Last week, FC Dallas revealed their season ticket prices for the 2017 season. Big D Soccer was fortunate to sit down with Kris Katseanes, Vice President of Ticket Sales at FC Dallas to discuss the new season ticket prices, the fallout from last year’s ticket announcement and to discuss one of the big driving forces in all of this, the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
FC Dallas revealed last Monday a structure that was incredibly simple for their 2017 season ticket memberships. Four price points total that range from $20 per game to $50.
“Over the years teams do different things,” said Katseanes. “I've seen a lot of teams go to that model in the short term. I don't think it too outside the box to go that simple. It is designed around keeping our season ticket base where it is at and continuing to grow that while also making purely as simple as possible the new fan and consumer.
“People are just responding to a more simple approach. Part of the strategy was to keep prices as simple as possible. You see our prices are $20, 30, 40 and 50 but you'll also see next year our starting prices on individual game tickets will be $22, $33, $44, and $55. We did a ton of research within the league and found out that wheelhouse and prime demand for tickets in our market is somewhere in the market of the 20-25s, 36-42 and the low 50s. Those are the three spots that we can find success. We wanted to keep as many tickets in that price range.”
Rough ticket sales for 2016
FC Dallas fans remember all too well what happened at the beginning of the fall. The team was looking to announce the Hall of Fame and in order to do that they had to reveal what would happen to the stadium for the coming seasons. Katseanes states that while the season ticket base is up in 2016, the single game and group ticket sales are down.
“At the end of the day we did a bunch of research,” explained Katseanes. “We had been waiting for opportunities to do that and last year we felt like there was enough writing on the wall that it may be time. So we made a jump and what we found was season tickets responded very well to that and we sold as many season tickets last year as we had in any previous years. The season ticket base, the FC Dallas fan and the person already in our wheelhouse, really responded well without any issues.
“What we didn't see equal to that was the group and individual game buyer that maybe wasn't as savvy to FC Dallas and wasn't prepared enough for that complication,” said Katseanes. “We complicated our pricing rate a few levels lower and it became too complex for the general market, groups and individual game buyers. As we suffered this year. That is why our attendance is down. Our attendance isn't down because our season ticket base is down. Our season ticket base is actually up.”
About that all games would be sold out claim
Many will recall Katseanes claim that every home game would be sold out in 2016. A comment at the time that made sense given FC Dallas 2015 attendance numbers that were averaging around the 16,500 mark. While Katseanes admits he was wrong on the claim, he doesn’t regret making it one bit.
“Everything we believed at the time and everything we did at that point wasn't just a random act,” said Katseanes. “I think a lot of people think we're just throwing darts at the wall and just guessing. What we anticipated and what we knew is that we could grow our season ticket base. So when I made that statement, I felt like if we are growing our season ticket base, all we have to do is remain consistent in terms of group and single game tickets and we will be sold out. And so I absolutely believed that.
“What we didn't understand and to be honest, what we didn't calculate properly for was the group and single game buyer wouldn't be in the same line with our season ticket base in terms of where we went in our pricing. The changes we made we were wrong on that and we have to own that. We're one-third of the puzzle figured out this year. We spent our time figuring out the two-thirds this year that should take us home next year on that.”
About the Hall of Fame
One growing concern for fans as of late revolves around the National Hall of Fame construction, or at least lack there of. One aspect that has taken some time is the wiring under the stadium that has to be sorted out. The other is dealing with the construction companies in the area.
Katseanes confirmed that everything was still on track for finishing up at the end of 2017 to be ready for the 2018 season. But he is aware that it hasn’t helped matters out this season but stresses the impact it will bring to the area when it is complete.