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Hale and hearty season tickets sales? That’s where it’s at

Mar 8, 2013, 1:02 PM EDT

SOC - Dynamo vs Union

This story is a great opportunity to remind about the real steel framework of selling professional soccer in the United States

It’s about season tickets and building the attached supporters’ culture.

You may know this – smart, thinking man or woman that you are. But believe me, those old notions of suburban families and kids as primary targets have a nasty way of creeping back into the conventional wisdom, especially as it concerns the sports community at large. (That is, sporties who may be OK with soccer, but who are not in the loop on how the sport has advanced happily beyond 2002 in this country.)

The story linked above is about the Houston Dynamo having sold 12,000 season tickets around BBVA Compass Stadium. That’s more than the Astros and Rockets.

Obviously, these are ticket-shaped apples and oranges; An MLS season ticket pack cost just pennies compared to the MLB and NBA dollar.

Still, those 12,000 packages sold, just like the thousands sold at MLS grounds with even greater season ticket joy, generally represent fans. Real, honest-to-goodness, scarf-wrapped supporters who know things. Things like the characters involved. Like whose shins will be kicked in anger that day. They know the back stories that help frame the day – the very orange day in the case of BBVA in South Texas.

Sell to the kids and the suburban families? Sure, their money is just as green. And, yes, you’ll find some die-hard supporters in that same-same crowd. But you also get a bunch of people who had just as soon be passing time at some other entertainment option. They’ll come out twice a year – which is great!

But creating real supporters is where it’s at. There’s the real staying power for MLS.

By the way, those “real supporters,” the 20- and 30-somethings, may one day go have kids. Maybe even in one of the outer rings. Either way, the kids will grow up supporting mom and pop’s teams – as they do in other lands.

Know what you have then? I think they call it “history.” And that many more supporters lining up to buy their season ticket pack.

  1. valiantdraws - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    Man, I would love to see Houston get to 14 or 15 thousand. But, this is encouraging news. I wish RBNY would get their marketing shit in gear and sell sell sell. One of the nicest stadiums anywhere, and exciting players to boot? Hell, sign me up if I’m in New York or New Jersey.

    • larryharry59 - Mar 8, 2013 at 2:09 PM

      Alot has to do with the fact that the team has an incredibly stupid name and is located in Jersey which is 2nd behind Florida in having terrible support from fans ( is ay 2nd because the Giants and Jets do sellout in the Meadowlands while Florida can;t even do that).

  2. dreadpirate82 - Mar 8, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    According to Robb Heineman at his Reinventing the Empire talk at the University of Kansas earlier this week, the Wizards had 450 season ticket holders when his group bought the team. They now have over 11,000 and the season is close to being sold out already. H/T to Mike at Down the Byline (http://www.downthebyline.com/2013/03/some-random-thoughts-on-reinventing.html) for his coverage of the talk.

    It’s great to see teams around the league with such robust season ticket numbers. Hopefully the stragglers will start closing in on the pack in the next few years.

    • unitedlee - Mar 8, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      Hear! Hear! I’ll raise a pint to that!

  3. valiantdraws - Mar 8, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    More stupid than, say, Chivas USA? Or the Earthquakes? Or the Crew? I don’t buy it.

    • larryharry59 - Mar 8, 2013 at 5:15 PM

      No not stupider than Chivas USA but the 2nd stupidest in the league. Naming your team after a sports drink is beyond stupid. Would you support a team called the Atlanta Dr Peppers?

      • dreadpirate82 - Mar 8, 2013 at 5:54 PM

        Dr Pepper is quite delicious… If the jerseys said I’M A PEPPER across the front, I’d be all over one of those bad boys.

      • mvktr2 - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:32 PM

        Mmmm I lov Dr Pepper!

        My favorite team name is ‘the fighting okra’. Imagine, Fighting Okra FC!!!

  4. valiantdraws - Mar 9, 2013 at 4:14 AM

    Dude…I’m a Pepper? It’s a wrap. That would be my jersey for life.

  5. tylerbetts - Mar 9, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    Let’s not forget the other side of these “real supporters” as you call them. This generation of die-hard fans. We’re starting to have kids. And just like my dad raised my on the Cleveland Indians, resulting in my having false hopes every spring, and tears during a few Octobers, our children will be raised on SKC, on Sounder FC, on Columbus Crew, on RBNY, and so on and so forth. And when that generation is in their 20′s and 30′s, they’ll be buying season tickets, and raising their children on it. And that’s when we’ll really see the soccer supporter mentality spread like wildfire across the country. When three generations stand together as members of the Crew Union, or TImbers Army, or any other supporters group and sing in the stands together. That’s when we’ll have truly arrived.

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