MLS Cup: The Secondary Market

timbers ticketsIt is no secret that attendance in Major League Soccer has been outstanding over the last few years.  Smaller stadiums have meant packed houses, great environments and increased buzz.  Yet MLS fans are rarely forced to the secondary market to find tickets.  Between promotions, giveaways and a comparably limited group of fans, those wishing to attend a match can typically find a ticket, even at the last minute, and often at little to no cost.

Yet the MLS Cup Final (and this has become increasingly true), offered a chance for the secondary market to play a prominent role in providing opportunities for fans to attend the game.  Between the significant amount of season ticket holders in Kansas City, the pre-sales offered to certain interest groups and the relatively small size of the stadium, the secondary market was primed to pray a prominent role.

At various time, about 5% of the ticket inventory was available on StubHub.  Many of the tickets were selling at significant mark-ups.  Many tickets were listed for at least double their face value and some were listed for significantly more.  As the day of the game approached, ticket sales slacked off leading sellers to drop the price in hopes of ensuring a sale.  However, even on Friday afternoon, tickets were selling for more than face value as bargain hunters were forced to make a choice at the last minute.

Ultimately, a healthy secondary market is a great sign for the league.  Ticket scarcity makes an even seem more important and provides the most devoted fans with an opportunity to profit from their fandom. When fans can walk-up to the gate on gameday and purchase tickets at face value, it provides fans with little incentive to buy in advance.  Those advance sales allow a team to plan and ensure that bad weather doesn’t significantly depress attendance or ticket sales.