2020 Regular Season Update
On June 3rd, Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Association ratified a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. This will clear the way for the league to play a summer tournament in Orlando, Florida.
The tournament, which will take place at ESPN Wide World of Sports on Disney World property, will be closed to fans. Players and team staff will be tested for COVID-19, and go through various safety protocols. More details on the plans for the tournament below:
Under the current plan, teams would arrive in Orlando on June 24, then train for two weeks. After this mini-preseason, the tournament would commence with a three-game group stage followed by a single-elimination knockout round. Teams would leave Orlando immediately after being eliminated
This would keep teams in Orlando for 35 days at most instead of the league’s previous plan, which would have lasted more than 10 weeks. The timeline addresses widespread concerns from players throughout the league about extended separation from their families.
Garber said the league is still finalizing details of the Orlando tournament and declined to comment on tournament dates and broadcast plans
UPDATE (6/10) It was announced today that the MLS tournament will begin on July 8th. Here is a list of other key dates:
June 24: Teams begin arriving in Florida
July 8: Group stage begins
July 25-28: Round-of-16
July 30- Aug. 1: Quarterfinals
Aug. 5-6: Semifinals
Aug. 11: MLS is Back Tournament Final
For more details, check out this article from ESPN.
UPDATE (6/11) Here are the results for the draw for the MLS is Back Tournament via ESPN:
GROUP A (Eastern Conference)
1. Orlando City SC*
2. Inter Miami CF
3. New York City FC
4. Philadelphia Union
5. Chicago Fire
6. Nashville SC
GROUP B (Western Conference)
1. Seattle Sounders*
2. FC Dallas
3. Vancouver Whitecaps
4. San Jose Earthquakes
GROUP C (Eastern Conference)
1. Toronto FC*
2. New England Revolution
3. Montreal Impact
4. D.C. United
GROUP D (Western Conference)
1. Real Salt Lake*
2. Sporting Kansas City
3. Colorado Rapids
4. Minnesota United
GROUP E (Eastern Conference)
1. Atlanta United*
2. FC Cincinnati
3. New York Red Bulls
4. Columbus Crew SC
GROUP F (Western Conference)
2. LA Galaxy
3. Houston Dynamo
4. Portland Timbers
* denotes seeded team in each groupUPDATE (6/24) MLS has released its full playoff schedule. Check it out here.
Coronavirus Impact On MLS
With the entire 2020 season being played in Orlando and without fans, we estimate the lost revenue for secondary market MLS tickets is just over $640 million. That estimate is based on secondary market value, average attendance from the 2020 season, and the number of games canceled. This is not a precise measure, but the simplest way to benchmark the magnitude of losses, by team. Below is a breakdown of the teams with the biggest impact across MLS:
Where To Buy 2020 MLS Tickets
Primary market face value MLS tickets and season ticket management for the 2020 season is provided by Ticketmaster, Seatgeek, AXS, Paciolan, and TicketPro. Most MLS teams do have unsold tickets available to face price, so it's important to shop around when looking for the cheapest ticket prices for any MLS game. Most teams have unsold tickets available for face value for the majority of games, which means it's important to shop around to check all your options before making buying.
TicketIQ has a Low Price Guarantee on Major League Soccer tickets for all games on the 2020 schedule, which means that if you find a secondary market ticket for less on a site like Stubhub or Vividseats, we’ll give you 200% of the difference in ticket credit. TicketIQ customers save an average of 5%-20% compared to Stubhub and Vividseats.
How Much Are 2020 MLS Tickets
Major League Soccer will kick off its 25th season on Saturday, February 29 with eight games and two new teams — Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC. The league debuted in 1995, and 25 years later has grown from 10 teams to 26, with plans to have 29 teams by 2022. Teams will debut in Austin in 2021 and Sacramento and St. Louis in 2022. The average asking price for an MLS ticket hasn’t been a straight line, but heading into the 2020 season, it sits at $58, a 10% increase over last season, the fourth-highest in MLS history. The priciest average was $77 last year, and the second-highest was $66 in 2018.
