SBD/August 14, 2014/Franchises

Revolution To Include Away Game In Supporter-Group Season-Ticket Plans To Up Experience

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Packages will only be available to members of the club's two official supporter groups
The Revolution will have a new feature in their ’15 supporter-group season-ticket plans in which both the team’s away game at Red Bull Arena and round-trip bus transportation to that match will be included in the package. Team execs believe that this is the first time in any major U.S. sports league that an away game (not to mention transportation to it) has been made a part of a season-ticket plan. The club will sell 750 of the packages at a cost of $243, which will only be available to those who sit in The Fort -- where the team’s two official supporter groups, the Rebellion and Midnight Riders, reside. Those groups have typically brought about 250-300 fans to the Revolution’s away games versus the Red Bulls in the past, so the team is confident 750 of the packages will suffice. MLS teams already have to allot a certain minimum number of tickets to away fans for every home game -- with the rate sometimes varying by venue -- but the two teams worked out the 750 figure for the game at Red Bull Arena so that it would match up with the number of tickets being sold. The Revolution will make the special supporter-group plan -- including all 17 home games and the away game -- available starting today, then sales on all season-ticket packages begin Saturday. As part of the move, the Red Bulls will reciprocate by including their away match at Gillette Stadium as part of their supporter-group season-ticket plans. However, the Red Bulls will not include transportation. The Revolution chose to approach the Red Bulls for the idea in part because the close proximity of the two clubs made for a natural arrangement. The organization will provide as many buses as necessary to transport the fans, with the pickup and dropoff location being Gillette Stadium, where the team plays its matches.

FANS-FIRST MENTALITY: Revolution President Brian Bilello said that team execs made the decision to pursue this idea after they consulted with supporter group members, who indicated that traveling to away matches -- and the camaraderie that comes with it -- was one of the most critical factors they had in gaining an affinity for the club. He said that the package may prove particularly attractive because setting up away travel is typically one of the most arduous tasks for supporter-group members. Bilello: “We’ve tried to be a very fan-centric league. Instead of saying to fans, ‘This is the way we want our teams supported,’ we’ve looked to our fans to say, ‘How do you want to support the team?’” He added, “Road trips are something the fans have been doing since the beginning of the league. And we looked at that and said, ‘That’s an important part of being a supporter; it’s a great thing in soccer; how can we help make it easier on our fans to do that?’” Univ. of South Florida Sport & Entertainment Business Management MBA Founding Dir Bill Sutton in an e-mail called the move "very innovative and smart." Sutton wrote, "Following a team originally was a term used to describe following the team wherever they played. This accomplishes several things: Fan support on the road, building a connection between fans and between the team and its fans, and helping to establish a rivalry. ... I feel this offering will deepen the relationship between the fans and the club." Bilello said that if the perk proves popular next season, the club may look to expand upon it for the season after.

ATTENDANCE OVERALL: Bilello said that for all ’15 season-ticket categories, prices will be up “in the 2-3-4 percent range” to account for inflation and new, added costs. Ticket prices have risen incrementally every year since at least ’06. Bilello confirmed that the club’s current season-ticket base is more than 5,000 fans, but declined to give a more precise amount. He noted that he has been relatively pleased with the club’s attendance uptick this season. Gillette Stadium has hosted an average of 13,544 fans through 11 games this campaign, which is up 11.7% from ‘13. However, Bilello added, “We’re still looking to take it to the next level and are still working away at trying to get a stadium project off the ground, and that for us is kind of the real game changer for soccer in Boston. While we’re at Gillette (Stadium), though, we’re working hard and trying to grow where we can.”
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