The Price of Passion

Owning a jersey is just fine. A scarf gives you street cred. But when you want to express your undying love for your team, nothing says it more than attending a game.

For those super-passionate lot that can afford it, attending every one of your home team’s games is not exceptional – it’s expected.

And while the passion of a dedicated, season ticket-holding fan, regardless of city, can never be compared, the costs required of them to show that passion most certainly can be, as the following list will attempt to show.

First, a couple of rules:

  1. This is a season-ticket comparison only.  It is the cheapest way to show your ultimate fandom as the per-game price can be substantially lower than buying the tickets individually.
  2. Every conceivable seat-type is available at some stadiums.  For the sake of comparison, only the “standard” sections you can find at most any stadium are included. Definitions:

    Fieldside: Popular in most stadiums, these are the seats that sit on the field, with nothing separating you from the action but the dasher boards.  (Note: SKC’s “Field” seats do not count.)
    Sideline: Cheapest-available seats for front-row midfield.
    Corner: Cheapest-available seats for front-row seats angled at the corner flags.
    Endline: Those seats looking across the field from the goal line.  Again, cheapest-available front-row seats are compared.
    Supporters: Wanna sit with the most fervent game-day fans? Often they have seats – and pricing – assigned just for them.

  3. Prices are as they are listed on the teams website.  (Shame on you, Toronto, for making STH inquirers call.)
  4. “Youth” pricing is still available at some stadiums, a throwback to the MLS of the late-90’s.  These pricing options are not taken into consideration.
  5. Parking prices are not included.

And now… the list:

Team

Fieldside

Midfield

Corner

Endline

Supporters

Notes:

Chicago

$3,000

$600

$400

$220

$220

Chivas

$1,750

$306

$252

$162

$135

Colorado

$476

$357/$238

$357

$238

1, 2.

Columbus

$1,890

$468

$324

$252

$306

D.C.

???

$480

$360

???

1, 3.

Dallas

$2,502

$432

$288

$288

$224

Houston

$1,800

$900

$550

$550

$250

4.

Los Angeles

$3,200

$1,160

$560

$560

$400

Montreal

$850

$340

$340

$245

2, 5.

New England

$1,296

$540

$324

$252

6.

New York

$1,100

$480

$400

$320

2.

Philadelphia

$2,160

$756

$432

$360

$324

Portland

$700

$400

$360

$360

2, 7, 8.

RSL

$900

$565

$565

???

2, 9.

San Jose

$2,300

$640

$320

$260

6.

Seattle

$689

$342.50

$342.50

$342.50

2, 10.

Kansas City

$660

$400

$380

$260

2.

Toronto

???

???

???

???

???

8, 11.

Vancouver

$1,900

$965

$320

$487

$487

Notes:

1. Youth Pricing Tiers available.
2. No Fieldside Seating.
3. Poor differentiation of seat classes due to sub-optimal facilities; Website lacking in comprehensive information; Fieldside and Supporter’s ticket information cannot be found.
4. New Stadium Pricing; Supporter’s Pricing on endline substantially lower than the Endline seats immediately adjacent.
5. Converted & Rounded from $CAD to $USD.
6. Only Endline seating available is Supporter’s Seating.
7. 2011 pricing still displayed.
8. Season Ticket waiting list in effect.
9. Supporter Section not displayed on map, pricing unavailable. RSL places a premium on the first couple rows of every section – those prices are what are displayed.
10. The Decimal Point has taken refuge in Seattle, where it is boldly flaunting its lifestyle. If you see it in public, hide yo’ kids and call the authorities.
11. Season ticket pricing not listed online. Bad Toronto.

What’s interesting to note is that pricing seems tied not to demographics or the perception of a city’s affluence (LA and NY withstanding) or their on-field performance, but to attendance figures – not in total number attending, rather, the percentage of stadium filled.  Dallas, Colorado, and Columbus play to relatively empty stadiums despite strong 2011 campaigns and tickets at firesale prices; a team like San Jose, on the other hand, whose stadium capacity is a paltry 10,000 and who missed the playoffs this year, has a pricing scheme resembling 35,000-strong Seattle, thanks to a seat occupancy rate of 100%.

The only team that gets a pardon from this trend is D.C. where, despite on-field performance just-shy of a wildcard berth, every seat in the house is a bad seat and must be priced accordingly. It wouldn’t surprise me if the stadium – not the on-field product – is what helps keep fans away. (Seriously guys: work out your home situation.  Your fans deserve so much better.)

What do you think of your team’s pricing? Do you feel your team’s season ticket holders are getting their dollar’s worth, both in the seat and on the field?  Do any other teams’ fans pay too much for what they are getting – or too little?  Share your thoughts below.

[UPDATE: (1/23/12) Portland Timbers SG seats corrected from $400 to $360. Thank late-night composition and an insane 13-teir pricing structure for the mistake. -gr80]

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Posted on 01/23/2012, in MLS and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. As a Houston supporter, I found it surprising that what I’ve become accustomed to paying is actually one of the highest rates in the league (going by 2011 numbers, even). We’re going into a new stadium higher than RBNY, comparative to RSL, and edging toward’s LA’s numbers for corner and endline seats. All this despite having a poor 2011 season and virtually no huge-name star power.

    As for DC, it’s a poor situation, but rest assured they’re trying to do better by their fans. Unfortunately, they’re absolutely restrained by a political deadlock, unable to realistically re-negotiate RFK (for much longer, anyway) and unable to move out in the DC area. Really feel for them.

  2. That should say poor 2010 season, btw. Couldn’t really ask for more (well, other than the cup) from 2011.

  3. Red Bulls now have fieldside seating, but you have to call a sales rep for pricing.

  4. Cap'n Chris

    TA tix are only $360, n00b.

    • Easy there, pal. There is absolutely zero justification for the name-calling.

      An honest mistake was made – helped by an unnecessary 13-tier pricing structure – and an honest mistake has been corrected. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

  1. Pingback: Friday Happy Hour: Best of the Week « gay4soccer

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