Dear Seattle Sounders FC,
I should have addresses this to the ownership of the Seattle Sounders FC, but that would have been a very long title. However, this is not to the players of the Seattle Sounders FC, whom I respect and admire. This is to the ownership and the decision makers of the team.
Do you not realize that you have the best fan base in the MLS? Can you think of another MLS team that consistently sets attendance records? Can you think of another team who seriously gives their perennial playoff contending Seattle Seahawks a run for their money in terms of attendance? Can you think of another team who consistently beats their major league baseball team’s attendance?
And yet, this doesn’t seem to be good enough for you. Because now, you are punishing the fans by introducing “dynamic pricing”.
God forbid you just rely on the throngs of fans attending each game and take a percentage of all those ticket sales to pay your fat salaries. No, now, you have to extort us for more.
I am not a Seattle fan because of Clint Dempsy. I am not a fan of Seattle because of Obafemi Martins. They are amazing players, don’t get me wrong, but they weren’t on the team when I became a fan, and they will eventually leave. (Or be traded during a bizarre housecleaning off-season, but that is neither here nor there.) I am a fan of Seattle because of the fans. The atmosphere at the Clink is so incredible that it truly makes the team what it is. Despite having not won an MLS championship (though real fans know the Supporters Shield is more important), and despite watching our hometown favorites get traded away, and despite the annoying Sigi Schmid University Volkswagon commercials, the fans come out for their team.
In March of 2009, I happened to be in Pioneer Square for a totally unrelated reason. I had heard that Seattle had a soccer team, and were entering the MLS, and I remember some news stories about voting on the name prior to that, but I really had no idea what soccer was all about. I was there with a friend and we happened to walk right into the middle of the first MLS pre-game rally and march to the match. I remember seeing Drew Carey and all the fans with their scarves and chants. And suddenly, I really wanted to go to the match. My friend had an appointment later, and it was sold-out, so we couldn’t. But I started following the team that day.
One of the best days I remember is when in the middle of my cancer treatment, my late wife and I attended a game in box seats thanks to a family member of hers. I honestly don’t remember if the team won or lost that game, but I remember the atmosphere. I remember the fans.
So if Obafemi Martins does end up going to China, (may he stay), the fans will still be there. They will continue to come out for Seattle verses Portland in huge numbers and not care what kind of star power LA is putting on the pitch against them. They will continue to support their team. They are the team. They are the Seattle Sounders FC. Players, coaches, and executives come and go. Don’t treat the only permanent part of the team like an unimportant cash cow.
10,000 fans recently walked out in the 77th minute of a Liverpool match in the Premier Leauge over ticket prices. The Liverpool fans obviously have a much deeper history with their club, and they were willing to send a message to the team’s ownership about how they were being treated. They eat, sleep, and breathe their football (soccer) there, and yet they were still willing to leave early to send a message and embarrass their ownership on international television. Do you want to push the fans who make your club into similar actions?
This isn’t the NFL. Soccer fans in Seattle understand who makes their club. How far away do you want to push them?
I beg you to reconsider this decision.
A supporter of the Seattle Sounders FC