I haven't written in a while on Fannation, as it was US Soccer off season and despite March Maddness Basketball I haven't followed much in the world of sports. But now the MLS season is underway and things are starting to build up going into the World Cup. Although the season has been relatively uneventful so far, a recent story coming from the Seattle Sounders FC has made a pretty big impression. In a recent 4-0 loss to LAG, the club has decided to refund a ticket for next season to season ticket holders.
The quotes coming from the league owner and managers are impressive. Statements about how such a loss is an embarassment and fans don't deserve to have to pay for such a performance and that a lot of other changes are going to need to be taken to prevent such an embarassing loss in the future. So in order to prevent people from jumping off the bandwagon they've decided to refund a ticket for next seasons game for season ticket holders.
As a New England Revolution fan this kind of reaction to such a loss is absoluty crazy. If NWR refunded a match for every overly poor performance loss then I think a lot of Revs fan could make a living by simply being a fan. I don't expect this kind of behavior to set a precident for something similar. I'm shocked the Seattle Sounders did something in the first place, but it is a clear sign by the Sounders where they stand and how they want to treat their fans and their experience.
While most clubs are treated as a side-investment, one where they try to minimalize costs and losses in hopes that one day the league gains popularity, the Seattle Sounders are using a different approach that I think the league and clubs are missing. I believe they are already starting to see the fruits of their labor. They have one of the highest season ticket holder base and fan turnout despite being only one year old.
I think other clubs and the league in general can learn a lot from Seattle and their approach. It not only makes an impression in their area, but what they are doing is leaving a good impression and making fans out of people like myself who are looking for a club that cares about its fans
If you want to read about the ticket refund here's a link to the story from their website: http://www.soundersfc.com/News/Articles/2010/05-May/Sounders-to-issue-refund.aspx