Wednesday, June 16, 2004


Home field advantage

One of the toughest things for the United States to secure in World Cup qualifying is a bonafide home-field advantage. The team regularly plays in this country in front of crowds which have very sizable contingents of support for that day's opposition. Despite the supposed "best efforts" of the USSF and the host facility, various means of trying to ensure a pro-US crowd have not helped. Below are several ways the USSF and host facilities can "help the cause", if you will, so a repeat of September 1, 2001 can NEVER happen.

* A LIMITED number of tickets are given to the away federation, with any requests made to the host facility for those seats (split up to ensure no central source of support in the stadium) channeled to the federation. When they're gone, THEY'RE GONE! If there are unsold tickets within that allotment, the visiting federation is to absorb the cost of said seats.

* NO sales by means of Ticketmaster nor point-of-sale tickets in advance of the event. All ticket requests are made by mail, automated telephone system, or the Internet to either the USSF or the host facility's ticket office, with priority ticketing for those with a proven record of prior purchases (it works for the NCAA with respect to the Final Four and Frozen Four, and the USSF should have this information available somewhere at Soccer House). There is NO guarantee of receiving tickets and the USSF and/or the host facility reserve the right to deny ticket requests which might enhance the potential of an adverse game-day experience outcome.

* Group sales are made only to registered USSF organizations (Sam's Army, youth soccer organizations, supporters' clubs of MLS/USL teams, etc.), with a specific member of the host facility's ticket office placed in charge of handling group ticket orders.

* Place opponents strategically. Utilize stadiums which are "out of the way" against opponents who have the potential to bring large traveling parties. Columbus and Kansas City are two good locations for the United States because the local demographics help ensure pro-US support and because they are not easily accessible by air. Foxboro is a great facility because it is in the middle of nowhere between Boston and Providence. Now, if the Revs ticket office would NOT intentionally market matches to fans of the opposition, it would be a perfect facility for qualifiers.

I am looking for feedback, so fire away! Got other ideas? Think mine are dead-wrong? Have at it!
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