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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Town Hall & Oates - You're Out Of Touch

---The two on the left got it way worse than the four on the right

Not exactly a full house, I rushed over for the first pantomime session in hopes someone hit'em hard.

Someone did.

Pre-talkie time, I overheard Mr Anselmi discuss about how "the Champions League is the best" and he "doesn't get it" why attendance is poor. Here's why in a nutshell - the people who care about seeing the Panamanian champs or the El Salvadorian champs live in Panama and El Salvador. Pumas doesn't capture the imagination. Neither does Real Salt Lake. Ever.

Winter was handed the microphone and started talking about fishing. Then I realized that English v's are Dutch f's and decrypted that he was saying "vision". I'm too tired to be doing this...

I didn't document everything, but enough.

1) Asked about the youth team and tried to get an answer regarding how many of the youth players are legitimate full-squad members, injuries notwithstanding and how many youthies do they see coming through next year? Too many questions and only the last one was addressed, being one or two kids could break through. Shame.

2) Then a gentleman from the back took the mic and laid it all out.

Season one was full of highs and lows, but there was a definite hope in the air. We didn't make the play-offs, but there was a sense of camaraderie between the front-office, the field and the fans, essentially we were all in this together.

The next three seasons, TFC continued to struggle on the field, but the real losing attitude was happening off the field. As a fan I, I started to turn to MLSE as the source of my frustration. 

This season the unprofessional and sheer corporate nature of MLSE came to light when our #1 goal-scorer, DeRosario was let go. Although we may never know the real story, if there is one, we did get a sense that his relationship with MLSE went sour, and that definitely translated on field.

Currently we are third last in the league, and have the worst Goal Differential in the league. In fairness, it's easy to pull a few stats out of context, but I think it's fair to say that we really had a losing season, definitely the most disappointing from a season ticket holder’s perspective.

I kept getting told that we are re-building. This is fine. The message I'm reading in the brochure is that MLSE has a plan Mr. Season ticket holder, just be patient.
It great on paper, but the only thing that I've actually been feeling is disrespected, as there were many chances for MLSE to actually extend a meaningful "I'm sorry", but instead chose corporate greed.

  • Concacaf Champions league
    • Seattle: General Admission $15 to all 3 home games.
    • TFC: Tickets in line with regular season pricing
    • The would have help re-build the relationship between Front Office and the Season Ticket Holders
    • Result: Real Esteli game drew 10,000
Here's a prime example for the front office to say "Mr. Season Ticket Holder, we value your loyalty, go see these games on us" or “as a season ticket holder, we realize that our product has suffered a bit this season, thanks for sticking with us, here's a discount of 25%, 50%"

No such thing happened.

Now here we are again, and let me frame things from my perspective.

For 5 seasons, I've been coming to games, buying merchandise, saving up for season tickets. And for five seasons I've been feeling more and more disrespected, and unacknowledged by MLSE.

This is the fifth season of tension between what's happening on the field, and off the field, the fifth season of "we'll do better next year".

If you simply look at this in terms of a relationship, I'm putting in all the work, and I can't do it anymore, I'm tired and I'm broken. The MLSE crushed my spirits.

With all this said, how can you expect me to renew my seats?

What have you done to give me hope, a brochure?

You have frozen the pricing, is that a token of your respect? Is anybody in your office so delusional that there was ever talk of raising the price? The price freeze was evident, where's the thank you?

You are re-building, you've said it yourself. What that means is that your product is in a state of repair. When products re-brand, they give out samples, have sales, and extend their best efforts to retain existing clients. What are you doing? You're telling me that I have the privilege of paying another few thousand while you resolve your problems between the front of house and the field?

Your pricing strategy is assuming there is a healthy amount hope and faith instilled in the season ticket holders ... well there's not. Not right now at least. I can't find anyone in my section to split a set of seasons tickets 2,3, even 4 ways! The players and coaching staff kept our flame burning, but the decision by MLSE to disrespect us season ticket holders with a "pay the same price... even though we're re-building" attitude crushed us, and put out our flames.
I suspect not, but I hope so.

My final word of advice is that when you see that your season ticket renewals are not what you hoped, don't give us a free game, and give us some respect. Acknowledge those that have been around since day 1, and apologize with something meaningful ... or you could freeze prices, get some different asses in the seasons seats, and repeat this all again in 5 years, I guess it's up to you.

~ Joe* (thank you for the copy of the speech)

* "Joe" isn't connected with The Yorkies and his feelings are his own. However, we wanted his eloquent "common supporter's" speech to reach a larger audience than that of a Town Hall. Re-printed with Joe's permission and published un-edited from his original.

Later on in the Q&A, Anselmi made a comment regarding the new training facility "$20 million towards an academy, the big bad MLSE investing in Canadian soccer". Someone needs to tell him that a number of us don't care so much what you're doing with our season ticket money as much as we would like you to stop asking for so much of our money at every turn. ($9 beer anyone? How about a $120 replica that you can get in Niagara Falls for $70? 3/4 empty stadium for Champs League without an attempt to discount tickets?)

3) Question was asked about how the office was going to go about "bringing back the buzz"? The questioner remarking that he "can't give the tickets away these days".

4) Favourite quote was "we need 3 more Eckersleys". Truth.

5) Winter mentions that since Jan 21, the team has flown over 150,000 km and been away 172 days. I have to believe Soolsma has smuggled Suarez on at least three of these road trips...

6) Another quality anecdote : "Paul mentions to me shortly after I arrived, he says, 'Bob, I have to warn you, the refs in this league are poor.' I had no idea they were so poor." Bob de Klerk briefed on the state of officiating in MLS.

I realise at this moment that I have not heard Bob de Klerk speak before tonight and that he totally sounds like a Dutch Christopher Walken. Coincidentally, Wikipedia mentions that Christopher Walken sounds like an American Bob de Klerk but that goes without saying...

Still "out of touch".


  1. thanks for posting this, very insightful...and now I hate MLSE even more...

  2. Sounds like they still just don't get it. Lots of empty seats next year no matter how many renewals they claim to sell