Crew Attendance Climbing On Strength of Season Tickets

Jamie Sabau

Goal 10K grabs headlines, but the team is already quietly moving in the right direction.

Recently the Dispatch's Adam Jardy talked with the Crew President Mark McCullers about the team's Goal 10K and other economic activities surrounding the team. Like always, the Crew were tight lipped around specific numbers.

McCullers was excited at the prospect of finishing out the the goal a year ahead of schedule. The team has made significant progress from a small season ticket base the team had just a few short years ago.

It's true that the team rarely talks hard numbers, but I had a conversation with Crew SVP Mike Malo in November of 2011, early in the push for Goal 10K. The sales team had just eclipsed the season 2011 season ticket numbers for 2012 and were pushing for very close to 5,000 season tickets with three more months before the season began.

That also meant that of the 12,185 fans per game that came to the stadium in 2011, approximatly 40% of them were season ticket holders. This number was on the low end compared to the rest of MLS.

The new focus on sales was a success, the Crew's attendance jumped over 2,000 fans per game in 2012, the second best percentage jump in the league, just behind Houston in the year they opened BBVA Stadium. The team averaged 14,346 fans.

According to several sources, the sales team also improved on that "40%" average and converted more of the casual fans to season ticket holders. That season ticket holder count likely passed 6,000 for the 2012 season.

McCullers has talked about the team hitting a plateau that they've failed to break through several times in team history. They are primed to move past it in 2013.

While the team has historically been weak at getting the business community to invest in tickets, this is another area where the current sales team has found success. Season ticket renewal rates are extremely strong and the sales staff has been able to focus on new business that grows the ticket holding base rather that replace losses.

At this point, the team has grown the season ticket numbers with strong growth for two consecutive years. This likely means the sub 10,000 games are a thing of the past and 12,000 is a bad night. The average attendance won't probably hit 17,000 like it did right after the stadium opened, but the team likely will average 15,000 for the first time since 2007.

Parts of this article refer back to a story from December, 2011. It can be found here.

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