Inter Miami CF currently has an average asking price of $90, making it the third priciest seat in the league — and that’s even before a single ball has been dribbled on the brand new pitch at the team’s Lockhart Stadium.
Winning keeps fans interested in their favorite team, and that adage is proven by the $111 average asking price for an LAFC match. That average is the third highest for a single team in league history, and only the eighth time a team has broken the $100 barrier for average asking price in 25 seasons. The priciest tickets were $167 for Atlanta FC in 2018 when it won the MLS Cup in only its second season, and $157 for the Portland Timbers, when they turned a fifth-place finish into the West into a berth in the MLS Cup against Atlanta in 2018.
But it is the Seattle Sounders who are seeing the biggest price bump heading into 2020. The average asking price for a Sounders ticket is up 48% to $86 after beating Toronto FC in the MLS Cup.
The best deal in the league will be in Montreal, where the Impact, which again missed the playoffs in 2019, have a league-low average asking price of $26, down 13% from last season. A total of five teams have average asking prices of less than $40.
|Team||Average Secondary Price||
Year Over Year Change
|Inter Miami CF||$90||N/A|
Looking at the overall price for all MLS teams on the secondary market, you can see the prices hit an all-time high in 2018 when the league-wide average was $58 per ticket. At that point, prices had increased by 21% since prices hit their lowest mark in 2013. After dropping by 9% heading into the 2019 season, ticket prices are starting to tick back up again. For 2020, the overall MLS average price is back at $58, which is up just under 10% since last season.
Most Expensive 2020 MLS Teams
Three of the five priciest tickets on the secondary market are based on the West coast, and the most expensive ticket in 2020 belongs to LAFC, which got to the Western Conference Finals last year before losing to the eventual MLS Cup champion, Seattle. That success is reflected in the $111 average asking price, and is only one of two average prices across the league above $100. The Portland Timbers, a perennial powerhouse that had an unusual season and was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, is the second most expensive, at $110. The next priciest ticket will be a seat to the see Inter Miami FC’s debut season. Miami is a hotbed of soccer interest in the U.S., and British soccer star David Beckham owns the team, so there is plenty of hype. The average asking price is currently $90, followed by Atlanta United, with an $87 average asking price, and the defending champion Seattle Sounders, with an $86 average asking price.
Just missing the Top 5: Los Angeles Galaxy ($72); Sporting Kansas City ($71); Minnesota United ($67); Toronto FC ($67), Vancouver Whitecaps ($64)
Least Expensive MLS Teams
The best value in the MLS are all in cold weather locations, at least in the early-part of the season. The cheapest seat in the league in 2020 will be $26 for a chance to the see the Montreal Impact, who failed to qualify for the postseason for the third consecutive time. The Impact had the cheapest ticket ($30) last year, as well. The New England Revolution, a founding team coached by former U.S. Olympic coach Bruce Arena, did break its playoff drought in 2019, but at $34, tickets are still cheap. The next three cheapest tickets are all under $40: $36 to see NYCFC who split games between Yankee Stadium and Citi Field; $38 for a seat the Philadelphia Union; and $39 for a chance to see the Chicago Fire in their first season at Soldier Field.
Just missing the Bottom 5: Orlando City ($40); NY Red Bulls ($41); FC Dallas ($42) and Columbus Crew ($42); Real Salt Lake ($43).
