Copa América Centenario

American Outlaws Tickets for USA Semifinal Start at $120

The powers that be seem set on making a cash grab instead of focusing on fan support.

by Liam Daniel Pierce
Jun 17 2016, 6:48pm

Delight or rage at inflated ticket prices? You decide. Photo by Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

By the tournament organizer's own admission, Copa America was a hastily organized event, and fans are paying dearly for it with incredibly high ticket prices.

Even price ranges for pre-tournament friendlies for the US Men's National Team were high—starting at a $44 for some warm-up matches. Consequently, only 8,894 showed up in Kansas City's 21,000-person Children's Mercy Park for the match against Bolivia. And now, for the USMNT's semi-final appearance in Houston (likely against the Messi-led Argentina, who face Venezuela in knockouts tomorrow), even supporters groups like the American Outlaws, who offer discounts to their $25-a-year members, are selling tickets for the astronomical price tag of $120 plus fees. The Outlaws make a point to mention that "Copa" set the prices, not them.

From the American Outlaws list serv.

And $120 is just for field-level, behind-the-goal supporters. While nosebleeds go for $96, ticket prices top out at $865:

Nevertheless, people are showing up to games anyway. Seattle drew tremendous crowds (relative to soccer) for last night's quarter final match against Ecuador—though many estimates claimed that there would have been more in attendance had the prices been lower.

For comparison's sake, a World Cup qualifier in Seattle against Panama in 2013 drew 40,847. One would think the demand for a knockout round in an international tournament would have more demand than a World Cup qualifier, but the attendances were basically the same (to say nothing of the growth of soccer's popularity over the last three years).

Charging the most ardent supporters three figures is clearly counterintuitive for US Soccer's stated goal of growing the game. For all their pros and cons, the Outlaws are almost singularly responsible for the stadium atmosphere players and US Soccer officials routinely praise. Why risk generating ill will with your core fanbase? Just for a couple of bucks?