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Should MLS teams set aside more tickets for away fans?

Photo by Howard C. Smith/

With regional rivalries becoming even more prominent in Major League Soccer, MLS teams could find themselves under a high demand for tickets from away fans.

The Seattle-Portland-Vancouver and New York-Philadelphia-D.C. triangles all figure to be hot spots for visiting fans to try and set up shop. It isn't always that easy to secure tickets at an away stadium, though, as some fans can most surely attest.

Do you think MLS teams have a responsibility to cater to away fans?

Cast your vote here:

How did you vote? Have you ever had a problem securing tickets for an away match?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Here’s why this poll is up (and why your question is a little naive)…soccer in this country is an eye-openner to most casual fans. I interviewed some fans (long-time baseball fans) who went to a Timbers’ match. They didn’t know who the Timbers played, who won, what the score was, even if any goals were scored. But there response was “wow–freaking wow–how does our city get one of these soccer teams?” Then you add in an away section of fans who chant and sing at each other. American fans have never experienced stuff like this in other sports and it’s an eye-openner, it just totally washes away all the soccer haters who argue it’s a boring experience.

    You could sell tickets to anyone (including away fans). But the reason why supporters’ sections work–form one unified voice for standing and chanting and singing–are exactly why away sections work.

    Now, we’re not there yet. But your answer is exactly what the NBA, NFL, MLB have approached tickets sales–you got money and you get a seat. MLS recognizes the value of atmosphere and how consolidating groups can provide that.

  2. Which illustrates why it’s silly to have a league policy. FCD could set aside 5,000 tickets for away fans with no problem. TFC–it’s a serious hardship if they set aside an extra 50 tickets.

    The league (in terms of supporters groups, fan support and atmosphere) is still pretty much in its infancy. For every Seattle, TFC or DC United set of supporters, you get situations like Philly (where SoB have done a terrific job but in the first year of the club they’ve still got lots of empty seats–unless the team becomes a world beat next season you’ll only see attendance decline) or FCD or even Columbus. You go to some games and you see singing fans, smoke bombs in the stands, bouncing stands, a terrific and energizing game day experience. And other MLS games–not so much. So a one-size that fits all approach is totally inappropriate right now. I think clubs like TFC (with a small stadium and avid fan base) need to be told “prepare for a future where you might need to have a dedicated supporter’s section of 1,000 seats–maybe that’s 2 years down the road, maybe it’s 10 years down the road–but make plans” b/c they’ve got a small stadium and either need to stop selling some season tickets, convert them to half-plans or add more seats. Other clubs–FCD has bigger fish to fry than setting up a dedicated supporter’s section of 1,000 seats.

  3. I think traveling supporters will only make the league stronger and should be supported at all ends. If having to many stadiums at capacity is a problem, then it is a good problem to have for US Soccer culture. Bigger crowds=bigger income for clubs=bigger stadiums=better talent and exposure.

  4. It seems obvious that dedicated Away supporters sections add to the gameday experience. Baumer has some excellent suggestions, especially the rolling deadlines concept. MLS, are you listening?

  5. It seems like this controversy is made up. Is Joe Roth involved in creating demand by marketing pique and provocation? Of all the stadiums that needn’t limit supporter’s culture it’s Qwest with a capacity of 67K; their average attendance is 36,174. If this story had originated from PGE Park, it’d make more sense, or even Empire Field for that matter.

  6. Baumer: Read what Jeremy said. I’m merely repeating it back. I’m not insinuating any such thing. He made it sound as though it was the inevitable result of not making enough seats available. Idiotic behavior occurs on both sides of the rivalry, and each side subsequently points at that behavior (like you with the guy getting hogtied who, incidentally, tells a similar story of having his scarf stolen) as to why the other side is “bad” and they are “good”. It’s crap. Assholes are everywhere.

    If you continue reading my post, I also say I think it’s ridiculous for the FO to NOT make seats available. So please, stop feeling aggrieved, as there is no reason to.

  7. After reading these comments i have to say that many of you have some good ideas.

    In my opinion I think MLS should look at how the NCAA handles the away tickets for college football games.

    I am not exactly sure what the figures are, but the away school gets an alloted number of tickets. That school then sales the tickets to their supporters locally. This puts the responsibility on the away team to get organized. Having the home team sell the tickets benefits the supporters groups as well because they could then package them with other games, or possibly organize buses to away games and package the tickets with the bus ride. Overall I just think this creates a lot more flexibility for all sides involved. Then give the away team a deadline of say 6 weeks to return all unsold tickets to the home team. This will give the home team plenty of time sell the remaining tickets.

    In regards to the Seattle/Portland/Vancouver they ALL need to realize that a major reason they are in the league is because of each other. MLS understands that rivalries are a huge part of growing the league so the traveling fans need to be a priority. Unless the entire stadium is completely sold out there is no reason to limit ticket sales. The Seattle FO needs to grow up and play it’s part in the growth of this league.

