Cavalry FC has announced its season ticket levels and pricing and presented the design of its 5,000+ seat stadium for next year’s inaugural Canadian Premier League season. The news was shared with the club’s founding members via email Friday.
And club president Ian Allison said Calgary-area soccer fans can plan on getting a decent bang for their buck when Cavalry FC plays its home games at Spruce Meadows, Meadows on the Green next year.
“We took a long hard look at it, and a very exhaustive look at it, and looking at a lot of our survey reports and market analysis around the broad spectrum of fans,” said Allison Saturday. “So when we did stadium design, recognizing we’re a little bit quirky but also very unique, in that it’s a very intimate experience, you’re going to be right on top of the game.
“You’re not going to be looking at CFL lines. You’re not going to have a half-empty stadium that was designed for 30,000 people but only using a third of the stadium. All these things came into account.”
Season tickets will be divided into three levels – Troops, Corps and Battalion. Each level has different pricing. Ticket packages will include admission to 15 home games.
Season tickets seats in the Troops sections will the lowest priced option, costing between $13.50 and $29.25 per game. Corps sections season tickets will work out to $47.25 per game. And Battalion sections seats will fall between $77.50 and $202.50 per match. Some of the Battalion section tickets will be allocated to the Officers Club facility. For the Cavalry FC Prospects game against FC Edmonton Prospects in September the Officers Club served as a high-end suite with full catering and services.
All season ticket purchases will include extra features such as exclusive Cavalry FC merchandise, access to purchase discounted season parking passes, referral benefits, dedicated member entrance access to game day events and discounts on selected merchandise.
Club jerseys for fans?
Some Canadian Premier League clubs have already announced they will be including official club jerseys with purchases of season tickets. While there was mention in the recent email to the membership that Cavalry FC season tickets would include club merchandise, there was no specific mention of club jerseys.
But when asked to confirm that Cavalry FC will not be including jerseys in season ticket packages Allison played somewhat coy.
“I didn’t say that,” he replied. “I want to be clear, just because some people said they are doing something does not mean we are not.”
How will season tickets be purchased?
Each of the over 1,000 fans who have already signed up as Cavalry FC members will be contacted by the club before January to gauge their levels of interest and to learn more about the options, before ticket sales begin in the new year. Each $50 membership will allow the holder to purchase up to eight season tickets. Founding memberships are still available for purchase.
“They’ll be contacted and at that point we’re going to get your level of interest and what options are available to you,” said Allison. “We’ll describe what benefits and opportunities each of those levels have.
“Overall, everyone’s a member of what we call the Regiment and there’s three different levels in there. If you were to buy season tickets at a certain level you’d have access at halftime to certain facilities different membership discounts on merchandise, etc. Everyone has a different level of benefits to come with them.
“That will allow us to get through our engagement with the 1,000 some odd members we have and then boil that down to how they want to make their decision when we go to convert their membership. At which point they can elect to use their membership as a credit against their tickets or they may choose to keep that credit for something else.”
Reaction to the ticket pricing and stadium layout
Allison said the vast majority of reaction to the pricing, levels and stadium design have been positive.
“They were glad to see it come out and understand that there’s been some evolution to the stadium that we looked at on May 17 when we announced Cavalry FC. But all of those have been improvements – for instance, a covered grandstand.”
However, some reaction to the ticket pricing online has been mixed with a few social media users pointing out the differences in price between Cavalry FC season tickets and other clubs in the Canadian Premier League.
While the lower end pricing of Cavalry FC’s tickets and other CPL teams are similar, the prices of other ticket levels are generally higher for Calgary’s club.
For example, Cavalry FC’s middle-priced season seats in the grandstand (Corps section) are $47.25 per match, while FC Edmonton’s middle-priced season seats in the grandstand at Clarke Stadium are listed at $31 per match. And Cavalry FC’s top-tier season seats in the grandstand (Battalion section) start at $77.50 per match, while FC Edmonton’s top-tier season seats in the grandstand are posted at $40 per match.
But Cavalry FC’s president is confident his club has found the right balance between receiving a great game day experience and affordability, highlighting the quality of his club’s venue – its existing facilities and what’s planned for the new stadium.
“I don’t run Edmonton FC’s business, so I can’t really comment on that,” said Allison. “I can tell you that I know what the price elasticity is for pro sports in this market and I know that we’re not playing in a public facility or any of those kind of things, so we have some other elements that don’t fall into their setting of the equation.”
Different markets call for different approaches
“I think that when players and fans experience a game on Meadows on the Green it’s going to be unique in not only the CPL but maybe in professional soccer in the world. I just have to let Tom Fath (FC Edmonton owner) and Jay Ball (FC Edmonton general manager) determine what they think can happen in Edmonton.
“I won’t get into comparatives but I don’t think Clarke Stadium compares at all. With respect to the march to match, the pre-game, the parking, all of those things have to be factored into how we have arrived at where we have arrived.
“Each of us are up against different things. Some are starting literally from scratch, having never run a venue or a pro sports team. And others are well experienced at this but maybe don’t know anything about soccer, like if you’ve been running a CFL team or a show jumping venue. It’s been terrific.”
Allison does acknowledge some of the reaction to the ticket prices has been mixed but said he and his team will continue to communicate with the club’s growing fan base as the new league’s first season approaches.
“I’ve seen everything I expected,” said Allison. “I try not to get dragged into the Twitter-verse too much on things because some of it’s from afar, some of it isn’t. I’ve actually responded to a few (queries by email) personally just for clarity and got back very honourable answers. Some people felt there was a little bit of sticker shock at a certain level. But that was a before reading and distilling all of the information. I had some people that were really concerned that the safe standing was going to be close to the rich fans and I responded we want all our fans to be passionate.
“I fully appreciate it that not everybody may have gone about it the same way we are, but we’re the ones doing it.”
“It’s professional sports. And there’s an element to it that has to be sustainable. Tommy (Wheeldon Jr, Cavalry FC head coach and general manager) loves it but he wants to get paid. The players love it but they want to get paid. Our corporate partnership history at Spruce Meadows has been a great benefit to Spruce Meadows but I would also say that has been benefit to the league as well.”
In the meantime, Allison said Cavalry FC fans can expect more team-related news to be coming out soon.
“And we’ll have some interest stuff to announce before Christmas, field of play related.”