SBJ/Jan. 24-30, 2011/Franchises

FC Dallas takes aim at 18- to 34-year-olds

Club creates ticketing approach to appeal to young avid fans

FC Dallas hopes a new ticketing strategy will help channel the club’s on-field success in 2010 into better attendance in 2011. The team, which lost to the Colorado Rapids in the 2010 MLS Cup, posted the league’s third-worst attendance numbers last season.

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FC Dallas played in last season's MLS Cup, but ranked near the bottom of the league in attendance.
Trying to counter that, the club has developed a new ticketing approach that targets 18- to 34-year-old, hard-core soccer fans, according to Doug Quinn, president and CEO of FC Dallas.

“All of the ingredients for success are here, we just hadn’t put it into place,” Quinn said. “We were primarily targeting the youth soccer community [for ticket sales].”

FC Dallas is introducing two multiple-game ticket plans in February, one of them tapping into last year’s run to the MLS Cup finals. The club’s 2010 Playoff Pack includes games against the teams FC Dallas faced during the 2010 postseason — Real Salt Lake, Los Angeles Galaxy and the Rapids. Another plan, dubbed the “Darby Pack,” targets rivalry games, such as the annual Brimstone Cup match against the Chicago Fire, the Pioneer Cup game against the Columbus Crew, the El Capitan Cup against the Houston Dynamo and the Rio Grande Plate match against the Mexican club Tigres.

“The [Darby] is taken from the European model to cater to that authentic soccer fan,” said Kris Katseanes, the team’s director of sales and services. “It’s part of the credibility that we are looking for.”

The team has increased its ticketing division from seven to 25 employees, including six graduates from the MLS National Sales Center. The push in ticket sales comes after three seasons of steady decline. In 2007, the team’s average attendance was 15,145; last year the average was 10,815 at 21,193-seat Pizza Hut Park. It was the fourth-lowest average in the team’s 15-year history.

Season tickets are currently being sold at 2010 prices, though they were available for a 30-40 percent discount from August to September and then a 15-20 discount during October and November. By January, FC Dallas had renewed 88 percent of its season tickets and is projecting a 300 percent increase in total ticket sales, Katseanes said.

The club also introduced a $486 “All You Can Eat” season-ticket package that included unlimited concessions, and sold out all 550 seats.

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