Biggest 2020 MLS Price Gainers and Losers
Biggest MLS Ticket Price Gainers
After winning their second MLS Cup in four years, fans have a renewed interest in seeing the Seattle Sounders play at Century Link Field. Heading into the season, their average ticket price is up 48%, and the $86 average asking price ranks No. 5 in the league. Four other teams are seeing increases of 23% or more, including a 32.5% gain for the Portland Timbers, 26% for LAFC, 24% for Toronto FC, and 23.5% for FC Dallas. Three of those five teams — Seattle, LAFC and Toronto — made it to the MLS semifinals last season, and LAFC also won the Western Conference in just its second season. Portland, one of only two teams with an average of $110 or above, had a tough end to last season, losing in the first round of the playoffs, but interest has peaked again after a fruitful off-season. The team was able to re-sign striker Diego Valeri, and also added more scoring power with Jaroslaw Niezgoda and Felipe Mora.
Just missing the Top 5: Real Salt Lake (19.4%); Los Angeles Galaxy (16%); FC Cincinnati (12.8%); Colorado Rapids (10.4%); Philadelphia Union (8.6%)
Biggest MLS Ticket Price Decliners
Eight MLS teams have seen a decline in average asking price between 2019 and 2020, with three seeing a double-digit decline. The Vancouver Whitecaps, who last made the playoffs in 2017, had the biggest drop, down 14%, but they’re still among the Top 10 in terms of average asking price at $64. During the off-season, the Whitecaps added a fresh face in coach Marc Dos Santos in hopes of boosting interest. Montreal and Orlando City are the other two double-digit decliners. It’s probably no surprise that Montreal had a significant decline after failing to make the postseason, but since then, it's added Thierry Henry as coach and the team beat Toronto for the Canadian Championship. Orlando City hasn’t made the playoffs in five years of existence, and the average asking price is down 11% and at a $40 average. At those prices, Orlando is the sixth-cheapest place to see an MLS game in 2020. Rounding out the Top 5 decliners are Atlanta, which dropped 9.4%, and the New York Red Bulls, who dropped nearly 7%. Despite the significant drop, Atlanta’s $87 average asking price is the fourth highest in the league.
Just missing the Bottom 5: San Jose Earthquakes (4.3%); Sporting Kansas City (4%); NYCFC (2.7%); Minnesota United (0%)
MLS Top 10 Most Expensive 2020 Games
As you can see below, this year's list of most expensive games is dominated by Los Angeles teams. Of the ten games on the list, 6 of the games are being played in at the LA Galaxy's Dignity Health Sports Park or LAFC's Banc of California Stadium. A 7th game on the list features the LA Galaxy March 14th visit to Inter Miami CF. Two of the remaining three most expensive games are being played in Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and Seattle makes the list for their August 22nd game against the rival Portland Timbers.
MLS Expansion Team Prices Since 2011
With MLS once again adding a couple of new teams for the 2020 season, we wanted to take a look at average prices for all expansion teams since 2011. As you can see below, this year's expansion Inter Miami CF is the third most expensive team on the list with a $90 secondary market average. This year's other expansion team, Nashville SC, is on the other end of the spectrum and ranks as the third least expensive expansion team since 2011.
MLS Team Value Index (Cost per point based on projected points total)
|Team||Avg Secondary Price||Points||Cost Per Point|
|New England Revolution||$34||45||$0.76|
|NY Red Bulls||$41||50||$0.82|
Columbus Crew FC
San Jose Earthquakes
|Real Salt Lake||$43||46||$0.93|
|Orlando City SC||$40||42||$0.95|
Minnesota United FC
Atlanta United FC
Sporting Kansas City
Seattle Sounders FC
|Los Angeles FC||$111||67||$1.66|
|Inter Miami CF||$90||51||$1.76|
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Based on each team’s average ticket price on the secondary market and season projections, we can determine each team’s value in terms of dollars per point. There are plenty of opportunities to get the most bang for your buck. The number is derived by dividing the projected number of wins into the average asking price on the secondary market.
In terms of “cost per point,” the best deal in the league will be for the NYCFC, where the cost per point is 64 cents. Tickets are cheap, even though NYCFC are projected to be one of the best teams in MLS this season. So if you’re in the neighborhood, it’s a great opportunity to see your team on the road. Other teams that based on their point total vs their secondary market average price that will be providing their teams with great deals are the Montreal Impact, Philadelphia Union, New England Revolution, and Chicago Fire.
