Galaxy Close Upper Deck at HDC for Playoffs

The Galaxy won’t sell tickets to the upper deck at Carson’s Home Depot Center for its first and perhaps only playoff game this year at the stadium (date and opponent TBD), the first time the club has done that since moving there in 2003. (Tickets went on sale Monday, BTW).

Of course, that’s slightly misleading because the Galaxy haven’t made the playoffs in the last three seasons. But then wouldn’t that mean there’s pent-up demand? Apparently not with the club averaging fewer than 20,000 fans per game, good for only No. 3 in MLS behind Toronto (20,000-plus per game) and Seattle (30,000-plus per game).

“What we’re looking to do is create a home field advantage and have as many of the fans as close to the field as possible,” said spokesman Patrick Donnelly. “We’re going to aim to sell out the lower bowl first and then open (the deck) up. We won’t do it unless the lower bowl is sold out.”

And it might not be because the Galaxy’s season ticket holders do not get into a playoff game for free as a “bonus” game this year as is usual. That’s because between various other competitions and exhibition games season ticket holders have received their five bonus games this year and so will have to buy playoff tickets.

That’s right, season ticket holders got to see Costa Rica’s Club Sport Herediano instead of a playoff game. Woo hoo!

BTW, upper deck season ticket holders are being allowed to sit on the lower level for the same price they would have paid to sit up top despite the higher ticket prices there. Of course, that doesn’t take into account that the cheaper tickets on the second tier are better – much better – in some cases than the more expensive seats. Fans on the upper deck essentially get the same view those of us in the press box or those paying thousands for suites receive for a fraction of the cost.

It’s just another sign that unless the Galaxy sell discounted group tickets to AYSO teams – whose young players prefer bonking their thunder sticks off some unfortunate parents’ head to actually watching a game – that they can’t count on the hardcore true soccer supporter as the Sounders or Toronto can to sell out the stadium. Even for a playoff game. And that’s pretty sad for a city that is supposedly the best futbol market in the country.

Of course, it’s hard to blame fans given the generally tepid quality of the Galaxy’s play this season (one long-time fan told me he walked out of the Galaxy’s last home game at halftime because it was so dull) or the over-priced tickets thanks to the presence of his Beckhamness. And his celebrity novelty has obviously worn off given the relatively small crowds the Galaxy has drawn this season.

Houston, it seems, isn’t having that problem.

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  • CD

    they sold out the GA to AYSO kids so the SG’s cant buy extra tickets. expect a boring game in the stands

  • shirtees

    “The Galaxy won’t sell tickets to the upper deck at Carson’s Home Depot Center for its first and perhaps only playoff game…”

    And perhaps only playoff game? Ouch.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Nick, let’s be honest. The Galaxy is completely embarassed (and should be) with its per-game attendance. By closing the upper level, it can boast of a “sellout” even at less than full capacity!

    After all, that’s the way AEG does things, innit?

    Patrick, if you want sellouts, then get Leiweke, Payne and Old Man Potter to get the Galaxy to become more “fan friendly.” Reduce prices on parking and concessions. Get rid of that ridiculous “valet parking,” which doesn’t attract enough users to merit its distinction.

    Better yet, have AEG sell the team. In lieu of that, stage an in-house coup to get Arte Moreno to buy the team. Moreno is an owner who actually cares about the fans. Look at the atmosphere at Angel Stadium. Less expensive prices. Friendly, caring ushers (instead of the in-house Gestapo/KGB/Stasi that AEG seems to favor). A winning team that makes the playoffs.

    Hell, if I win Publishers’ Clearing House, I’ll buy the team. We Sicilians know how to deal with Krauts like Leiweke and Anschutz.

  • Studs Up

    When I broke :) this news on this blog back on Oct. 3rd, I eluded to the strange phenomenon of FANS staying away in droves LEAGUE-WIDE when playoffs come around in this league. This pattern pre-dates the AEG take-over of the league and this team.

    You Nick and J. D’Hip need to acknowledge that. Yes the food sucks and it’s too expensive – I don’t eat there. Yes parking is expensive – I don’t park on their lots. Yes Beckham jacked up the prices – I switched from the most expensive to the cheapest season seats so the idiot celebrity gawkers pay his salary. Yes the team sucks at times but I went to every game from day one, season one. US Open Cups, friendlies with teams from Costa Rica, Korea or where ever. And strangely, I even attended every PLAYOFF game.

    I am basically fed up with all the supposed soccer/futbol/football fans, Euro snobs, Latino-centrics in this country. Go support the teams, pack the stadiums then demand change. Bitch/ignore/critisize and all YOU accomplish will be the death of yet another league in this country.

    The simplistic Leiweke is actually correct that England deserves the World Cup more than us/US. We’re a special occassions kind of soccer nation. We’ll out-draw any other country in attendance, as proven with the Olympics and the World Cup but go right back to 10,000 per game for league play.

