Seattle Joins the Groupon Parade

In January we wrote about the spread of Groupon as a means for MLS franchises to sell tickets.  We also promised to keep track of efforts to sell tickets through Groupon in 2011.  One of our readers let us know that the vaunted Seattle Sounders marketing machine has joined the list of MLS teams selling tickets through the discount website. The team put 350 tickets for its Friday night game against Houston up on Groupon, with $37 tickets in the stadium corner on sale for $16. Given the remarkable success the team has had in selling tickets during its first two seasons, it seems surprising that the team has utilized Groupon and seemingly devalued its brand by discounting seats.  Yet 350 is not a huge number and the deal sold out very quickly.  We will keep checking to see if the Sounders keep using the site.

Seattle is not the only team using Groupon this season.  FC Dallas used the site to help pump its big crowd for the home opener.  The Galaxy sold more than 770 tickets to their home opener using the site.   Below, we reprise our earlier thoughts about Groupon and how MLS sides have used the site.

Last season, some MLS teams got in on the Groupon game.  The Galaxy offered half off ticket deals to their playoff games.  Purchasers were entitled to buy a VIP seat or a berm seat for either of the Galaxy’s home playoff games in 2010.  The deal was effective for the Galaxy, with 984 of the deals sold.   By way of comparison, the Galaxy also offered a Groupon deal for their July 4 game last year.  That deal offered tickets to the game and fireworks show for up to 61% off face value.  The team sold 109 of those deals.

The Galaxy weren’t the only team to try Groupon. RSL tried Groupon last year for the 7/31 match against DC United, and offered two tickets, a parking pass and two mini- back packs at a significantly reduced price.  The deal was purchased by 307 people.  The Revs offered a deep discount for fans for their September 4 match last year.  The package included a long sleeve shirt and a ticket for only $18.  The offer was also very successful, with the team selling more than 2,500 tickets through Groupon for that match. The Red Bulls tried Groupon in 2009.   173 people bought into the 42% discount. Chicago took a different tact this year, offering $400 season tickets for $150.  The deal sold out all 400 coupons that were available.