At the other end of the spectrum, the priciest teams are also the teams that are the worst value in terms of "team value index." For example, the team with the highest “cost per point” is the Portland Timbers, meaning fans will pay a premium for a seat to see the Timbers play at home. The Vancouver White Caps, inter Miami CF, LAFC, and the Season Sounders round out Top 5 highest team value index. Of the five, Vancouver is really the worst deal as they're projected for only 31 points on the season.
TicketIQ is committed to Transparent Ticketing and offers Low Price Guarantees on sold out tickets + unsold face value ticket through Ticketmaster, Eventbrite and other partners.
2019 MLS Ticket Market Summary Below:
With the weather warming across the country and the league tables starting to take shape, the MLS ticket market is poised to heat up over the summer. In the Eastern Conference, DC United, The Impact and the Philly Union are off the the strongest starts. MLS Champion Atlanta United, on the other hand, has not been able to recapture the success of last season so far, with eight wins in the first fifteen games of their Cup defense campaign, and currently are 4th in the Eastern Conference. Despite being middle of the pack when it comes to on-field performance, ticket prices for ATL United FC still are tops in the MLS based on average price on the secondary ticket market for their games at Mercedes Benz Stadium.
Tickets are available for most teams through both unsold primary ticketing platforms and secondary ticket marketplaces like TicketIQ. TicketIQ is a ticket market place with access to Low Price Guarantees on MLS Tickets. If you find the same ticket for less on another secondary marketplace, we'll give you 200% of the difference in ticket credit. Below is a list of the secondary ticket prices and links to TicketIQ for each MLS team, along with links to their primary ticketing site where face price tickets are available. Face value tickets and season ticket management for the majority of MLS teams is provided by Ticketmaster (11 teams), Seatgeek (6 teams) and AXS (5 teams), with Paciolan and TicketPro each working with a single team. Most MLS teams do have unsold tickets available to face price, so it's important to shop around when looking for the cheapest ticket prices for any MLS game.
|Eastern Conference||Avg Secondary Price||
Primary Market Tickets
|Atlanta United FC Tickets||$96||Ticketmaster|
|Columbus Crew FC Tickets||$41||Ticketmaster|
|Orlando City SC Tickets||$48||Ticketmaster|
|Chicago Fire Tickets||$36||Seatgeek|
|Toronto FC Tickets||$54||Ticketmaster|
|NY Red Bulls Tickets||$44||Ticketmaster|
|D.C. United Tickets||$42||Ticketmaster|
|NE Revolution Tickets||$33||Ticketmaster|
|Philadelphia Union Tickets||$32||Paciolan|
|Montreal Impact Tickets||$28||TicketPro|
In the western conference, Los Angeles is at the top of the league, with an impressive 11-1-4 record over their first 16 games. On the ticket front, LAFC's game at Banc of California Stadium are 25% above prices for Galaxy tickets. In just their second year, LAFC trails only the Portland Timbers based on average price. The overall average price in the Western conference is $63 compared to $44 in the Eastern conference, which shows that that when it comes to MLS demand, the west is the best. The diversity of primary ticketing platforms is much greater in the Western conference with only one team that uses Ticketmaster, compared to eight teams in the eastern conference.
|Western Conference||Avg Secondary Price||
Primary Market Tickets
|FC Dallas Tickets||$48||AXS|
|Portland Timbers Tickets||$107||Seatgeek|
|Sporting Kansas City Tickets||$76||Seatgeek|
|San Jose Earthquakes Tickets||$46||Ticketmaster|
|Colorado Rapids Tickets||$48||AXS|
|Real Salt Lake Tickets||$42||AXS|
|Seattle Sounders FC Tickets||$63||Seatgeek|
|LA Galaxy Tickets||$64||AXS|
|Los Angeles FC Tickets||$80||Ticketmaster|
|Minnesota United FC Tickets||$73||Seatgeek|
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Tickets
|Houston Dynamo Tickets||$44||AXS|
Outside of the regular season matchups, the 2019 MLS All Star game takes places this year in Orlando, after taking place last year in Altanta. This year, ten-time La Liga champion Atletico will put Major League Soccer’s all-stars to the test when the two kick off July 31 in MLS’ annual All-Star Game at Orlando’s City home stadium. It will be the first time that Atletico has played against the MLS All-Stars and the 16th time an elite international club has been the opponent in the All-Star game.