    I don’t know about you lot but I am very happy to even have a team. I took a longtime basketball/football/baseball/tennis fan to his first soccer game last week @ HDC and he said it was the best sport experience he’s ever had.

    BTW, who still owns half of the Houson Dynamo?

  • 73Bruin

    Another predictable anti-Galaxy comment Nick. Do they call you Mr. Chivas in the press box?. I am sure the fan you are quoting must have been some Eurosnob like Grahame Jones (perhaps you were even talking to yourself). The Fire Game was anything but boring.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Studs Up, do you own Galaxy season tickets? If you do, and you’re fed up with the status quo, then you and those who think like you have the responsibility to demand change. You talk about “Euro-snobs” (of which I’m not; I’m so damn glad that the United States isn’t like Europe). Well, in Europe, soccer fans can differentiate between the team and management. In fact, some of a club’s most passionate fans are some of that same club’s most virulent critics when it comes to team management.

    This idea of “I’m even glad to have a team” is what the soccer suits in America count on. That attitude justifies anything they can get away with (like ridiculously low player salaries). If the sport is to mature in this country, soccer fans have to dispense with that attitude and demand better.

    As far as Lie-weakly goes, he might well be right that (aesthetically speaking) England is more deserving of a World Cup. But do you really think Lie-weakly cares about aesthetics? Lie-weakly is the ultimate Euro-snob (he calls the field a “pitch”). He is a poser who does nothing that doesn’t benefit his own authority and stature or AEG’s bottom line. As I said in a post on another threat, he’s either sucking up to European business interests that can help AEG or he’s after Sunil’s job — or he could be sucking up to Beckham’s people to counteract any conflicts they might have. Remember, Beckham would be a major player in any of the English FA’s attempts to secure a World Cup.

  • Studs Up

    You’re preaching to the choir J. D’Hip. I’ve been fighting that battle for longer than I care to mention. Don Quixote has nothing on me figthing the soccer battle in this town.

    Where in Europe do team supporters stay AWAY when their team plays bad, their management screws up or the weather doesn’t cooperate or food is bad. They SIT their butts in the stands INSIDE the stadium and boo and carry signs and make themselves heard.

    Soccer fans in this country have the attitude that the team and league be damned because they can spend their money elsewhere or watch better play on TV at the first sign of trouble.

    What you folks don’t keep in mind is what it takes to own and operate a pro soccer team and a league in this country. You have to toss your hat in the air and be happy that MLS has MANAGED to survive this long.

    USL anyone, WPS anyone, NCAA soccer anyone.

    I know, AYSO for EVERYONE!

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Where in Europe do team supporters stay AWAY when their team plays bad, their management screws up or the weather doesn’t cooperate or food is bad. They SIT their butts in the stands INSIDE the stadium and boo and carry signs and make themselves heard.

    Studs Up, as you well know, the difference is cultural. First, European teams have beeen around for decades (some for more than a century) so they’ve had the chance to build fan loyalty throughout the generations. It’s like the Green Bay Packers or Washington Redskins, here. No U.S. pro soccer team can boast of the same thing (I’m not trying to be patronizing; I know you know what I just said).

    Second, the fact that Americans have a wider range of entertainment options makes them more powerful, and they don’t hesitate to use that power.

    Third, American sports fans believe they are entitled to certain things just because they pay their way. As prices go up, so does the sense of entitlement.

    Perhaps an answer lies in fans across the league forming a united front. I’m sure other MLS fans have similar problems. I certainly don’t want MLS to go away but fans cannot act like doormats just because they want their team to stay. Without fans, there’s no MLS — regardless of how many superstars or sponsorships the league attracts.

  • Studs Up

    The answer is found in stability. MLS needs to hang in there with their baby steps so the soccer culture can mature here. Both for the fans in terms of identity with a local team and for players in term of improving their quality.

    The next 5 years are most crucial for MLS. Don’t mess up this chance people. Balance your criticisms with the positives. SUPPORT MLS NOW.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    One can support MLS without supporting corrupt owners. The owners aren’t the league. Without players and fans, the owners have nothing.

  • Studs Up

    J. D’hip, Where does this animosity and hatred towards the Galaxy and it’s ownership stem from? Did they steal your first born or something? They must have really hurt you somehow.

    Re your point on who needs whom for a pro soccer league in this country, my sustained belief is that we the fans need the owners big time. Specially CORRUPT owners with really deep pockets that would make any European team salivate. More power to them if they can derive a formula to see potential profit in a sustained operation that allows them to give the small minority of sport fans in this country something to hang their soccer hat on.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Studs Up, I’d like to tell you privately, off line. If you’re interested, please send your e-mail address to Nick and he can forward it to me.