31 July 2007

Beckham Mania's Biggest Loser? The Fans

David Beckham has now been on US soil for almost three weeks and so far the biggest losers are the fans. The winners? No surprise, the Galaxy and MLS.

So far MLS fans have come out in droves to see Beckham, but thus far his bum left ankle has left the fans to miss out. Of the 11 remaining road games for Beckham and his merry Galaxy bunch eight are already sold out, or are nearly so. The other three? They're being played in larger American Football stadiums, but they're no slouches either. 40,000 tickets have already been sold for the Galaxy game in New York, and 20,000 in the other two.

"As much as we are benefiting, there are markets across the country that are benefiting," said Alexi Lalas, the Galaxy's president and general manager. "This is a win-win situation for everybody."
Except for fans. Word of Beckham's no-show came too late to affect ticket sales in Dallas.
Consider this: Before Tuesday's Galaxy/FC Dallas match there had been 15 sellouts for far this season, and eight had been in Toronto. With the Galaxy having 20 games remaining, they're likely to top that all on their own. It may be hard to completely quantify the economic impact of David Beckham on MLS, but it's more than clear that each party is making out pretty well.

But what about those fans? They rushed out to buy the jerseys and get tickets to see Beckham. Now, they're left with a DNP - Left Ankle. Some teams have been better at stemming the pain of not seeing Beckham than others.

FC Dallas did the sensible thing, and realized that people weren't there to see their team, but rather the opponent. They reacted by offering special priority to that game's ticket holders for the next Galaxy visit. These fans are lucky, and can buy tickets to future Galaxy visits before they go on sale to the general public.

The fans in Toronto? No so lucky. They won't be offering a similar deal.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Toronto FC said that "ticket buyers should be aware that the standard policy for sports and entertainment events as it pertains to scheduled appearances remains in effect.

"Consistent with all sporting events, we are not in a position to guarantee that any player will appear in a match. Those decisions are determined by the coaching staff with advice from their advisors. As with any other player under contract with either club participating in the game, should Mr. Beckham be unable to play in the game no refunds will be issued for tickets purchased."
Yeah, yeah, Toronto, I get your point. And perhaps you can do that when you've got a small stadium and would sell out anyhow. But that's no way to treat your fans, especially in your first year of existence.

7 comments:

Permanent4 said...

I don't think those loonies in Toronto care quite as much about Beckham as some American sports fans might. People will attend the T.F.C. games there, Becks or no Becks, because they love them some T.F.C.

Kevin Hayward said...

The MLS better soak this in while they still can. Beckham is just the next big thing, and as soon as something or someone else interesting comes along, he'll be old news.

KSting said...

I went to boarding school in Toronto, and keep in touch with a few friends still who live there. From what they say, people are fanatical about that team. And fanatical soccer fans will definitely know how overrated Beckham is in the first place. They didn't buy tickets to see Beckham, they bought them to see TFC.

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