Prices for MLS All-Star game tickets are lower than it has been in recent years on the secondary market and the current average asking price of $212 is the sixth most expensive since TicketIQ began tracking data in 2011.
The MLS playoffs start on October 6th has a new format for 2019 that consists of a fixed-bracket, single-elimination format with the higher seed hosting every match. Additionally, 14 teams will qualify up from 12 last season. The MLS Cup takes place on November 10th. According to Oddschecker, the four teams with the best odds to host an MLS Cup game are The LA Galaxy, Atlanta United, LAFC, and DC United, with the Philadelphia Union having the 5th best odds.
2018 MLS Ticket Market Summary Below:
Amidst the competitive pressures of living rooms and high definition TVs everywhere, the live event business has gotten a lot harder over the last 10 years. Over the last three years, two of the top five major leagues in North American sports--NFL and MLB--has seen a decline in attendance. While the NHL and NBA have seen growth it's minuscule, at around 1%. Amidst that low-to-no growth environment, Major League Soccer tickets are a growth market and an exception, with total attendance up 12% over the last three years. Now in its 23rd season, MLS is by far the youngest of America’s pro leagues, and still the smallest in terms of attendance and gross revenue based on ticket prices.
When the league debuted in 1996, it drew 2,785,001 fans across 10 teams. Through its first 10 years, the average number of fans per season remained under three million. But behind the success of the 2002 U.S. World Cup team, which advanced to the quarterfinals, expansion, and the building of soccer-specific stadiums, the league broke the three-million mark in 2007 and has seen a steady rise since. Since 2011, MLS attendance grew by a whopping 51% percent, from 5.4 million to 8.2 million last year.
The league now has 23 teams with two more on the way – Miami in 2020 and Nashville in 2019 or 2020. Below is a state of the fastest growing ticket market in America and likely on Earth.
5 MAJOR SPORTS LEAGUES TOTAL ATTENDANCE – 2017
MLS’ growth continued last season, when the league broke the eight-million fan barrier, drawing 8.2 million fans, compared to 7.4 million in 2016. Despite the fast growth, MLS remains the smallest league in North America based on attendance. With 30 teams playing 162 games per season, Major League Baseball draws the most number of fans of any pro league by a long shot. While total MLS attendance will never top MLB, NBA and NHL, with 81 to 162 games each year, over the next decade, MLS will likely be pulling in over 11 million fans. If the next wave of expansion teams draw like Atlanta United FC did in their first year, it could be a lot higher.
ATTENDANCE BY GROWTH BY LEAGUE – LAST 3 YEARS
During a recent three-year span during which all of MLS’ counterparts saw no growth or negative growth, MLS broke the trend, adding fans at a rate of 12.8 percent. During that same span, the NHL and NBA were nearly flat, growing their attendance by .52% and .21%, respectively. MLB and the NFL both lost fans during the span, MLB at a rate of 1.48 percent and the NFL at a rate of 1.46 percent. The majority of growth comes from new franchises joining the league. Last season, six teams grew attendance from 2016, six teams were flat, and ten teams saw attendance decline year over year.
