The trend is becoming more common with MLS clubs as they seem to be trying to take advantage of the popularity of Premier League sides in North America. Toronto FC, for example, are doing the same when Aston Villa visits in July. So too is the LA Galaxy for the visit of Chelsea, and even supposed fan-friendly Columbus Crew is up to the same tricks for the visit of Villa.
I understand where those MLS clubs are coming from, but why not offer the flexibility to allow fans to decide which matches they want to go to? If they enjoy the friendly against the English side, chances are they may come back to see the MLS side play.
Of course, the reality is that these friendlies are meaningless games where the English sides usually play lots of second-string players and make plenty of substitutions.
For example, you can purchase a ticket to watch Real Salt Lake play DC United tomorrow night (June 22) for as little as $17, which will get you a seat in the North Goal Bleachers section. The most expensive ticket is $40 for a chair in the West Side section.
However, if you visit the Real Salt Lake ticket centre online, there’s no option to buy a single ticket to the Everton match. Instead if you want to see the Toffees, you’re forced to buy a pack which includes a ticket to the Everton friendly, the Boca Juniors friendly and one of three regular season MLS matches. The cheapest ticket for this pack is $55 with prices as high as $150 for the better seats.
That’s very affordable for three separate matches and, sure, Boca Juniors and Everton are quality sides, but what if you’re only able to see one match? What if you’re not from Salt Lake and you want to fly into Salt Lake City to watch the one match?
Major League Soccer clubs are doing a disservice to the fans by employing these inflexible ticket offers. I understand the marketing behind it and why the MLS clubs feel they should “herd the cattle” to three games instead of one, but first impressions are everything. Give me a sour taste in my mouth when I try to buy one ticket, which I can’t do, to see Everton play and chances are you’ve already lost the trust of admiration of that consumer.