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Fact check

Here are some facts: The second-year Seattle Sounders did sell a record number of season tickets this season to the tune of about 32,000. That's impressive. Folks in Seattle must like soccer. Of course, Seattle takes pride for not being like the rest of the country, so... For comparison's sake, the most expensive season ticket package for the Sounders was $1,570 (or $1,360 for renewing season ticket holders) for 18 matches. The Sounders require a $50 deposit for 2011 season tickets. The top level season tickets for the Mariners ran $3,240 for 81 games and required a deposit of $500.

But the facts are not on your side in Philadelphia. The first-year Union sold out their season tickets (capped at 12,000), which topped out at $1,100 for the 17-match slate including 15 matches at their new, 18,500-seat stadium after the first two at the Philadelphia Eagles' Lincoln Financial Field. By comparison, three weeks before opening day, the Phillies had sold 28,500 full and partial season tickets and announced they would cap the total available to 28,750. At the time of the announcement, they had just two 17-game packages (comparable to the Union's full season plan) left. The Phillies had also sold more than three million tickets for the season by that point and have sold out every home game for almost a year. Last season their attendance was more than 100 percent of capacity in a stadium about 2.5 times the size of the Union's.

Due to its long season, baseball has never filled its stadiums with season ticket holders. Few people can make the time or financial commitment to full season tickets for baseball, especially in this day of partial season ticket plans that are far more convenient and affordable, and especially for a team like the Mariners that hasn't seen the postseason in nearly a decade. So your comparison on ticket sales is like comparing apples and Buicks.

I won't even address Toronto because the Blue Jays haven't had a strong following in more than a decade and it's Canada, not the USA. And that's like comparing, well... Canada and the USA. And I was talking about soccer in the USA.

In general MLS teams can probably hope to emulate basketball and hockey as far as season ticket sales as a percentage of overall sales, but over a much shorter (less than half) season. At best, the league can hope to emulate football, where many if not most teams have a waiting list (By the way, as of last fall, I am #20,308 on the Eagles season ticket waiting list), but on a much smaller scale. The Sounders play in the same stadium as the Seattle Seahawks (who have a season ticket waiting list), but at half the capacity. In a longer season, it's easier to fill fewer seats. That's why many baseball teams have opened new stadiums with fewer seats. The nicer facility combined with a decrease in the supply of tickets helps create greater demand. It's the same reason a team like the Union wants its own much smaller stadium instead of playing in the oversized home of the Eagles.

So again, I never said you shouldn't like soccer. You clearly don't like some sports that I do, and that's OK. I said I don't like it and that most Americans don't. And I didn't say soccer is easy. At the top levels it's certainly not. I said it looks easy, which hurts the American interest level. So far, you've not proven me wrong on either point.

As for being "scared of what's to come," I'm not sure what that means, unless the nation is going to be invaded by a horde of vuvazela-tooting soccer hooligans. But until that happens, I'm fairly confident that I'll still be in the majority on this one.


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