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MLS Ticker: Atlanta surpasses 19,000 season tickets; PRO announces referee assignments; and more

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, Atlanta Falcons/Atlanta MLS Owner Arthur Blank, and Georgia World Congress Center Executive Director Frank Poe


Atlanta won’t enter Major League Soccer for another two years, but fans are showing their excitement in a big way.

In a discussion with Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday, Don Garber announced that Atlanta’s expansion franchise, set to enter the league in 2017, has surpassed 19,000 season ticket deposits sold.

In Aug. 2014, MLS Atlanta owner Arthur Blank said roughly 14,000 season tickets were sold, but with today’s update, less than 6,000 available season tickets are up for grabs before Georgia’s franchise kicks off in in two years.

In comparison, New York City FC announced Thursday that they had sold more than 14,000 season tickets for their inaugural MLS season in 2015.

Here are more notes from around MLS:


The Professional Referee Organization released their referee assignments for the opening weekend of MLS’ 20th season Friday.

Jair Marrufo will blow the opening whistle in the first match of the MLS season, which will see Los Angeles Galaxy play host to the Chicago Fire next Friday (10 p.m., UniMas).

Meanwhile, Mark Geiger will be the center official for Saturday’s first match, which will see the Montreal Impact visit D.C. United. In one of the most anticipated opening weekend matchups, Orlando City SC hosting New York City FC, a possible 65,000 fans will have their eyes on Alan Kelly, who will be the head official in the Citrus Bowl next Sunday (5 p.m., ESPN2).


The San Jose Earthquakes have added a veteran defender to their back line, the club announced Thursday.

Paulo Renato, 27, started his playing career with Portugal’s famed Sporting Lisbon in 2006, but he never made an appearance for the club after being being promoted to the first team.

Since 2010, Renato has moved around quite a bit, jumping from club to club in Portugal’s first and second divisions. Most recently, he made two starts with CDR Quarteirense and 13 starts for Operario in 2014-2015.

“Dominic and I traveled to Portugal this year, and Paulo was a player we identified,” Earthquakes general manager John Doyle said. “Paulo is a well-rounded player and a solid defender. He will be an important part of the team this season.”


The Montreal Impact announced Thursday that they had sold more than 3,000 tickets for the second leg of CONCACAF Champions League action against Pachuca next Tuesday.

With a surprising 2-2 draw in Mexico, Impact fans have something to be excited about, it seems.

“It feels like there is more interest for this crucial match,” executive vice president of soccer operations Richard Legendre said. “We have reached our objective with a 2-2 draw in Mexico because it is an excellent result under very difficult conditions. However, we are only half way there. There is still work to be done and we count on the support of our 12th player to help us make history and reach the Champions League semifinals for the very first time.”

In total, the Impact has sold more than 20,000 tickets for next week’s return leg.


What do you think of Atlanta’s ticket sales? Do you like the PRO assignments for the opening weekend? How impressed are you with San Jose’s signing of Paulo Renato?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. If there is no CBA by 3-2-15 when the meetings end then there will be no Champions League for Mls teams next week. ..forfeits I assume.

  2. What’s happening with MLS expansion?
    Everybody wants a piece of it and garber wants 24 teams when a poor country like Argentina has 30 teams in their league. ( MLS should go beyond 24)
    I’m also afraid, MLS will go back to NFL stadiums like in Atlanta, future Minneapolis team, LA2 with new NFL stadium with the rams and even Miami for a while.
    MLS needs to have real soccer stadiums from 22,000 seats to 25,000 with expansion in mind.
    Hopefully Atlanta can make their own stadium where the braves stadium is, since braves is getting a new one and what about the old stadium where falcons play.
    Other teams that need a stadium for their future are, Columbus, Vancouver, Boston, and DC. Columbus deserve it and if they make a new stadium, that will be the house the USA national team.
    By the way, does anyone know if galaxy stadium will ever be remodel. They have won MLS cups and their stadium looks MLS 1.0 not good at all.

    • LAFC will be a SSS. Atlanta is playing in the same stadium as the Falcons with an average crowd of 28k the first year – that’s a conservative estimate. And I really believe the Minn United group will win the bid so also an brand new SSS.

      I also reserve 2 tickets for Atlanta on the first day but I will be buying 4 at least.

    • Actually, Blank needs to knock down the old falcons stadium a make a SSS at 40,000 – 50,000 and buy out the Braves stadium and renovate it into an academy stadium and training facility along with housing for players and academy players..

      Every MLS team needs a world class stadium in a prime location built to accomadate the weather and have another smaller stadium used for academy and CCL first round games.

      Orlando’s new stadium design will have some serious problems in the summer heat.

