By Dan Groob
Special to 710Sports.com
As Clint Dempsey prepares to make his Sounders debut, much buzz has surrounded his surprising return to Major League Soccer.
One of the highest profile transfers in MLS history, perhaps only behind David Beckham, Dempsey’s impact on prices for Sounders tickets has been instantaneous. Prior to Dempsey’s debut, Sounders home tickets were selling on the secondary market at an average price of $47. Since Dempsey’s transfer from the EPL’s Tottenham Hotspur was announced on Aug. 3, the Sounders’ home average ticket price has since risen 23.4 percent to $58, which is no small increase in MLS circles.
With second place and eighth place in the Western Conference separated by just five points (Seattle sits in seventh with 31 points), the addition of Dempsey could have a major impact on how the playoff picture shakes out. Some of the most important games Dempsey will play in include the Aug. 25 matchup against Portland, Sept. 13 against Real Salt Lake, Oct. 9 against Vancouver, and Oct. 27 against Los Angeles. All four of those teams currently sit ahead of Seattle in the standings, but in most cases, a win in the head-to-head matchup would elevate the Sounders above the team they defeat given today’s point totals.
The most expensive game – and the one that’s seen the largest average price increase since Dempsey’s transfer – is that Aug. 25 game against Portland. With this being Dempsey’s debut at home against Portland, the average ticket prices for this game have risen a whopping 52 percent in the past week and currently checks in at $90 – by far the most expensive game of the season.
The Sept. 4 game against Chivas USA has also seen a pretty significant jump. With Chivas USA sitting in last place in the Western Conference, the team is no big draw in and of itself. The 17 percent price increase to an average ticket price of $46 since Aug. 3 exemplifies the ticket selling power of Dempsey’s return to the MLS.
Prices and trends for all upcoming Sounders home games:
• Aug. 25 vs. Portland: $90 average price, $35 get-in price, plus-52 percent price trend.
• Sept. 4 vs. Chivas USA: $46 average price, $15 get-in price, plus-17 percent price trend.
• Sept. 7 vs. Chicago: $54 average price, $20 get-in price, plus-12 percent price trend.
• Sept. 13 vs. Real Salt Lake: $52 average price, $17 get-in price, plus-12 percent price trend.
• Sept. 29 vs. New York: $52 average price, $17 get-in price, plus-7 percent price trend.
• Oct. 9 vs. Vancouver: $52 average price | $14 get-in price, plus-5 percent price trend.
• Oct. 27 vs. Los Angeles: $59 average price, $23 get-in price, plus-8 percent price trend.
Dan Groob writes for TiqIQ.com, which offers pricing data and deals on tickets for sports, music, comedy and theater events.