Sunday, May 9, 2010

SOUNDERS FC: Opinion: Club's decision to comp season ticket holders for Saturday's loss could backfire in long haul

Buy one get one free.

Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer said that season ticket owners who endured Saturday's 4-0 blowout loss to the Galaxy would be compensated for the disaster they witnessed. Hanauer, and the rest of management, have reportedly agreed to give season ticket holders one free game for the 2011 season.

While fans may initially rejoice at the decision, the free match sets a dangerous precedent for the club and its owners.

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"We want our fans committed for the long haul and we think this is the right thing to do for our fans," Hanauer said. "The refund will come in the form of a credit against next year's season tickets."

This type of compensation never happens in American pro sports.

Imagine the Detroit Lions giving fans free tickets for each beating they took during the 0-16 run. Or what if the Mariners opened the stadium for a free attendance day after a lengthy losing streak?

It doesn't happen because teams lose. Sometimes, they lose bad (Seattle sports fans should know a thing or two about that.) Teams cannot afford to repay fans for a poor showing on the field.

Hanauer said that the move is not a precedent and stressed that fans won't get their money back for every blow out.

"As the owners of the club we reserve the right to do whatever we think we need to do to treat our fans the way they’ve treated us," Hanauer said.

But, who's to say Seattle won't come back home and lose 5-0? While that seams unlikely, even for the struggling squad, a precedent has been set here. This show of compassion toward fans could backfire for the owners in the long run.

The fans have been supportive but they won't hang around if the losses and bad draws continue. How will the club compensate fans then?

What do the readers think?

Reach Aaron Weinberg at