Field seating configuration of about 35,500 used at the end of last year." The full stadium capacity of 67,000 "could be opened up for three still-to-be-announced 'international friendly matches' that are part of the season-ticket package, but regular-season games will be played using only the lower bowl plus one section of seating above the concourse." Sounders Senior VP/Business Operations Gary Wright said the current seating is a "natural fit without going into the Hawk's Nest." Johns noted the "other option would be to open up the huge expanse of seats in the upper bowl, but ticket demand doesn't warrant that at this point." Wright: "It's important to keep the atmosphere what it is. If you open up the whole bowl, you don't have that same energy and feeling because you'd have lots of empty seats." Wright said that he "expected an announcement of the international friendly matches in the next several weeks" (SEATTLEPI.com, 1/27).

FRIENDLY COMPETITION: Wright said of the international friendlies, "We're looking at some big ones again. We feel good about it. ... But now we've got so many other games, I don't think we can fit all three of our friendlies (into the July and early August time period favored by European clubs). So I think we're going to have to take another of our windows and find a team from another part of the world than Europe to come play in October or May." In Tacoma, Don Ruiz notes the Sounders are "guaranteed at least one home game in the CONCACAF Champions League, and they are likely to host games in defense of their U.S. Open Cup title." But early round games in those competitions "will be played at Starfire Sports Stadium" in Tukwila, Washington, and are "not part of the season-ticket package" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 1/28).

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