SBD/July 9, 2012/Franchises

MLS Impact Reducing Ticket Prices To Boost Sagging Attendance

MLS Impact President Joey Saputo “admitted Friday that the team miscalculated the market when it established ticket prices for the team’s inaugural MLS season,” according to Pat Hickey of the Montreal GAZETTE. As a result, Saputo said that the Impact was “introducing a series of special promotions to boost the team’s sagging attendance.” Saputo: “My main concern is protecting the image of the team.” He said that high ticket prices "were one of the factors cited as a negative when the team canvassed its fans.” Saputo: “We’re targeting the 18-35 age group and there aren’t too many in that group who are going to pay $57 plus tax and the service charge which bring it up to $65.” Hickey wrote, “The Impact is hoping to lure fans with a variety of packages aimed at families and groups." Saputo said that “all the category 1-4 tickets for the July 24 international against Olympique Lyonnais will be priced at [C]$25 tax included.” Fans who have “already purchased tickets at a higher price will be credited for the difference.” There have been “fewer than 15,000 for three of their four games in the 20,000-seat Saputo Stadium” (Montreal GAZETTE, 7/6).

 In N.Y., Jack Bell wrote the North American Soccer League’s San Antonio Scorpions, owned by former real estate developer Gordon Hartman, are “drawing an average of 8,000 fans a game to Heroes Stadium while Hartman’s privately financed soccer facility is being built.” The new stadium “will be ready for the 2013 NASL season.” Hartman said, “I have not talked to [MLS Commissioner] Don Garber, but I am building a soccer stadium. ... I believe you have to do it in a crawl-walk-run approach. The Saputos put in the money up in Montreal but did not do it in one year. Neither should we. We will continue to build our fan base and hope it leads to MLS. But there’s no way it’s set in our expectations” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/7).
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