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Sandroid in Mtl
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Northzax, I agree with you. Saputo & Gillett realized that paying 40 M$ US makes no economic sense, unless they want to alienate their fan base with corporate-level pricing. But get your facts straight. Season tickets at Saputo stadium start at $1525, then $1225, $790, $490. All these are already sold out. At $390, it is a section for which season ticket are still available. Note that this pricing is to attend USL games. MLS pricing would probably be a little more expensive. I had an interesting chat with the Impact director of sales last night before the game. The Impact pricing strategy is to make a game affordable for a family outing. That’s why they sell nearly half the stadium at a low fare. This is not much different from baseball game bleachers and ballpark access tickets. Empty seats are not just season ticket holder not showing up nor free handouts. It is lower priced tickets holders that often don’t show up when the weather is uncertain – they choose to lose $10 or $20 rather than spending 2 hours under the rain. This is an issue the Impact recognizes. Tickets are NOT given out to fill the stands. At the Big O, there were only 300 tickets at $50 because these were VIP tickets giving access to a room for a pregame cocktail that had a capacity limit. They would have easily sold thousands had they could. Saputo stadium offers more corporate packages that cost much more than $50 per seat. This is a trade off for moving the game to a temporary venue. Also, the first 10,000 tickets for the CL game were sold in less than 2 days – mostly tickets at $50, $35 and $30. I fail to understand why some people put so much effort to lessen the Impact success with false information. So what if Joey Saputo is playing hard ball with the MLS. Why shouldn’t he? He has good cards in his hands to negotiate and the economic environment seems to strengthen his position every day. This is a big boy’s game!
A few facts and observations about the turnout at the Big O - I was there. Tickets ranged from $10 to $50. About 50 % of all seats were $10. Balcony sections in the stadium are not very popular but account for about 40 % of stadium capacity. You couldn't price them much higher. According to Joey Saputo, this brings the average ticket price to $15-$16 - times 55,571. Add food, drinks, souvenirs... It sums up to be a pretty lucrative game. Typical week night games do not draw youth soccer clubs. I saw hard core fans, a lot soccer moms and dads with their teens, scattered Mexican fans, but no noticeable groups. In fact, most Latin Americans I saw in the crowd were Impact fans. Many people were attending their first Impact game. Most amazingly, marketing wasn't that effective as hockey draws most media attention in winter time. Montreal is arguably the Mecca of Hockey, yet there are more registered amateur soccer players than hockey players in the Province of Quebec. The Impact management was clever enough to tap in that latent market and, quite frankly, was surprised by its own success. 55,571 is an all time CONCACAF Champion League record. The 2007 U20 World Cup games at the Big O drew crowds of 55,800 and 46,252 (third-highest attendance in history for a quarter-final). The Olympic Stadium attendance record for a pro soccer game is 58,542 - Montreal Manic vs. Chicago Sting in the NASL 1/2 finals on Sept. 2, 1981. As for Saputo stadium, its capacity is 13034. Average attendance at Impact games was 12,696 in 2008 regular season (1st in USL-1), 10,453 in the 4 previous Champion League games (2nd in CONCACAF CL 2008). Not bad considering 2 games were played under the rain at below 45 F temperatures. Montreal MLS Bid was 45 M$ CAN, including cost of stadium expansion to 20,000 seats, estimated at 15 M$ CAN. Leaving about 25 M$ US for expansion fees. I hope this answers most questions in this tread. == FYI. The Impact coach announced in an interview this morning that the Impact will play the Dynamo in Houston this Saturday in preparation for their respective second leg games in Mexico.