Baker's City Bites: 10-27-21
Last week, thousands of St. Louis CITY SC supporters got the chance to put their money where their fandom is and become inaugural season ticket holders in the supporters section of CITY's new stadium for the 2023 season. While that was overwhelmingly the biggest thing to happen for CITY and fans last week, we also saw an incredibly active weekend of events. The CITY U16 and U17 Academy teams played a combined four matches and the Dutchtown area of the City of St. Louis had a huge community clean up event and soccer celebration that saw a large supporter turnout as well.
Setting up the week, CITY had previously announced there would be windows of opportunity that every supporter section deposit holder would be placed into according to the timestamp on their deposit. For instance, if you completed your deposit at 9am during a presale, you would be "in line" ahead of someone who placed their deposit at 10am. On Monday, 10/18, Caleb Leon, Manager of Support Ticket Sales and Service, sent deposit holders an email informing them of their window. There were afternoon windows from Tuesday 10/19 - Thursday 10/21 that everyone was slotted into. When your window came, you could access the link emailed to you or login to SeatGeek and purchase up to 4 tickets (anything more and you needed to reach out to the club for assistance). The process itself was straightforward on a desktop. Mobile was a bit more cumbersome, but you could select any of the 6 sections on the lower level of the North End and choose your seat. For statistical and inventory purposes, everyone was assigned a section, row, and seat number, but rest assured, the entire section is GA.
With such an easy process, Day 1 came and went and saw screenshot after screenshot of the purchase confirmation screen light up social media as the most passionate CITY fans were touting their season ticket holder status. Day 2 brought an exciting twist to this as CITY's app was updated to give every season ticket holder a new badge to indicate their status as a season ticket holder and as CXO Matt Sebek can attest, a connection with fans was made and fans were excited about sharing it. An exciting glimpse ahead for those with General Reserve deposits when their opportunity comes to purchase in Spring 2022 also, as this is not a unique badge for the supporters section.
Everyone is always interested in numbers. We were justifiably proud of our 30,000 deposits in the first 15 minutes they went on sale and 50,000 deposits in the first 24 hours for season tickets, so I was intensely curious how our supporter section sales were going last week. Speculation is the name of the game right now as we look at just how many tickets may have actually been sold last week, as the club has yet to officially announce anything. The first thing to keep in mind is that we do not know how many season tickets were made available this past week or will be available in total. We know there are over 3,000 seats, but the club hasn't made an official statement whether all of them will eventually go to season ticket holders or if single game tickets will be available. Here's what we can ascertain from SeatGeek information:
⦁ At the end of the first day there were ~1,655 tickets listed available on SeatGeek.
⦁ At the end of the second day there were ~971 tickets available.
⦁ At the end of the third day there were ~598 tickets available.
⦁ By 10/26, there were 414 tickets showing available
Based on these and assuming first day sales were the highest but not overwhelmingly higher than the 2nd day's sales (estimating around 700 or so), then we could be looking at a total of between 1900-2100 season tickets sold in the supporter section in just the first week. This would leave around 900-1100+ left for either future season ticket sales or single game tickets. Either way, it is a safe bet that the club will look to partner with supporter groups including the Louligans, Boone's Brigade, and any other group that may form between now and 2023 to expand the base of this section. This, in addition to more isolated sales for those who just want to be a part of the atmosphere to cheer on their club without affiliating with a group, it is clear the section is well on its' way to full capacity. For reference, clubs like Austin FC cap overall season tickets in the entire stadium at around 75% of capacity. We'll see if the supporter section mirrors that in the coming months as numbers are released by the club. For anyone reading this and still considering if tickets in this section may be for you, a reminder that Brad from the St. Louligans has an excellent article on just what you can expect in the supporters section here.
After the excitement of season tickets going on sale, the supporters and all CITY fans were treated to back-to-back days of high quality soccer on the field too. The St. Louis CITY SC Academy U16 and U17 teams plays Michigan Wolves Soccer Club on Saturday and Vardar Soccer Club, also from Michigan, on Sunday with both games being played at Creve Coeur Soccer Complex. Both squads continued their impressively high-quality play at home with 3 wins and a draw. Saturday saw the U16 squad put up a clean sheet against Michigan Wolves, 3-0, forcing an own goal off a header by Jack DiMaria by Wolves and adding goals by Edin Prgo and Eddie Stewart. The U16s completed their weekend sweep on Sunday with a 4-1 win over Vardar on the backs of a brace by Omar Čilić, a goal by the ever-present Jackson Delkus, and by Gavin Netzel. The U16 squad is now 5-0 with a +20-goal differential in MLS Next League play.
The U17s started the weekend with a back-and-forth contest against Michigan Wolves but came away with a 2-2 draw. Anthony Faupel ensured the squad went into half tied, pulling CITY even in the 38th minute with his 5th goal of the year, while Josh Maher opened the second half strong, netting his 2nd goal of the year in the 49th minute. Michigan would quickly tie the game back up though and CITY ended their first weekend match with 1 point. The following day though, the U17s delivered an impressive performance on both sides of the ball for the home fans, netting 4 and coming away with a clean sheet. Aaron Heard started the sequence for the first goal with a corner delivered perfectly for a header by Braydon Sellers, his 2nd goal of the year, in the 28th minute. Yet another cross only 5 minutes later, this time delivered by Max Vuong to Kai Pope to head it in for his 4th of the year. Tyler Sargent's quick move to keep the ball in the attacking zone after his shot on frame ensured Kai Pope his 2nd of the game and 5th of the season in the 38th minute to put CITY up 3-0 at half. After changes in the second half, CITY added an exclamation mark in the form of Miguel Perez hitting a through ball pass from Nathan Ferguson home in the 70th minute for his 5th goal of the year and a fantastic finish to the weekend for the squad.
For full match day recaps including starting lineups and further details from each match, check out CITY's recap here. Both teams will welcome Michigan Jaguars this Saturday 10/30 at 10am, to Creve Coeur Soccer Complex to continue MLS Next league play.
Finally, this weekend saw a lot of the same supporters who were excited about season tickets get out and support the community with a Community Clean Up and Fútbol Festival event organized by the Dutchtown neighborhood at Marquette Park, at and around the site of the new Futsal Court. Numerous members of The Thieves, Louligans, Show Up Make Noise, and Umoja STL, in collaboration with numerous other community groups showed up and lent a hand to our neighbors by picking up trash, clearing alley ways, removing numerous bulk trash items, and helping to make Dutchtown and Marquette Park a cleaner, safer place to live and play. This was done to the backdrop of CITY SC coaches and staff running a clinic on and around the futsal court for youth in the area, which had been talked about by CITY at and before the futsal court opening weeks ago. As the focus this week has been on supporters, this is a perfect reminder that showing up and making noise inside the stadium may be what often gets the attention but being good partners in our community and helping those who need it the most, through efforts such as Charity Du Jour donations at events and community driven initiatives such as this, may be the most important thing that soccer supporters in STL can do now and going forward.
By Matt Baker