David Falk has followed soccer in the Puget Sound region since 1974. This blog covers Sounders FC, local college soccer, Seattle Wolves FC, Tacoma Tide FC and Kitsap Pumas. Send tips or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click logos for specific club blogs & news
Click logos for specific club blogs & news
Seattle Soccer Examiner
Friday, November 28, 2008
HOT TICKET: Gary Boyle sees Seattle soccer stock rising
Professional soccer in Seattle is going completely the opposite direction of the local and especially the national economy. No one is noticing this more that Sounders FC Customer Sales Rep. Gary Boyle. Gary has gone from sharing space at Pacific Feather Company in SoDo to rubbing elbows with Seahawks staff at the swank new Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton.
If the name 'Gary Boyle' sounds familiar, that's because Gary is one of the employees who has transitioned up from the USL Sounders to the Major League Soccer Sounders FC. In fact, he was one of the very first to do so.
If you haven't been keeping track of Sounders FC ticket sales, here is fair warning: most, if not all of Sounders FC's matches will sell out in 2009, some even before the season starts. Of the anticipated 24,500 seats available per match, only just over 6,000 are left unsold. Time to think about combining with friends on a set of season tickets, eh?
Gary has seen the change in ticket demand blast off from the tepid sales of the United Soccer Leagues Sounders to the red hot surge for Sounders FC.
"As you know," Gary states, "the difference in the caliber (of play between USL and MLS) is not that great. It’s the perception of major league and minor league (that has fueled ticket sales). We both know the soccer community has been waiting for this for a long time." It doesn't hurt that Gary is now surrounded by an office 'team,' either. "The resources we have here make a big difference. First and Goal is an amazing company. I am now one of ten sales representatives."
Most people reading this blog will know Gary through his work with the Sounders of old and new. Gary heard that the USL Sounders were reorganizing their front office in 2001. "I found out that the Sounders were re-organizing from Chris Collins, applied and was offered the Director of Ticket Sales job a few years back." Boyle is a Huskies fan and has officiated high school basketball for thirty-four seasons.
Now the 2009 Sounders FC campaign is fast-approaching, and Boyle is right in the middle of an office buzzing with excitement and effort. "The vibe is incredible. This is the hardest working staff I have ever been a part of. The coolest aspect is how the Seahawks ticket staff has bought into the process, and have sold a lot of seats." How many altogether for the office? Over 18,000 season tickets with four months still to go before kick off. It is the highest total in the 13-year history of Major League Soccer. "Our ultimate goal," notes Boyle, "is 22,000. We won’t go beyond that. We must have inventory for group sales, and some walk-up. We still have a lot of leads, and with more players to be announced and a coach coming, we will reach our goal."
Seattle's ownership group are watching the ticket sales numbers closely. Joe Roth is very interested in ticket sales. He keeps in contact with Gary Wright (club VP) and Chuck Arnold (First and Goal) often. The news remains positive.
If you are going to risk it without a season ticket, you'll need to keep an eye on February, when the league schedule is expected to come out. "Partial packages will be available when the schedule comes out," Gary says. "They will be selected games, probably half the season. As soon as the schedule is announced, single games tickets will go on sale."
At some point the ticket office may have a similar situation to the one they have with the Seahawks: no more tickets left to sell. Will the club consider opening up the Hawk's Nest or other seats then? "If we get in the 20,000 mark for season tickets, it (the 24,500 cut-off) will probably go up a bit. Not sure what that number will be though. It is important to have tickets available for groups, over the long haul, we will always need them."
In the meantime Boyle and the gang are busy convincing fans about the remaining unsold lower bowl seats. "We try and tell fans that there are no bad seats at Qwest Field. Some of the best seats for soccer are from the eighteen yard mark to the end line, and behind the goals. We also have a good amount of club seats left."
Contact Gary Boyle for Sounders FC ticket requests:
Online Request Form
Online Ticket Brochure
You can read more about Gary in this article from SoccerSeattleStyle.com.