By Dan Groob
Special to 710Sports.com
With the MLS season only a couple weeks away, excitement for soccer is brewing once again in The Emerald City.
The Seattle Sounders have been one of the most successful teams in soccer since their inaugural season, having qualified for the MLS Playoffs in each season of their existence. Fans in Seattle have taken notice, and flock to CenturyLink Field for Sounders games with the same level enthusiasm that they display for the Seahawks. According to TiqIQ, Sounders tickets currently carry an average price of $58 dollars on the secondary market for this season. This is up only 1 percent over last year’s average price of $57 dollars, and 8 percent below the MLS league average of $63 dollars, but with the Sounders holding the top attendance numbers in the league (43,144 per game in 2012) the dollars generated per game are by far the highest in MLS. However, prices only tell half the story for the Sounders.
From inauguration, ownership has seen it fit for the Sounders to cut ticket prices in favor of quantity, and consistently offer fan-friendly promotions in an effort to foster and grow a legitimate fan base that takes American soccer seriously. These efforts have worked. Much like for the Seahawks, CenturyLink Field has been packed for Sounders games. In fact, the Sounders are so popular in Seattle that they have sold out every single home game since their inception, while also setting various MLS attendance records and leading the league in season ticket sales. It’s not all that difficult to argue that Seattle fans are more excited for soccer this season than they are for another year of mediocre Mariners baseball.
Still, the Sounders have quite a ways to go before catching the Seahawks or Mariners in average ticket price in what is somewhat secretly one of the best sports cities in America (would Seattle have it any other way?).
Seahawks tickets are among the most expensive in football, checking in at an average price of $293 dollars on the secondary market last season. Mariners tickets are substantially cheaper, but still carry a significant price tag for a team that is not expected to contend this season, at an average of $75 dollars. Both the Seahawks and Mariners carry passionate fan bases that drive up ticket prices, but the Sounders aren’t far behind in the fan dedication department.
Really, the Sounders’ relatively cheaper average ticket price of $58 dollars this year is a just reflection of management’s commitment to keep prices down and generate excitement — and it’s working.
When you juxtapose these average ticket price figures and their surrounding parameters, it may not even be that Sounders have catching up to do relative to Seattle’s other teams. Instead, they might just be the best bargain and most fun in Seattle.
Dan Groob writes for TiqIQ.com, which offers pricing data and deals on tickets for sports, music, comedy and theater events.