The other day on Twitter, I came across this tweet by JasonRBNY which immediately took me aback:
Orlando City's supporters section season tickets are 20% more expensive than NYCFC's. pic.twitter.com/iUzYlacPwj— JasonRBNY (@JasonRBNY) December 29, 2014
"That's odd," I thought. I wondered how something like a ticket to a sporting event in Central Florida could be more expensive than its counterpart in New York, which isn't known for being inexpensive. Then I remembered I was reading Twitter and maybe I should take a look and see for myself if it was true and what it actually meant to compare the two.
To compare apples to apples, I considered a full season ticket, paid in full in one payment, rather than a payment plan, which is slightly higher.
The first thing I wanted to know is whether New York City FC supporters are really paying 20% less for their seats. NYCFC is charging supporters $306 for full season tickets, while OCSC supporters are paying $370. That's a little bit more than 20% greater than NYCFC fans are being charged if you just look at the raw prices.
But NYCFC's season ticket comes down to $18 per game for 17 home games. Orlando City SC charges $18.50 per game for 20 home dates (all home MLS matches, plus three additional games, which might be friendlies or U.S. Open Cup). So Lions tickets are just a teensy bit more on a per-game basis.
Then I looked at the seating charts. NYCFC supporters are paying half a buck less per match, but they're also sitting further away. Here is New York's seating diagram at Yankee Stadium for 2015:
As you can see, sections 235 and 236 are off the field, with spectator areas below them, while sections 237 and 238 are above the bullpen. Supporters basically sit from behind the goal to the corner flag. But they're not right on top of the field, where they could be more intimidating to the visiting team. I've been assured by some who have visited Yankee Stadium that the seats are not considered "upper deck," but clearly they are up off the field.
The Citrus Bowl supporters section is the entirety of the south end zone. These seats are the closest to the byline and, as we've seen in the USL Pro matches, will allow Orlando City fans to raise quite a ruckus (see what I did there?). Here is the configuration for Orlando:
Orlando's setup is worth more than an additional 50 cents per game, which is about 3% more on a per-ticket basis than what NYCFC is charging. I also like the idea of getting additional friendlies and potentially U.S. Open Cup matches with my season tickets. All things considered, Orlando City supporters are getting a better comparative deal than their NYCFC counterparts. Plus, our stadium sightlines work well for soccer, as opposed to the baseball-only configuration of Yankee Stadium.
Let's see how another team using a baseball stadium is doing things. We don't have to look any further than Orlando City's USL Pro affiliate in Louisville for this exercise. Louisville City FC will play at Louisville Slugger Field next season, and they'll use this configuration:
They're using four sections on the byline, putting their supporters close to the action.
I think the supporters should always be right next to the field to ensure the best possible atmosphere. If I were in charge of NYCFC, I'd put the Third Rail folks in sections 132-136, placing them right on top of the field for as wide a swath of the byline as possible, affecting corner kicks on both sides.
What do you think? Where should supporters sit in each venue?