PRIMARY TICKETING PLATFORMS
In 2017, SeatGeek announced a deal with the League to be their official primary ticketing platform. Since then, SeatGeek has signed agreements with Sporting KC, LAFC, Minnesota, Portland, Atlanta and Seattle as both the primary ticket selling platform as well as their official secondary marketplace. For SeatGeek-partner teams, primary and secondary tickets are listed for each game and buyers can't distinguish between the two. Despite the league-wide deal, eight teams still use Ticketmaster as their primary ticketing platform, which does distinguish between primary inventory (blue dots) and resell inventory (red dots). Five teams use AXS's platform, formerly know as Veritix. AXS does not list any resale tickets for sale on team sites. The Montreal Impact and Philadelphia Union use other ticketing platforms.
MLS TICKETS SECONDARY PRICES – 2011-18
Since 2013, according the data from TicketIQ.com, MLS has seen a steady increase in ticket prices on the secondary market, from $48 to $77. The most significant increase came between 2017-18, when the average ticket price jumped from $66 to $77. Prior to that, the biggest increase was between 2014-15, when the average price of a ticket on the secondary market increased $7, from $50 to $57. Both of those spikes coincided with the launch of big-market teams an with a large stadiums, including NYCFC and Atlanta. As the average price by team chart below shows, three of the top six priced teams are new since 2013.
Prior to 2013, growth was inconsistent. The average ticket price on the secondary market in 2011 was $54. That number dropped to $50 and then $48 in 2012 and 2013, respectively. At odds with the price drop, MLS added two teams (Vancouver Whitecaps, 2011, and Montreal Impact, 2012), Real Salt Lake advanced to the CONCACAF Champions League Final, and the Los Angeles Galaxy signed international star Robbie Keane. The league also surpassed the NBA and NHL in terms of average number of fans per game (17,872) during that span, according to Wikipedia.com.
MLS TEAMS WITH HIGHEST ATTENDANCE – 2017
Last season, four MLS teams welcomed more than 400,000 for the season and two surpassed the 700,000 fans-per-season mark. Atlanta United FC, a 2014 expansion franchise owned by NFL Falcons owner and Home Depot magnate Arthur Blank, sold 819,404 tickets. Perennial MLS contenders the Seattle Sounders sold 742,314. Those numbers are well ahead of any other franchises, though both Toronto FC and Orlando City SC sold 470,005 and 425,477 tickets, with: NYCFC rounding out the top 5 (384,929). Despite the wave of new Soccer-only stadiums, the three of the teams in the top five play in Football or Baseball stadiums, with two to three times of the capacity of new Soccer Stadiums. Despite that fact, MinnesotaFC has a soccer-only stadium under construction and slated to open in 2019, despite the gleaming two-year old U.S. Bank Field, which is home to the Vikings.
Rounding out the Top 10 in ticket sales for 2017 were, the LA Galaxy (378,182), the Vancouver Whitecaps (364,073), the New York Red Bulls (359,977), the Portland Timbers (359,448) and Minnesota United FC (349,138).
MLS HIGHEST SECONDARY TICKET PRICES – 2018
After selling the most amount of tickets last season, Atlanta enters the 2018 season as the team with the highest average asking price on the secondary market, according to TicketIQ.com. At $167 per ticket, Atlanta FC is getting a full $10 more than the next most expensive team – the Portland Timbers ($157). Five teams have broken the $100 barrier in terms of secondary ticket prices. The other three are founding member D.C. United ($131), Toronto FC ($116) as well as NYCFC ($107). For DC United a new soccer-only stadium is driving up prices while Toronto FC is above $100 on the backs of their first MLS Cup in history. The expansion LAFC, playing in its first season, is commanding $99 per ticket in a market it shares with the LA Galaxy. The average asking price for a Galaxy ticket this season is $77.
The next two priciest tickets on the secondary market are: New England Revolution ($78) and the New York Red Bulls ($74).
MLS OPENING DAY ATTENDANCE
It was a week of extremes in Week 2 of 2018 MLS attendance, with Atlanta United setting yet another MLS attendance record and Columbus Crew SC drawing an abysmally small crowd. Below is a look at this year's opening match attendance figures.