      • Exactly, but like you always hear, NFL owners supposedly “like” soccer and always say, “soccer and MLS” are in our stadium plans and we plan to have soccer in our new stadium and that means there is Zero chance of getting a soccer stadium for their local city and fans.
        That has happen to Seattle, Atlanta now, Minneapolis new stadium, probably phoenix and LA new nfl stadium.
        If nfl owners who like soccer and want MLS then make a damn soccer stadium which are dirt cheap to make, compared to nfl and baseball stadiums.
        From the way it looks, there will never be another skc stadium and red bull arena until nycfc make their fancy stadium and Miami gets their water front stadium. Hopefully rich Arthur blanks makes a 30,000 to 40,000 soccer seat stadium at braves site or at the falcons old stadium site.
        This is a list of MLS teams that should have a “fancy soccer stadium design,” galaxy, sounders, nycfc, dc, Toronto, LA2, Vancouver, Montreal, Boston and best of all soccer stadiums are cheap to make. Take a look at Japan’s, Koreas and China’s small soccer stadiums with a modern design, not like MLS cookie cutter stadiums.

      • I don’t know about Japan, but most Korean teams play in large stadiums (often World Cup legacies) that they don’t come anywhere near selling out. Less than half full stadiums are the norm even for the most popular teams.
        Speaking of which, most top division Korean teams would fill less than half of an average American soccer specific stadium. Overall I think the empty seat “issue” is much bigger in Asia than the US.

  3. First of all, what’s wrong with Montreal impact front office. Put this game outside in their home stadium with the cold weather and snow!!!!!
    What’s is their front office thinking?
    Just do it, and have they heard of home field advantage.
    No mexican team can take the cold weather, they are not use to it.
    Just do it!!!

  4. Hope people realize the club in ATL is letting you reserve up to 6 season tickets for a $50 deposit. None have actually been sold yet. I reserved 2 but until I see what the price is for I can’t say 100% I will buy them. Of course I hope they will be reasonable b/c we’ve been waiting a long time for a team here. Blank knows what he is doing so I have faith!

    • Exactly. Zero season tickets have been sold. Deposits have been made for 19000 seats. Still impressive considering team doesn’t launch until 2017. Why exaggerate?

      • You see things like this a lot in bank financings. Nobody knows for sure who will be all-in on something that starts 2 years from now, but if you can get 19,000 people to plunk down 50 bucks, it’s a pretty good statement of confidence about the market size.

      • not trying to be rude but did you guys not read the article???…..

        “Don Garber announced that Atlanta’s expansion franchise, set to enter the league in 2017, has surpassed 19,000 season ticket deposits sold.”

        re-read the last 4 words. there’s no “mislead”, “vague[ness]” or “lie”… Atlanta has sold 19,000 SEASON TICKET DEPOSITS. as the inaugural season gets closer that number will lower to the actual amount of season tickets sold.

      • Actually, it could still is a bit misleading, though it is as reliable a benchmark as we can get. One $50 deposit can reserve up to 8 season tickets, and you will not be required to buy every one of the tickets you’ve reserved. Probably a few people asked for the max not knowing exactly how many tickets they will buy, and for only $50, why not ask for the max. So there may be 19,000 reservations from 5,000 deposits, and when it comes time to actually purchase tickets, it may result in a smaller number of actual purchases.

      • fair enough, at least the phrase “ticket deposits” was used but you’re right, due to 8 per deposit rule there could end up being way less. Good point.

        FWIW, I live in Atlanta and am going to buy season tickets although I haven’t put down a deposit yet. So there are people who can sway it either way here 🙂

        “ATL FC” wish list:
        4-Haji Wright, lol

      • @Chris Problem with your theory is EVERY STH DEPOSIT DRIVE SINCE TFC THE CONVERSION RATE HAS BEEN GREATER THAN 100%. I reserved 2 tickets now my Westjet co-workers want me to buy 4 more. (My deposit was on the first day).

        If Atl caps the deposits at 25k there will be way more than 25k season tickets sold.

  5. What is the season tickets end up being 30,000 ??? Then it would be a wasted investment by building the technology to downsize to 30,000 seats. What if Atlanta has a demand for 40,000 to 50,000 seats. This why I hate sharing stadiums with a football team owner. Every decision is made to keep MLS 2nd rate!

    • Prada, bad logic dude.

      If you’re in a soccer specific stadium and have more demand than capacity, then you’re just out of luck. In Atlanta’s stadium, they can simply raise the technology curtain. Voila, 30,000+ more seats. Seems like a darn good investment to me.

    • I love these “We’re gonna run outta room!” arguments.

      Believe it or not, you can control this *really* effectively…. raise the price. Which is nice because you make more money too.


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