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#TrophiesNotFriendlies - why big name international friendlies mean little for RSL

trophies not friendlies
trophies not friendlies

Yes I get it, we would all love to be able to watch Barca, ManU, or some other big name clubs show up to play Real Salt Lake. You can count me in with that number, but I also understand the reality of the situation from a business side as well. We do not have a stadium that holds 50,000 or one that we can easily schedule a match like this at and to be honest you need either to be willing to take a loss on the event or you need a stadium of that size.

See these teams aren't here for the fun of it, they are here to make money and for big name clubs you are talking about 1.5-2.5 million dollars plus expenses. So let's think about what we are asking for, if we were to max out Rio Tinto (as we did last weekend with 20,500 tickets) you would need to sell each of those tickets for an average of $72.50 to hit the bottom end to $125 on the high end just to cover the fee. Yup everyone is excited until they have to pony up $100 per ticket, then all of a sudden they complain about it being too expensive. So what about going back up to Rice Eccles, well these teams most often won't play on turf (I wonder why) so first you have to rent the stadium (for multiple days) then you have to pay to lay down sod, then you have to pay the 1.5 to 2.5 million plus expense for the event, so tickets are still going to be between $50 and $100 a pop in order to not lose money on the event.

more after the jump:

This is an easy sale for some fans, and also easier when you have a major city like New York, Washington, Boston, Seattle, or LA to draw from, but we aren't there we are in frugal Salt Lake City, where people wait for the last minute hoping to get a deal. They will stand in line at 5:30am the day of a big match to get tickets, why because they waited hoping for a deal, and when they don't get one they will come but now they pay the price in time.

But back to the matches, I would much rather focus on matches that matter in real competitions. Things like Champions League may not be known by casual sports fans but soccer fans know what this type of tournament is all about, being the best of the best in your region. Oh yes the fans of European soccer will want to see their favorite team show up, but they also will be there celebrating as the team moves forward in a real competition (we are drawing better for CCL matches than most teams ever have). I am more than willing to let teams who are unsure of their making the playoffs or without extra meaningful matches be the ones that schedule these types of matches.

I will take Real Salt Lake facing Barcelona in the FIFA World Club Cup with both sides taking it seriously over a match were both sides play some of their starters for a limited time. I think RSL has brought in a great wealth of teams that have huge appeal based on the demographic of our market, Club America, Chivas (not the cheap US version), the All Star match, and of course the CCL matches with Cruz Azul, Saprissa, and hopefully one more with either Cruz or Monterry.

As I said at the start I would love to see a couple international matches, but they take a much lower priority for me than do matches could lead to trophies. In our attempt to be the first team in MLS to ever win #TheQuad (Champions League, US Open Cup, Supporters' Shield, and MLS Cup), anything other than those matches seems more a distraction. Now of course were Liverpool, Fullham, Roma, or some other team come to town I would be happy to attend, but given the limited schedule and huge expense involved in those types of matches. I for one am very happy with the schedule we have planned for 2011.

We should always remember #TrophiesNotFriendlies