Whitecaps Away Fans Ticketing Furore Has Implications For ALL MLS Supporters
So who had ‘away tickets’ in the “What will be the next ticketing fuck up by the Whitecaps front office sweepstakes”?
You know, we really thought that now that the season had started and there was a new Manager of Ticket Operations at the Vancouver helm, things would quieten down on the ticketing front.
It’s funny because the new manager is Danielle Gorgerat and at the moment, a number of Whitecaps fans certainly feel that they’ve been gorged by rats.
As regular readers will know, we’ve brought you various stories of fuck up, after fuck up when it came to tickets. There’s too many to even begin linking here. Just search the blog.
It’s probably been as draining for you guys to read as it has been for me to write. And now there’s more. Guess we couldn’t be given much time to bask in the happiness of Saturday. Sigh.
If you haven’t been following the latest developments, where have you been?! To bring everyone quickly up to speed though…
In December the three main supporters groups for Cascadia Clubs (Vancouver’s Southsiders, Seattle’s ECS and Portland’s Timbers Army) fought tooth and nail to get a fair allocation of tickets for away supporters at the Cascadia Cup games this year and hopefully beyond.
The initial allocations were going to be the League minimum of 150, but after lengthy and, at times, quite heated negotiations, this was increased to 500. Not ideal but still excellent at the same time.
The Clubs, Supporters Groups and, importantly, Major League Soccer were happy with the outcome and they released a press release stating:
“Major League Soccer has approved a plan for the supporters groups from the Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC to purchase up to 500 tickets for away matches against their Cascadia rivals in 2011”.
In Seattle and Portland, supporters groups there got all the tickets. In Vancouver, the Southsiders got none and instead the entire allocation was given to a Whitecaps corporate sponsor, Uniglobe to sell at higher that face value prices for single tickets and expensive bus packages.
Prost Amerika broke the story yesterday and a follow up piece today saw a Caps spokesman declare that they are defining “supporters groups” as all season ticket holders.
This statement, along with further revelations from myself on the matter, has caused anger and outrage, not just from Whitecaps fans but also from fans of Seattle and Portland.
Neither Seattle or Portland front offices will be happy with the situation either. They provided the tickets in good faith and will not want to see another Club or business making money on their tickets when, frankly, they could do that themselves.
Some will say, why should the Whitecaps give the Southsiders all of the tickets? Putting aside the terms of the agreement, if it wasn’t for the Southsiders fighting for increased allocation, then all of the fans would be fighting over just 150 tickets. Everyone should remember that.
The Southsiders have never asked to get all 500 of the tickets. They could have asked for the extra 350 and left the original 150 for other fans. They didn’t even do that. All they are wanting is 275 tickets to run 5 Southsiders buses (at a greatly reduced price than Uniglobe incidentally).
I’m also sure that non Southsiders and families will not be wanting to go down on buses packed with chanting Southsiders disrupting their peace and quiet.
This issue does not just affect Vancouver fans, but ALL fans of Major League Soccer.
If the Whitecaps are allowed to get away with this then letting corporate companies handle away tickets for many clubs could become the norm and it’s the fans that will be left to pay the price. Or not.
A number of fans have contacted AFTN and told us that they will not be buying tickets of Uniglobe. Instead they are going to be going down to Seattle and buying tickets for wherever in the stadium off scalpers.
A recipe for trouble, as fans will be interspersed with the Seattle support thoughout the stadium and there will be no record of who has made the ticket purchases.
This is the exact scenario which terrified some in the Sounders organization and Don Garber.
It’s important we let both of them know that this not only stinks, but could now be a huge powderkeg situation on matchday and goes against everything that was discussed to get these ticket released.
Fans will travel without tickets and buy off scalpers, no matter who tells them not to.
You can email Don Garber at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact him directly on Twitter at @thesoccerdon.
For the Sounders, the best person to express your concerns and outrage to is Bart Wiley who is their Director of Business Development. You can email him at BartW@soundersfc.com.
Please remember to keep your messages and email civil and to the point. This is not their doing but they need to know all of the consequences of what is happening.
We also need to step up the campaign on Twitter. For any tweets discussing this, please make sure you tag it #whitecashfc. We really wanted #Whitecap$ but couldn’t have the damn dollar sign as a hashtag!
As it stands just now, the Whitecaps appear to be have been completely unexpecting this reaction, with the Metro’s ALL CAPS blog reporting that the Caps “insist they meant no disrespect to the Southsiders”.
They may not have meant it, but that’s what’s happened and if the reaction has caught them by surprise then I think there you have half the problem.
What twists tomorrow will bring, we can only wait and see, but I think Seattle Sounders are going to have a big part to play in what happens next.
Why must this front office make things so difficult? Even if they'd informed the Southsiders before “announcing” it in the game-day programme… this is another unnecessary slap in the face.
If you want to voice concern to the Timbers, contact ticketing director Chris Wilson: email@example.com
“…they are defining “supporters groups” as all season ticket holders.”
That is perhaps the single most asinine rationalization I have heard, at least outside of politics.
275 tickets out of 500 seems quite reasonable, especially considering that Portland and Seattle's recognized supporters groups (and I'm using the traditional definition of “supporters groups,” not Roberto's) got the ENTIRE 500.