Chris Leyden, a spokesperson for SeatGeek, the league’s official resale partner, said ticket demand far exceeds that of any previous MLS event.
Unprecedented demand for Saturday’s MLS Cup final between the Sounders and Toronto FC has sent fans scrambling to the secondary market to either buy tickets or unload them for huge profits.
It took just three minutes Monday for fans to snatch up about 10,000 remaining tickets that MLS made available to the public. Before that, Toronto FC had dispensed of its allotment of 20,000 tickets last weekend, with most going to season-ticket holders and club sponsors.
MLS controls ticket distribution for the game, to be played at an expanded 36,000-seat BMO Field in Toronto. Chris Leyden, a spokesperson for SeatGeek, the league’s official resale partner, said ticket demand far exceeds that of any previous MLS event.
“Looking at the demand for the game against other events in Toronto, it is actually on par with the most recent Raptors and Maple Leafs playoff series we’ve seen,’’ Leyden said Wednesday.
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The Raptors reached the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals last spring, losing to eventual champion Cleveland. The NHL’s Maple Leafs have long been Toronto’s dominant sports franchise by a huge margin in terms of tradition and popularity.
Leyden said by late Wednesday, a seat in the stadium’s lower level was costing at least $325. The best seats, in Row 13 at midfield, were going for just under $600 each.
The “get in” price for the cheapest tickets being offered on SeatGeek was about $200.
Leyden said there should be at least some Seattle presence among the sea of Toronto FC “Reds” supporters expected in the stands. He said about 13 percent of ticket inquiries on the company’s website have come from Washington. Leyden said prices had dropped about 8 percent from the hours immediately after Monday’s official selling out of the game.
“It will be interesting to see if that trend continues, as we often see around sporting events,’’ he added.
The Sounders were given 1,500 tickets as part of their MLS allotment. Some were distributed to fans via a lottery, and others went to players’ families and team sponsors and business partners.
The team also issued a public warning to fans that did receive lottery tickets not to try reselling them. On Monday, Kyle Sheldon, the team’s vice-president of marketing, tweeted out that the Sounders already had revoked MLS Cup tickets and provided a refund to one fan who listed them on a resale website.
A team spokesperson confirmed Wednesday that the club had previously warned fans in writing that any attempted resale of lottery tickets would result in them being revoked and a refund issued.
“The idea is to give our fans a chance to see the team play in the final,’’ the spokesperson said. “That’s why we were making these seats available.’’
The resale ban applies only to the team-distributed lottery tickets, not to seats purchased by fans via the league’s sale. A league spokesperson in New York said MLS does not intervene if fans choose to sell their seats once purchasing them.
There still might be a chance for fans to land seats without paying resale prices. The league held back about 4,500 tickets for other teams, its own employees, sponsors and broadcast partners and any that go unused will be sent to Ticketmaster in days ahead of the game for public sale.
The league spokesperson encouraged fans to leave their contact information on a Ticketmaster wait list in case more seats become available.