For the league’s first 16 years, the finals were played at a pre-determined neutral site, but have now switched to the highest-seed team. However, MLS still has an another ancient policy in place. For their MLS Cup Final, the league put aside only 1,000 tickets for Real Salt Lake, who then decide how to distribute the ticket.
This part of the system has not caused controversy, but rather some smart RSL fans gained access to a secured link through TicketMaster only meant for Sporting Kansas City fans. In the end, RSL fans’ orders didn’t go through; this is totally wrong. If a SKC fan is stupid enough to post the link and any subsequent passwords on a public forum, then all orders should be honored.
At the same time, it is time for MLS to ax the ticket allotment system all together; this issue would not have occurred if this system was not in place. In the future, home supporters and season ticket fans should have the first prerogative to their normal seats before tickets go on sale to the general public. These RSL fans have planned and spent money for flights and hotels, and it is time that the league either refunds them their hotels and flights, or gives these fans tickets to the MLS Cup. A lame league statement that says very little, does very little.
Furthermore, the league should put tickets aside for the away team’s supporters section. Teams do it for rival supports in the regular season, so why is the MLS Cup final any different? Likewise, the loud and rowdy stadium environment would look on national television.
Overall, MLS is making some great strives, but this ticket allotment system and secure links to tickets are not one of them. It’s time this policy changes, before more incidents like this one occurs again.
Follow Phil on Twitter @PNaegelyRS and add him to your Google circles.