We neglected to comment on a story from last weekend about RSL’s Rio Tinto attendance and its impact on revnue. According to this story from the SL Trib, attendance in Salt Lake City is down this year, but revenue is way up. Despite the lowest attendance in Team history, revenues are up more than 25%, a clear indicator of the importance of controlling your own stadium. While the weather has been miserable in RSL this year, the Team is still bringing in the money thanks to controlled revenue streams and the absence of rent payments.
Just as interesting, was the discussion of the dreaded free ticket. According to the article, RSL is giving away about 1k seats this year as compared to 3-5k in past seasons. The great debate about the value of handing out free seats. Does it create interest? Does it devalue the seats so that people expect free seats and won’t pay for the privilege of coming to the stadium? The Team seems to believe it is in a good place, but only summer attendance will tell. The last two games (including the tie on Saturday) were sell-outs, so for now things seem to be moving in the right direction (special thanks to a certain American Idol runner-up)
For the rest of the League, attendance was something of a mixed bag. Toronto brought the usual sell-out. For all of the numbers, check here. It was a strange slate of games for MLS this week, with a Thursday, Friday and two Sunday games. True to form, these games were not well attended with only Chicago breaking the 13k barrier. Most distressing was Dallas, were less than 6k announced were in attendance at Pizza Hut Park. We have addressed the Dallas problems repeatedly, so we won’t do it again today. Suffice to say, things are getting bad fast.