  8. I can’t speak for the rest of the country, but any game featuring the Northwest Rivals playing each other will sell out, guaranteed.

    Sounders sell out their home games regardless, and we will buy every away ticket the Timbers or Caps make available, even if it’s 5,000. It’s all anyone talks about around here.

    It would be a joke if away fans only get 150 seats for those games.

  9. IVES, why dont you post something more interesting rather than just try to generate hits with a poll.

    dive into the debate and take a position.

  10. Don’t set aside anything. If you want to go, find tickets just like anyone else. If you want to sit together and can find seats together, good for you and shame on the home team for not filling its stadium. If you can’t, too bad: meet for a beer at the half. Don’t limit the hometown fan’s choice and selection, and don’t force any homer to sit next to and listen to a whole section of away fans. It’s home-field advantage. Sorry.

    The security issue is a joke. Someone starts trouble, get their info and picture and ban them. Set a high standard and people will figure it out fast. There just aren’t enough hooligans here for it to be a real issue, and we’re talking about teams between one- and fifteen-years’ old with generally small, yuppie fan-bases, not centuries’ old religious, ethnic, or political tensions. If the Bears/Packers, Blazers/Sonics (RIP), and Sawx/Yanks can thrive without away sections, it is effing absurd to suggest Revs/Red Bulls can’t.

    The one caveat here is for MLS Cup, at least as long as the league stupidly insists on keeping it in a neutral location. We went to the final here in Seattle, and it was really cool to see good RSL fans make Qwest home for a night.

  11. I understand that MLS isn’t a league of away support. But if away fans are interested, the best configuration is always to have home team’s supporter groups in one end and the away fan in the other end. Nothing better than good old chanting match. Brings a little excitement and also let’s you see fan culture from the other supporters.

    If you’ve ever caught a glimpse of German Bundesliga, you’ll know that a good supporter group of visiting team only enhances the match and makes the home team fans try that much harder.

  12. This might be true…. but most college sports do, and I think the support/passion that this country has for college sports is probably what MLS is trying to grasp.

    If SEC football stadiums can dedicate away sections (and they do), then MLS can as well.

  13. This is why I say i prefer to have the large groups. I just take offence to the notion that if we don’t segregate fans it will be the end of the world. Forty years of darkenss! EarthQuakes, Volcanoes! The dead rising from the Grace! Human Sacrifice!, Dogs and Cats living together…. Mass Hysteria!

  14. As others have mentioned in this discussion, the few incidents that have been reported are not as one-sided as to be described as visiting fans that ‘act like hooligans.’ But I do think this whole 1000 spread-out visitors will turn into 1000 incidents is overblown.
    Anyway, the notion of a supporter’s section is not so foreign to American sports fans. College football also has very passionate fans and you can clearly see blocks of away colors as evidence of a designated section for visiting fans. Making it possible for away fans to sit together makes it more fun for them as a supporter’s group (think singing and chanting) as well as more fun for the home fans that get to be part of a heightened game atmosphere.

  15. Yes but we can’t hear the capo from the far side of the stadium, nor can we create that fantastic wall of sound as several hundred sing together! 🙂

  16. I am with you. While I like the idea of limiting how many Timbers supporters can come to Qwest; I hate that they might do the same to us. I want to be able to have 200 – 500 Sounders supporters go to their stadium.

    Fair is fair, so if we want to send that kind of support then we must allow them to do the same.

    Besides Qwest has ten thousand more seats than any other MLS stadium. It is not like we will be short on seats for the home supporters.

  17. Exactly. If we can’t handle it without special security for fear of riots happening in the stands we don’t deserve to be in the stadium at all.

  18. How come every time there is a discussion on away fans in the US its always turns to avoiding incidents? Are the away fans so immature that they have to act like hooligans when they visit another stadium? Big rivalries in the big 4 US sports do not have dedicated away fan seating but there are probably 1 thousand or so away team fans scattered around for big games, sure there are some incidents here and there but if 1000 portland fans goes to Seattle and there are 1000 separate incidents then maybe we should be more worried about our fan behavior.

  19. No other profession sport in the US has to set up a designated away section for fans. I don’t believe people when they say 1,000 incidents will happen across the stadium if individual fans have to buy their own tickets. A single chicago fan sat in front of my when we played them. No fights broke out. A portland fan was in front of me during the MLS Cup. We went out for beers afterwards.

    I would like there to be large lumps of tickets available cause i think traveling support is fun and exciting but the doomsday senario people are predicting is sad. Do we have no faith in each other? If Seahawks and 49er’s fans can watch a football game together without throwing punches, why can’t soccer fans.

  20. It should be worked out between the clubs, but If Seattle only opens up 150 tickets for Portland fans, then Portland should do the same when Seattle fans want to come to visit.

    Personally I’d like to see Traveling support encouraged in this country rather than discouraged.


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