Now Where Did I Put My ‘Panic Button’ …?By: David | May 11th, 2009
There’s an old joke that California — unlike the rest of the nation — has two seasons: the Rainy Season and the Fire Season.
For the FCGP, the Golden State’s weather rained out last week’s attendance for the match-up with Sky Blue FC… seriously, it was raining versus the blue sky team … talk about truth in advertising! badam-bump!
The core of the problem is that the economy sucks. In a letter late last week, the team’s General manager admitted as much:
Dear Pride Season Ticket Holder,
As the Inaugural season is underway, and we move on to our May 24th game, FC Gold Pride has embarked on making several changes to our ticket pricing and stadium configuration. As a business, we cannot ignore the state of the national and local economy and recognize that we are all making decisions on where to spend our entertainment dollars. The Pride does not want the price of a ticket to be the barrier that keeps fans from experiencing Women’s Professional Soccer.
In order to try to reach more soccer fans, our overall average ticket price is being reduced by 25%. In addition, several sections in the stands will be closed. We will change the stadium from a 10,500 seat facility to a 5,680 seat facility. This number is not only more in line with our business plan, but will also allow us to create a more intimate environment. Our hope is to create a real home field advantage where our players will be able to feel, and feed off of the energy of our fans. …
See you in the Stands, Ilisa Kessler, General Manager [Editor: Pretty Please!?]
At least the team is being honest. The more svelte version of the stadium map even admits that the old sections still exist. Although you can’t sit in them anymore. The SF Weekly’s Snitch political blog even congratulates the team on its forthrightness:
With unusual forthrightness — in the sporting world it’s still de rigeur to claim you resigned to spend more time with your family after leading the team to a 1-15 season — the announcement from Gold Pride general manager Ilisa Kessler admitted they were charging too damn much for tickets. …
Before it takes them to task on the section shaving thing:
So, the fact of the matter is, there were far more empty seats than filled ones — and, when you willingly forfeit the opportunity to sell thousands of seats and place a tarp over them, that speaks volumes — and not about how much you respect the intimacy of your fans’ experience. Teams — including the Oakland Athletics — tarp over large swaths of seats because, quite simply, they can’t sell them. The demand is not there. And row upon row and section upon section of empty seats are an open wound, a festering sore that gives everyone watching the games in person or on television the impression that this is a small-time, rinky-dink endeavor. That’s why you tarp over whole sections.
It’s hard not to see this as a bad thing. Unless you weren’t willing to pay to see the best soccer available live in this country, which apparently you were not. So now the team is practically giving tickets away.
Four Tickets — Four Brazilians — $49
I mean seriously, the LA Sol is coming to town for the next home game on May 24, and you’d think the three-time FIFA Player of the Year would be enough draw. Then again, it’ll be Memorial Day Weekend. And the game will be on national television.
So in addition to cutting prices and lopping whole sections off the map, the team is adding special promotions like crazy:
- Milking the aforementioned “Samba Queen” promo angle, with four endline tickets for $49, plus an on-field picture with a Brazilian player or four – Erika, Formiga, Adriane, and Marta scheduled to appear.
- Local High School sales tie-ins with the ‘Save Our Sports‘ ticket proceeds donations to San Jose’s East Side Union high School District. Frankly — aside from giving away the money they desperately need — the district has gotten more publicity out of its threat to cut sports than the Pride have gotten for playing sports.
- Each displaced Season Ticket holder was offered additional free season tickets to go with the ones they, um, paid for. Although between you and me, I worry about this one … I mean I want to be an ambassador for the team, but what happens if all of the extra seats they are saving for me are empty too?
- Did I mention the Samba Queens?
So officially, my own Season Ticket seats are no longer in “Section D” … a seat I personally chose because I wouldn’t have the glare from the setting sun in my eyes. Plus I figured I’d get to see the starting lineups better with the TV cameras at my back too.
Now you can find me in Section 104, holding my hand over my eyes and smiling for the cameras. Please join me. Pretty please.