TFC Hoping To Buy Your Loyalty?

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Will 2007 prices earn your trust back?

Can your loyalty be bought?

Toronto FC is wagering that it can.

Yesterday, the club made a bold move with respect to its 2013 Season Ticket Renewal Campaign by lowering prices (in most sections) to 2007 levels. Ultimately, it is hoped that the price discount, off of mark ups they imposed, will ensure that the projected mass exodus is avoided.

Before I continue, let me just say that I applaud them for taking this step. Fans have implored them to "Make Us Proud Again" and one of the tenets of that campaign was a return to 2007 pricing. A do over of sorts, let's start fresh and make this thing right. They appear to have done that.

Well done. It's not going to be enough to get me to renew.

I am not trying to look a gift horse in the mouth, though I'm not sure that I have ever looked any horse in the mouth, let alone a gift one. A price reset was wanted but if the goal is saving fans money, I'm not sure it accomplishes that. I'll address that later.

From where I write, more important than price was a need to believe that there is real change within the structure at Toronto FC. A plan and investment in resources to back that up. Thus far, I haven't seen it. The organizational chart is still Anselmi - Mariner - Cochrane. There is still a lot of hype on the Academy and little being done or said to convince me that the team intends to ramp up its US and International signing efforts, the latter being the most important factors in team building in the MLS.

I didn't buy into this team based on pricing. I did it for reasons of passion and pride. Similarly, the decision to renew shouldn't be based solely on economics.

Do you believe in this team? The Managers? The Executives? The Players? The Vision? The Plan? Has anything been done to address those pillars in any way, shape or form heading into 2013? Rather than Tom Anselmi telling me how much he will charge me to watch the team, shouldn't he be trying to earn our collective trust by telling us what he intends to do to improve the team itself?

Answer those questions and perhaps the decision to renew or not renew is already made for you.

However, if the idea of a "7% to 47% Off Sale" appeals to you and is enough to get you to put your trust once again in the organization, let's explore the economics as I had promised.

The offer made yesterday is fair for virtually every section at BMO Field, except the North Enders in my opinion. Here is how it breaks down for your wallet:

Yellow

L Grey

L Blue

M Grey

D Grey

D Blue

Red

2012 Price

$361

$399

$551

$646

$950

$1,045

$1,292

2013 Price

$190

$228

$513

$475

$760

$874

$1,007

Discount

47%

43%

7%

26%

20%

16%

22%

Savings on Pair

$342

$342

$76

$342

$380

$342

$570

Is this a good buy?

That's a personal decision as to value relative to cost. For me, the reason to buy season tickets is three-fold.

  • I want to go to as many games as I can
  • I want to be assured of access for all events - like the mythical playoffs we hear so much about
  • I want to buy the tickets in bulk to realize a discount

Here is where one has to think hard.

BMO is about at 70% capacity. For the 2013 season, ticket scarcity is not a concern. Access is not a concern.

If getting to a large number of games is still a priority, it comes down to whether buying in bulk provides a value. One can get to every game by buying unused tickets from other season ticket holders on the secondary market at or below cost. Absolutely. In some cases, it might be more economical to do this.

Let's look at an example. I could renew my pair of seats in the North End. In 2013, that will cost me $1,026. Let's assume that I will miss 6 games this coming season due to scheduling conflicts, family issues, health, mid-week games, vacations, etc. At a cost of approximately $27 per game, I have purchased $324 worth of tickets I can't use. If I can't resell them, as virtually all of us experienced this year, that is money I have thrown away.

If I can buy $20 tickets on the resell market for the 13 games I can go to, I spend $520 in total to see the same number of games. I might even be able to buy $20 tickets in the more expensive sections as season ticket holders look to unload those seats if they can't go.

Of course, the less expensive your seats are the more likely you are to resell them given that supply outstrips demand. I would suggest that if you are in the Supporters area or Light Greys, you will likely get your money back if you can't use your tickets. For those in the Light Blue and up price points, this example of eating tickets you can't use is a real concern.

It is a shame that the team didn't offer a true exchange program like some other clubs do. If you can't go to a game you can exchange your unused tickets for games you can go to and take along friends and family.

If you were on the fence, maybe this price drop will be enough to keep you on board. Many of us have reasons to go to BMO that are personal and our own and stretch beyond simple dollars and cents.

And hey, maybe the offseason will bring an Erik Soler or other experienced name to the mix. The fact is though that as of today, nothing has changed with respect to the infrastructure that drove fans away in the first place. There is no guidance being offered on what they intend to do to fix the team. Has there ever been?

The question that we are all faced with is a simple one. In the absence of a plan that accompanies this needed, and welcomed price reset, will it be enough for you to overlook the past and put your trust in the leaders that have also been here since 2007?

I guess we'll see on opening day.

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