TFC Moving The Tickets
As of Tuesday January 11th it looks like the Supporters Section for the Champions League match in March at the Rogers Centre is pretty well sold out. Here is the latest word emailed to season seat holders by Toronto FC on Wednesday afternoon:
…So far our Season Seat Holders have purchased all all of the RED sections, the upper level GREENS, & the entire Supporters Section. Season Seat Holders alone have filled 55% of the lower bowl & 35% of the entire Rogers Centre!…
In association with the various TFC Supporters groups the club provided access to some specific sections of the stadium to club members in advance concurrently with season seat holders, who were given the first chance to buy the seats starting on Monday past. I bought nine seats for myself and friends. Many supporters I know personally have bought seats in similar numbers as I have. I know of a few others that have purchased upwards of 40-50 seats each with the intention of getting those tickets into the hands of true supporters or using them to evangelize for the club and for the product that is MLS Soccer.
Taking a look at the numbers above from TFC where they assert that season seat holders have bought 35% of the seats available and assuming that they are shooting for 50,000 fans on March 7th means that their core customer base of roughly 16,000 season seat holders have purchased roughly 17,500 tickets. And with anecdotal evidence telling us that many season seat holders bought multiples it might be fair to say that perhaps the core Champions League audience that saw TFC draw roughly 11,000 per group stage match last year are probably the bulk of the customers to date.
Having this much relative demand early on is of course a good thing and one can only hope that this demand creates that sense of “event” in Toronto that will drive more fans to get out and buy more seats once the general sales window opens up later this week. And it’s incumbent on the Front Office to not rest on its laurels and to then start the push to get the general public interested in the game. To their credit the pricing I think is just about right to get a crowd of over 40,000 if they handle this in the correct way.
The cynics among us might also surmise that scalpers could very well have bought up a ton of these seats that have already been sold for this event already. As we all know there are significant numbers of scalpers that hold TFC season seats and the way the Front Office set up the purchasing through Ticketmaster there was literally nothing stopping anybody purchasing hundreds of seats if they wanted to. Perhaps this might be a partial explanation as to why most if not all of the most inexpensive and at the same time most expensive seats at Rogers Centre are already sold days before the doors are thrown open to the general public.
A quick look on Craigslist and Kijiji today did not show any seats showing up but that might change after the general public purchasing window opens up on Friday. Online scalper/broker site “Toronto Ticket Brokers” are already selling section 109 seats for anywhere from $97 to $122 each in blocks of five, which were the most expensive seats purchased for $59 in the season seat holder pre-sale. That of course means that scalpers were as busy as many supporters were this week getting online and securing these choice ducats.
As I have preached time and again in this space scalpers are scum who make it harder over the long run for average fans to afford tickets. They create an artificial demand that allows a club like TFC to raise prices over the long run at a faster rate than what it probably would if they did not exist. And unfortunately they will once again be rearing their greasy heads in March.
Scalping is not a victimless crime people. WE ARE THE VICTIMS!
Since the club has apparently always been okay with a level scalping activity when it suits their needs it comes down to us to try and get them to go away. The only way for us to do it is for us to get online today and to buy seats ourselves that you as fans will get into the hands of other fans AT COST! One of the things that I love about the supporters group culture surrounding TFC is their collective will to often help one another secure tickets for TFC games that are always distributed to fellow fans at or even below cost.
I urge you all in the remaining days before the general public is let in to start scooping up more seats and keep them out of the wrong hands! Lets all do our collective best to keep the scum scalpers as much out of the mix on March 7th as we can.