Ian Joy is a former pro soccer player who became a broadcaster upon retirement. He does the New York City FC games for the YES Network and doubles as a contributor for CBS, which has the Champion’s League and Europa League rights.
He was on Twitter Thursday complaining that NYC fans can’t get tickets to Sunday’s MLS Eastern Conference Final in Philly:
I am hearing less than 200 allocated tickets to @NYCFC fans for the game in Philadelphia. The club requested 2000.
The stadium holds 18,500.
This is an @MLS Playoff game & we’re trying to grow the support & grow the presence of away supporters.
Do better @MLS. Sort it out!
— 𝐈𝐀𝐍 𝐏𝐀𝐔𝐋 𝐉𝐎𝐘 (@JOYPAULIAN) December 2, 2021
Boo fuckin’ hoo is my first thought. Asking for 2,000 seats in a stadium that holds around 20k (including standing room) is crazy. There’s no way in hell you’re getting 10% of the stadium for your people. If NYC doesn’t like it, they should have won more games in the regular season to earn a higher playoff seed. It’s called home field advantage for a reason. DUH! The Union benefit from having more Union fans in the stadium and fewer NYC fans, as Captain Obvious would tell you.
Away support is a foreign thing, literally. In the Premier League, for instance, there’s usually 3,000 tickets reserved for visiting fans. So if Chelsea is hosting Liverpool, there’s a dedicated section for the Liverpool fans to sit in, with stewards in between. As far as I know, there’s no hard and fast MLS policy on this, but I’ll ask around and see what I can find out.
For added context, the Union do have an away section at Subaru Park. The visiting fans sit in 133, which is designated specifically for that purpose. If away fans don’t travel, or don’t fill up the whole thing, they just partition the area and put security guards there. It’s usually pretty benign.
I will say, to Ian’s point, that having away fans in the stadium does add something to the atmosphere. You get good banter between them and the Sons of Ben, and that creates for some enjoyable wrinkles over the course of 90 minutes. But in small stadiums like this, in a country where Capitalism rules the day, it’s a hard sell, the “we deserve more tickets” request. If NYC fans want tickets, they can buy them on the secondary market.
EDIT – imagine how stupid it would be if Chicago Bears fans went on Twitter to complain that the Packers organization wasn’t giving them enough seats at Lambeau