Tickets to MLS games continue to go up in cost, but one group is working to fight against the excessive ticket prices. The Independent Supporters Council, or ISC, is a group that promotes, protects, and teaches about the fan culture of soccer in the United States. Over the past year, the group has been lobbying directly to Major League Soccer to help keep ticket prices affordable. This applies to home games and, crucially, away games for supporters.
Bailey Brown, the President of the ISC, said the ISC is avidly against the rise in ticket prices for soccer games in the United States and Canada. Brown says the ISC is imploring MLS to add a cap on away ticket prices. In other words, clubs can only charge visiting fans so much when the team they support is on the road. This is something that happens in European soccer. The ISC has received help from a similar group in Europe, Football Supporters Europe.
This has yielded success in Major League Soccer. The ISC has a monthly meeting with MLS where it provides data to the league showing the cost of away tickets and their relative growth. Notably, the ISC does not have this with US Soccer. Currently, MLS clubs don’t have caps on away ticket prices, but ISC is advocating for this.
“We do not have [open dialogue] with U.S. Soccer,” Brown wrote via email. “This, obviously, affects our ability to advocate for matches in the U.S. Open Cup. However, we are open to working with them on these issues and hope that if we can secure pricing caps at league levels, it will set a precedent for inter-league play, as well.”
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MLS clubs suffering from excessive ticket prices
Inter Miami has been a driving force behind this rage over rising ticket prices. The club is playing in the US Open Cup Final on Wednesday, and ticket prices are expensive. Inter Miami is distributing tickets where the cheapest available option is $250 as of press time. Inter Miami has partnered with Ticketmaster to offer dynamic pricing, where ticket prices increase based on demand. Some tickets sold by clubs have been listed for $350 or more for games involving Inter Miami.
As a result, from discussions with many soccer fans in the United States, we’ve learned that MLS clubs have priced many loyal soccer fans out of attending games. The league’s clubs are trying to generate massive amounts of ticket revenue in the short term. What we’re hearing from many is that the league is losing a lot of fans who have been supporting their teams for a long time.
ISC’s work may have an impact on those ticket prices to MLS games. It is constantly in communication with the league to keep tickets in check so more people can attend. However, Brown hopes there can be more of a shift to help those fans wanting to attend games.
“At this time, we are hopeful that our collective work is going to pay off and that we will start to see movement on this issue.”
Brown said that the ISC is working on other initiatives too to help soccer fans. “We have started this year [initiatives] such as the Pride Project and our Annual Front Office Ratings,” he explained. “While the Pride Project showcases the Pride-inclusive events our members have hosted or participated in, the Annual Front Office Ratings will allow our members to give quantitative and qualitative feedback to their own clubs to create dialogue and change where needed while also acknowledging the positive work done throughout the season.
“These initiatives are on top of our normal communication and work for our members with their leagues and with one another. We are in constant contact with Major League Soccer, the National Women’s Soccer League, and the United Soccer League so that we may serve as a collective voice on issues that impact supporters in their leagues such as defining a recognized supporter group, security issues, allowed away travel items, and more.”
More information about the Independent Supporters Council can be found on Twitter and Instagram (@ISCSupporters).
PHOTO: IMAGO / Gonzales Photo
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