The Vancouver Whitecaps, like our own FO, have done a lot of things right in their promotion from the D2 league to MLS. They've successfully marketed their team to being a desired commodity, they've apparently built a sound enough squad to handily whomp their Canadian rivals, Toronto FC, and they brought in the most amount of sponsorship dollars of any other MLS team including ourselves, Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York. Impressive, to say the least. It's unfortunate, then, that they seem to be bungling their ticketing practices from the onset.
As many of you know, late last year and earlier this year, there was an ongoing battle between the Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders, and Vancouver Whtiecaps FOs and their respective supporters groups over the amount of away support that would be allowed at each other's respective stadia. MLS only requires at least 150 tickets be given to traveling support, but given our closeness and the level of this rivalry, we demanded more.
Eventually everything worked out in a somewhat agreeable fashion where we were able to get 500 tickets for each home game. Here's the exact quote from the press release:
"Major League Soccer has approved a plan for the supporters groups from the Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC to purchase up to 500 tickets for away matches against their Cascadia rivals in 2011."
Each team decided, according to the press release, that the 500 away tickets would be given the supporters groups to dole out to their respective members. Everybody wins, right? Not quite in Vancouver.
Apparently, in an effort to get even more money, the Vancouver Whitecaps FO has given those tickets meant for the Southsiders to a company called Uniglobe who has now started selling the tickets in any capacity to anybody who wants them. There's not even a limit, or stipulation. You don't even have to be a member of the Southsiders. Supposedly you're supposed to be a season ticket holder, but according to reports by Prost Amerika Soccer, they're not even bothering to check.
The biggest kick in the pants here is that Uniglobe seems to be selling the tickets above market value. The same article by Prost Amerika revealed that, for the Seattle Sounders match, the price of a $28 ticket is costing our rivals up north $43. Incredible.
There's no reports on the Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps home game yet, but with a system like this it's a little difficult to judge just what kind of sparring partners we can expect. Will we be facing off against our usual Southsider cousins or will be be dancing, mocking, singing to a bunch of casual fans who simply decided to spend a weekend away in Portland watching their favorite soccer team?
The story hasn't unfolded entirely yet as the Southsiders SG is continually battling to get what's rightfully theirs back. Even the Whitecaps FO is giving mixed information about the ordeal. One thing I can say for certain is that I'm happy our own FO didn't decide to do something incredibly dishonest with our Seattle and Vancouver away tickets.
Here's hoping, come August 20th, we'll get a respectable Southsider showing. Read and follow the full ordeal at Prost Amerika Soccer.