Major League Soccer ticket demand in Vancouver has been on the decline, as the Whitecaps have only seen a limited amount of season ticket renewals for the 2020 season.
Vancouver Whitecaps CEO Mark Pannes revealed in a press conference that only 8,800 season ticket packages were renewed and the club was exploring measures to up their attendance and ticket sales at BC Place.
“Tickets are available and I’m not use to that,” Pannes told local media. “That’s something that we’re going to work hard to make it a tough ticket in town. Our magic number is 22,120. I go to bed thinking about twenty-two, one, two, o. We’re trying to reach that number for opening match and then every match after that until we can get enough tickets sold far enough in advance that we can say, let’s try and open upstairs, and really turn this into a big house.”
Pannes’ comments came ahead of the Whitecaps’ February 29 home opener, which resulted in a 3-1 loss at the hands of Sporting Kansas City. While the club did manage to sell out their general admission section for the game, fans are proving reluctant to make the trip to the stadium when the team struggles on the field which Pannes addressed head-on.
“Season ticket sales are down relative to where we’ve been at our peak,” Pannes explained. “Listen, you are what your record says you are, and last year we finished in last place. Do we think we’re better organization than a last place organization? Yeah, we absolutely do. I think it’s evident by the talent that we’re putting on the pitch, but we’re also accountable. We know that at the end of last season, we took a step back. This is not an acceptable level of performance for the club. We believe you are a Whitecaps season ticket holder for a reason and we want you to reawaken that passion for the club.”
Vancouver’s struggles in the stands is in stark contrast with league newcomers Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC. Both clubs faced strong ticket demand for their inaugural matches and home openers, while Los Angeles FC sold out its full season ticket inventory for the third straight year.