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Rolling Back in Toronto

The big business story coming out yesterday was the announcement that the perennially disappointing Toronto FC soccer team would roll back its season ticket prices to 2007 levels.  2007 was the team’s inaugural season and the team has yet to pull off a winning season.  Until this season, the team’s season ticket base has been resilient, but the persistent losing finally took a toll on ticket sales in 2012.  Fans stopped showing up and the team’s on the field struggles continued.  The failures on the field weren’t reflected in the team’s ticket prices, which regularly sat atop the league’s price schedule.

Coming in the midst of another disappointing season and on the heels of Canada’s massive failure in World Cup qualifying, the TFC ticket announcement seems to be a wise move by the franchise.  Despite a willingness to spend money on talent, the team has been a front office mess and a perennial disappointment.  Per Tom Anselmi (and courtesy of The Globe and Mail), president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, “this is really trying to recognize their support, their loyalty. They’ve done their job and we haven’t done ours. And we’ve got to get it right.” “Anselmi said 90 per cent of the season ticket holders will get a 20 per cent rollback and 40 per cent will see a 45 per cent reduction. For stadium seating at BMO Field, the top season ticket price will drop to $1,007 in 2013 from $1,292 this year. The lowest price for a season ticket will be $190, compared to $361 in 2012.”

The team has just under 16k season ticket holders which also puts it near the top of the league.  For the first few years, the team was a remarkable success story off the field and the struggles on the pitch seemed secondary.  Now the perpetual losing has taking its toll off the field and this gesture is certainly a move in the right direction towards rewarding a fan base that has continued to attend games at BMO Field.