According to Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times, the Sounders’ 2011 season ticket package will include 17 Major League Soccer matches and one “big name friendly.”â†µ
Mayers passes on word that the friendly will be one of the top five teams in the world. In my humble opinion, that would mean one of Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, or Bayern Munich (although many would deservedly argue that Munich don’t deserve that title right now). With Chelsea and Barca included in the 2009 package, we can probably cross them off the list. Both Inter and Real traveled to the U.S. this summer.â†µ
Does that leave Seattle with Bayern? Will the Sounders bring in Maize, who’ve had an incredible start to the season? Unlikely. AC Milan have been playing well. Manchester United are currently sitting third and were also in the states this summer. Arsenal don’t make those sorts of preseason tours.â†µ
What’s clear is that by “best in world”, the Seattle front office won’t be judging purely on this season’s results. They’ll be basing their big friendly on what will attract fans to the match. And that’s fine. The Sounders facing off against a world soccer power will be a big revenue maker and draw attention to the club.â†µ
What’s important in this case is that the front office has realized that supporters don’t need three big friendlies to entice them to buy season tickets. The fans don’t want a late-season meaningless match that detracts from important competition. Sounders supporters want trophies. The front office is promising a great balancing act, bringing in revenue from one big match while still focusing on silverware.