On Charging To Watch A Major League Soccer Preseason Match

All I can say is, seriously?

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Point of clarification: I didn’t pay to watch the Seattle Sounders play the Columbus Crew Thursday afternoon at the Westside Soccer Complex, or rather a bunch of hard, unfinished, grass-not-grown-in-yet fields near Chipotle, Islands Burgers, Old Navy and Best Buy in Avondale at 99th Ave. and McDowell. I told the guys collecting money that I was with the media. Glad they bought it.

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But please. It’s MLS PRESEASON. I love the league and I love the sport but MLS teams, some anyway, have a hard enough time selling cheap tickets to folks during the regular season. MLS wasn't charging the fees, an independent entity was, just so you know. Plus, the fields were in bad shape, there was no seating area for the handful of people who came out, the players had nowhere to change clothes nor use the restroom (neither did fans) and the parking area wasn’t even paved. Dirt and gravel.

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This is no indictment of the facilities at Reach 11 and Casa Grande, which are in much better shape and games there are actually free of charge. But you cannot charge $5 (I think it was another $3 to park) to watch starters play a half in a meaningless game at an unfinished facility. It was like Saturday morning with the kids with oranges and CapriSun as the players sat in a circle at halftime, and we’re not talking about a bunch of no-name guys, if you follow the sport.

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The product was one thing. If you like soccer, you watch and you get what you get. But the environment screamed free parking and free to attend, which it was not.

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