FC Cincinnati is ending general admission tickets for the 2020 Major League Soccer (MLS) season as it transitions to its new stadium
The team made its MLS debut in March 2019 and is currently playing at the 33,250-capacity Nippert Stadium, where it will remain before moving into the privately funded $250m (£191.2m/€222.7m) stadium in March 2021.
After becoming the latest MLS expansion franchise, FC Cincinnati has seen its attendance figures shoot up from 17,296 in its 2016 United Soccer League (USL) season to almost 22,000 in 2017 and finally to 25,717 last year.
The club’s vice president for sales Jeff Smith told The Enquirer that general admission seating, which means fans will not have a reserved seat, creates several negative issues, including maintaining the quality of the fan experience and the bleacher seating areas leaving fans with GA tickets without a seat.
Smith said: “We sold out of general admission and then, this is the key to this: They’re bleacher seats. You set down a couple of coats, spread out a little bit, you mark your territory in a way that saves some seats.
“Pretty soon, you run out of seats and general admission ticket holders can’t sit down. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t an enjoyable experience. People didn’t even have seats. Then we had to start carving out overflow areas and that’s a bad business model when you’re taking up reserved seating.
“So, this is the last year for general admission because as we transition to the new stadium, there will be no general admission. There will be super-affordable, entry-level pricing, but we’ve slowly got to transition out of the general-admission mentality for the new venue.”
Some fans are unhappy about the move due to general admission’s cheaper price of $199 for a season ticket, as opposed to $240 for reserved seating. However, Smith assures supporters that the club is going to “keep it affordable” and “protect the fan experience.”
Images: Meis/FC Cincinnati