Expansion Update: Vancouver 2011

bc-placeWith all the tumolt surrounding Portland’s 2011 expansion effort, its cousin in MLS expansion, Vancouver, has quietly slid under the radar.  With opening kick for Vancouver just 86 weeks away, thinks are quietly moving towards a successful opening.   Vancouver is well set up for success.  The ownership group seems solid.  Billionaire Greg  Kerfoot has long been a friend of soccer and Steve Nash adds glamor and splash to the ownership.  The Whitecaps have done well at the gate and the market is hungry for higher level soccer.   BC Place is well situated and funding is in place for a substantial renovation (well over $200 million U.S.) that will add a retractable roof.  Soccer capacity will be limited to 20k.

The team has set-up a slick website, that is unfortunately updated infrequently.  The site contains links to BC Place renovations, and a brief discussion of the hoped for waterfront stadium.   There were reports soon after the announcement of the franchise that more than 5k season ticket deposits had been received.

In the three months since the franchise was awarded, it has been very quiet in Vancouver.  However, with almost two years until Vancouver first kicks off in MLS, that is probably a good thing.  Portland’s bid has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, while stadium renovations in Vancouver are continuing without dispute.  Promoting a team that won’t play a game for two years is a delicate balance.  The Sounders did an outstanding job of building momentum up to their 2009 debut and avoided peaking too early.  Vancouver can quitely promote their MLS squad through the current Whitecaps, while quietly putting together the support system necessary to maintain and succeed in MLS.  We will continue to monitor developments in Vancouver.

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4 Responses

  1. I think Vancouver should look past 20,000 and make a ticket push to open the entire stadium. They have enough time to do so

  2. That would be a pretty bold initiative. I think that Seattle has made a great case for enforced ticket scarcity. 20k a game in Vancouver would be impressive.

  3. Interesting post and great blog. (stumbled upon it today) Having attended MLS games only in Gillette and Giants Stadium (other than last year’s final in DC), the thought of making firm plans for a soccer-specific-stadium part of any new team bid seemed appealing . . . Vancouver’s 20K limit is less worrying to me than the atmosphere created (or missing) in a large stadium. (Any Gillette game day as proof point.) However, Seattle seems to have found a wonderful balance, and I hope that Vancouver can as well.

  4. bmadaio: I agree. I have yet to attend a game in a soccer specific stadium and agree that atmosphere (and ticket scarcity) are important. Seattle has managed to strike a nice balance, but I think they are the exception.

    20k is nothing to laugh at. If Vancouver can pull anywhere near that number, the franchise will be a ticket selling success.

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