Darren Eales told Doug Roberson of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that Atlanta United FC will begin the process of converting the Founders Club members into full season ticket holders within the next two months.
Season ticket deposits have been reported as high as 30,000, and while there is no guarantee deposits carry a 100 percent conversion rate, Atlanta United fans still have a year to fill any leftover seats or pick up seats others may have dropped after prices are announced. For some MLS media, the 30,000 deposits is a close representation of the number of season ticket holders Atlanta United will have come 2017.
Buzz in Baltimore is that Atlanta United could have 30,000 real season ticket holders in 2017. Which ... wow.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) January 14, 2016
One of the most important factors inviting and dissuading potential buyers will be the prices of those season tickets. While we still have roughly two months until those numbers are revealed, let’s continue the DSS trend of 2015 and early 2016: Speculation!
Orlando City SC and New York City FC are the most recent teams to convert inaugural season ticket deposits, and while the markets of these teams are vastly unique to one another and Atlanta, the information offers Atlanta United supporters a gauge as to the prices they can expect. I’ve also included the Seattle Sounders since they host matches in a football-specific stadium.
Orlando City plays in the Citrus Bowl which has a maximum seating capacity of 65,438. For OCSC purposes the stadium is reduced to 19,500. The team released their season ticket prices in May of 2014 and after all the discounts, the Supporters section tickets came out to $16 a game, $320 for the season. The package mandated that the individual pay full price up front to receive 35 percent off the standard ticket price. Midfield tickets priced at $680 after the same discounts.
NYCFC plays in Yankee Stadium which, when configured for soccer matches, usually seats 33,444 fans. The team occasionally opened up more seats for select matches like the Hudson River Derby. Supporter section tickets were priced at $16 per game, $306 for the 2015 season, a surprisingly lower number considering the venue and operations cost of the team. However, season tickets have jumped to $374 for 2016 Supporter section seats.
The Seattle Sounders play in Century Link Field, one of two current teams to play in NFL stadiums. It should be noted that the Sounders arguably have the highest demand for season ticket among its’ fan base. When configured for soccer matches, the stadium holds roughly 40,000 fans and priced their supporters section at $484.50 for 2016.
Some season ticket packages also include CONCACAF Champions League and US Open Cup matches.
Considering these three MLS teams, the two newbies and an established franchise with a high demand for season tickets, we can begin to gauge what the prices may look like for Atlanta United in 2017. The high demand shown in the amount of season ticket deposits shows an obviously high demand for Atlanta United season tickets.
My best guess for Atlanta United Supporter section season tickets is around $350. The inaugural season prices for OCSC and NYCFC will keep 2017 prices at the lower end of the league. Eales has also expressed making sure ticket prices are affordable enough to convert as many season ticket deposits as possible, so it is hard to imagine those prices starting at a level comparable to the Seattle Sounders.
"Everyone will be pleasantly surprised that we are trying to make seats affordable for everyone in our diverse fan base,"
-Darren Eales; Source: AJC
While I haven't been able to find reliable sources on other MLS season ticket conversion rates, the percentages range from 75 to 125 percent. One specific comment suggested 110 to 125 percent conversion rates for the last eight MLS expansion teams. An optimistic and safe guess with the amount of interested expressed in Atlanta United would be anywhere from 80 to 90 percent conversion rate. The prices Atlanta United sets will obviously play a huge role in how high that percentage ends up being.
Ultimately, ticket prices will likely resemble Atlanta Braves ticket prices: Roughly $16-$22 if you can grab a Supporter section ticket. It is my expectation that 90 percent of weekend games will fill the lower bowl of The Benz to its' entirety. It is my hope that Atlanta United will be forced to open the upper deck for at least half the games in the 2017 season. That would be a recipe for a strong, faithful fan base.