The Quakes announced 2018 season tickets will be more expensive next year than this season (a roughly 5% increase across the board). The prices have been hiked every year since the opening of Avaya Stadium, and next year’s tickets will be roughly 33% more than they were in 2015.
The move is troubling. In 2015 and 2016, the team successfully sold out their season ticket allotment and even had a wait-list for future season ticket accounts. However, with sub-par/boring soccer, aging players, paying for dirt-lot parking which requires a car wash after each game, exorbitant food/drink costs ($5 for a bottle of water?), and huge traffic trying to enter and leave the stadium, the stands have been noticeably half empty (or half full?) this season. The team even advertised 2017 season ticket opportunities earlier this year. Clearly the team is having problems retaining their fans.
To exacerbate the problem, the Quakes could be playing themselves out of the playoffs for the fifth year in a row, which is amazing considering that a team could finish sixth out of 11 teams and still be in the playoffs. The Quakes currently sit in seventh, outside of the playoff line. Fans want a successful team, and the Quakes won’t bring in new fans, or retain current ones, if the product continues to be stagnant, hence why a ticket hike is a giant step in the wrong direction.
Needless to say, fans are not happy. In a reddit forum, more than a few fans are already planning on cancelling their season ticket accounts for the foreseeable future. A few posts read: “Another slap to our faces. Highly considering not renewing.” “i just sent out an email to my rep sayin i’m not renewing.” “I already emailed my Rep and asked him to cancel my auto-renewal for next season.” “even if we make the playoffs, there should be a ticket price freeze. we’ve been garbage for too long for the FO to price hike at the first sniff of success.”
If the goal for the Quakes is to make money, raising ticket prices for a team that is not successful is a poor way to achieve this goal. Supply and demand economics is simple, and to be blunt, the demand for the Quakes is dwindling, creating a surplus of season ticket accounts, and tickets in general. Normally prices would be cut to sell off the surplus, yet the Quakes are raising prices, which will create an even bigger surplus. The loss of these guaranteed sales may cause the team to lose money in the long run if enough fans cancel their accounts, which will probably happen given the outrage many fans are already voicing.
A ticket hike alienates present fans and discourages new fans. It is simply a recipe for disaster for the Quakes, whose product many feel is not even worth the current price of admission. The Quakes front office should reconsider the repercussions of this ticket hike before the team becomes another MLS casualty of dwindling MLS attendance.