Friday, May 16, 2008

Our Needs

It's been too long, but time for another post. The US Open Cup is upon us, and surprisingly, the Wizards will get to host either LA or Colorado in their qualifier on June 4th. For season ticket holders they can use their Special Game A ticket. For people that want to buy tickets, it's $20.

$20? For a US Open Cup game? The US Open Cup has been a tournament that has been notoriously undervalued by MLS sides, as they normally throw reserve teams out until the semifinals or finals. And in fact, we aren't even talking about the real Open Cup, we're only talking about qualifiers to get into the Open Cup. $20 to watch the Wizards play at a high school stadium with permanent football lines on it. Talk about trying to get a hung bang for your buck, how many people who aren't season ticket holders are going to drop $20 on a game that will likely be mostly reserves. In the past these games have been $5-$10. A double to quadruple increase in ticket prices from years past for US Open Cup games. What has changed so drastically that they can justify having fans pay that to go to a game? You can get cheaper tickets at Wizards league games then you can for this game.

The Wizards front office better be hoping and praying that LA beats Colorado so that they can play up the Beckham possiblity. He won't be there though if they get through. As has been pointed out on bigsoccer, England plays Trinidad and Tobago in Trinidad 3 days before the match, and they play the US 3 days before that. Beckham's been called into camp for the matches. The Wizards won't care though, they'll still advertise Beckham possibly being there. In the end when he doesn't show up, they'll alienate a few more possible fans who were led to believe Beckham was going to be there.

As for season ticket holders and their Special Game A ticket. How does this justify a “special game”. In the past when special game tickets have been used for US Open Cup games, there has been some kind of deal involved with it, usually a 2 for 1 type of deal where your ticket got you and someone else into the game that night. But that's ok they'll say, we're still waiting for that international friendly tournament we've heard about this offseason. I just can't contain my excitement waiting for that announcement (end sarcasm).

The front office is already spinning this site towards the positive, saying it best fits “our needs.” This is the same kind of talk we heard when CAB was announced as the temporary site, and there has only been 1 sell out at the stadium, only ONE game over 10,000 in a stadium that seats just over that amount. That doesn't sound like a site that fits all “our needs”. The site has really poor site lines for much of the paying customers, and the team has already realized that by making the part behind home plate GA along with the berm, because those seats were ALWAYS empty in the 4 games so far this season.

Forgive me for not being overly excited about spending $20 or my Special Game A ticket to watch a QUALIFER for the US Open Cup. The Wizards front office have shot themselves in the foot again and are overestimating their fan base's willingness to pay $20 for what will amount to a reserve game for the most part. As I said though, it won't be advertised as such. Should LA win it will be advertised as “Come see David Beckham on a high school field” cue my rolling eyes.

As always, this has been
Baine's Right Leg.


Anonymous said...

If you don't want to pay $20, then don't go. I don't think anyone is forcing you to attend.

Mike said...

No he's not being forced, but I think he's saying that the fact that the game is $20 is going to turn people off, when in the past USOC games have been quite a bit less.

Anonymous said...

It sounds to me as if there there won't be very many seats available at SMN beyond season ticket holders. Fewer seats + equal or greater demand = higher price. Pretty much Econ101 there. I won't know until I see the game turnout whether this was over optimistic or not.

Also, since you are quoting Big Soccer, you might bother to quote the post where they said they are operating on the assumption that Becks will NOT be there. If that is the case I very much doubt they will advertise the possibility, especially given last year's disappointment. I have to believe they are aware that advertising such a thing for this one would be akin to "crying wolf", probably resulting in disastrous turnout for the league game. As it is, they will see dramatically lower advance sales as potential buyers wait to make sure Becks will actually be able to play this time.

Anonymous said...

Baine's post was posted BEFORE that comment about Beckham was made on BS.

Anonymous said...

Hey Right Leg!
Welcome back to the blogosphere! Unfortunately I see you have lost none of your consipratorial, bitter, worst case approach to our club.

