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Seattle Sounders Gross Over $1 Million Per Home Game

A fascinating look at the Seattle Sounders finances from MLS Rumors . In the post Lenny Laymon calculates that the 2010 Sounders ticket revenues per game will be over $1m.

This is his breakdown:

There are approximately 22,500 Sounders inaugural season ticket holders who are paying the same price $26.65 per game as last season.
22,500 x $26.65 = $599,625.00 (call it $600k)

The Sounders have announced that they will cap season ticket sales at 32,000 in 2010, and that means they sold an additional 9,500 season tickets are an average price of $36.65..
9,500 x $36.55 = $347.225.00

Sounders capacity for MLS games this season will be 35,800, so about 3,800 additional tickets will be available at an average price of around $43.
3800 x $43.00 = $163,400

So here are the totals

$163,400 + $347,225 + $600,000 = $1,110,625

Under MLS rules the Sounders get to keep 70% of the gate receipts and the other 30% goes to the league. So the Sounders will gross $777,437 per home game, excluding any concession, parking, luxury box or TV revenue. That is over $11.6 million dollars this season,

This is an impressive number in any sport. It is even more impressive when you consider that the MLS salary cap in 2009 was $2.3 million. The new cap hasn’t been set yet, need the get a labor agreement in place first, but even if it goes up to $3 million, the Sounders are still on track to make over $8 million profit. That is impressive.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • OleGunnar20 February 28, 2010, 6:07 pm

    just to clear a few points up.

    A. each team’s salary cap expenditure (2.4M) is paid by the league itself (MLS HQ). that is the essence of the MLS’s single entity structure. the 30% of ticket revenues that the teams give to the league plus the league wide TV deal and league wide sponsorship deals make up the total MLS HQ revenue from which it pays all of the players in the league. all of the players in the league are under contract with MLS HQ not the clubs. the clubs merely “rent” the players for that 30% revenue share. and yes, teams like SSFC get hosed because the median 30% contribution in 2009 was something like 1.4M and SSFC gave 3.8M (if the median contribution is 100% then SSFC’s was 275% of median). Accordingly KC only contributed 775K as their 30% contribution…a paltry 55% of median.

    B. the salary cap number is not the whole picture. with the DP rule teams can and do spend over the 2.4M cap on salaries. a DP is a “special” player that has only 400K of his salary applied to the cap and the rest is paid directly by the club. in the case of SSFC Freddie Ljungberg is their DP and makes a total of 1.3M. So 400K is covered by the league under the salary cap and SSFC is left to pay 900K out of its own revenues (the 70% of tickets, concessions, merchandise, local tv/radio, sponsorship, etc). it is also important to remember that while the salary cap number might only be 2.3 million the league (MLS HQ) ends up paying more than that for the salaries of the players on many teams due to all sorts of arcane rules (Generation Addidas = young players in their first or second year who’s contracts don’t count towards the cap) and other compensations that players can get.

    C. there is great mystery surrounding MLS league and team accounting. the MLS single entity structure is basically designed to be a closed and opaque system and only the investor-owners of MLS are likely to get a full and clear picture of the leagues finances. the best we can do is some solid guesswork and projection. i have a comprehensive spreadsheet i worked on that shows all of the teams estimated ticket revenues for 2009 and the amount they (30%) kicked in to the MLS revenue pool. If you would like it feel free to contact me and I will pass it along with an explanation of how I arrived at the numbers.

    -Jacopo Belbo

    • Michael Irwin November 7, 2011, 3:21 pm

      Hey Jacopo, I read your comment and can tell that you are very knowledgeable in what seems to be tough information to find: MLS accounting documents. I am doing a project in a Sports Business class where I am analyzing MLS teams success, and the document that you mentioned sounded like it would be very useful. If you could send it to me, that would really help me out!

      Thanks,
      Michael Irwin
      irwin@uoregon.edu

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