Having just read your rant, I mean post, after the fact, it's funny to see how wrong you were about this game.

*Except for Hartman our starters played, hell even Lopez went the full 120 min, ON FIELD TURF NO LESS,
**Good crowd...even saw walk up lines at the ticket office,
***cheap food at the concessions (although not enough stands) with discounts at the game went on, helped to offest higher ticket pricing. and loved the smoothies...nice touch on a humid summer evening.

Now I agree that $20 is a bit of a jolt from previous USOC games, but that was a walk up price, your season ticket price was probably lower than that (please tell me you ARE a season ticket holder?)

No debating that the old pricing policies of the Hunts were indeed low, low, low, but come on, $5 for any event that has an MLS team is, and will always be, a f'ing joke and an embarrassment to the sport. And most importantly, IT DID NOTHING TO GROW THE SPORT -- IT SIMPLY TOLD THE PUBLIC THAT EVEN THE OWNERS DID NOT VALUE THEIR OWN PRODUCT. So no wonder they could fit into little joke stadiums like Blue Valley...

At least OnGoal seems to realize this and is working in the real word in terms trying to get people to value their product.

This much we know: Gimmicks like the zard card and $5 pricing do nothing to grow a fanbase. And in the end do nothing to create stability for the club and league.

Feel free to disagree but I prefer our team is run by people who know something about business so we can get a home of our own, grow our fan base and never, ever worry again about losing our beloved KCW.

just my 2 cents worth...


Anonymous said...

KCBoy, then how about paying $20 to see the KC Wizards reserves take on Atlas? Which is what you'll get if you're not a season ticket holder. If you are a season ticket holder, it's still $16.62(Cauldron season ticket), which is about $16 more then I'd pay for a reserve game.

And it will be the reserves, as the first team plays NYRB the night before. Maybe a token appearance by a first team player or two, but it will be reserves.

Baines Breath said...


Giving free tickets to any Shawnee Mission High School student is not doing much for the sport. I would like to also point out that giving free tickets to non-sponsoring companies in the Kansas City community is doing nothing but padding the attendance. These "gimmicks" did not result in a full high school football stadium. So was this a smart buisness "gimmick"?

When we had the Zard Card "Gimmick" the Wizards were making 5 bucks. Giving tickets away got them nothing. AND THAT IS NOT GOOD ECONOMICS WHEN IT COMES TO BUISNESS.

Baine's Breath

Anonymous said...


Good point at first blush. However let's look deeper at it. Don't know if you have noticed but the biggest growth in the Cauldron over the past year plus has come from HS aged kids, both boys and girls.

SO...let's see here, you have a chance to reach a targeted demographic - which has already shown promise to become permanent fans - with a special offer on a one time basis to sample your product. Doesn't that make good business sense to give them a free sample? Red Bull (the drink) and hundreds of other products that target the young demo use that same tactic to try to get them to become familiar and adopt thier product.

The name of the game is trying to achieve the lowest possible cost of customer acquisition. And at $0any company would kill to achieve that. Free tickets to HS sutdents as a year long tactic would be different, this was a one time deal. As a result, I'm good with it.

As for the Z card, we've all read over and over on the boards and blogs about people who were already fans who fessed up to using the Z card. That's different becuase it was a year long (and longer) pormotion so the Hunts were actually losing money as "converted fans" could and did continue to take advantage of the discount instead of graduating into paying full price.

As for free tickets to non-sponsoring companies, sorry I don't know about that. Please tell us more.

Finally, yes anon, I am a season ticket holder. And if I decide not to go see Atlas I will simply exchange that ticket and bring a friend to another game. But I'm actually excited about going to an international game's been far too long. And besides, whoever starts can't look any worse than what we saw yesterday. Pretty sure we will see Ivan and Eloy going full out...and that's always exciting.

Thanks for the good debate.