Home Canadian Soccer Still plenty of seats left for Canada’s Friday qualifier

Still plenty of seats left for Canada’s Friday qualifier

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When we in the media don’t have a real indication on how well an event is selling, we use one of most obvious methods in the book.

And that is, we do a search for tickets ourselves. How easy is to find a large number of seats together? When you search for “best available,” just how good are the seats? While it doesn’t give us an idea of just how many tickets have been sold, it does give us a sense of how easy it is to get large numbers of seats or great seats — a good indication of demand.

So, with that in mind, I did several Ticketmaster searches Wednesday for tickets for the Canada-St. Lucia game on Friday. And it was troubling to see just how easy it was to get large numbers of seats. Want eight seats together in the Canada supporters’ section? Was able to find them in section 117, at the south end of the stadium.

When it came to the top seats, was able to find eight together in section 123 (those seats are pricier, at $83.75 each), right at midfield — 15 rows up.

A family package of tickets — four seats — could be found in 108, at midfield, on the east side.

While this doesn’t tell us if there will be 4,000, 14,000 or 21,000 at the game Friday, it does tell us that demand is not outstripping supply for tickets. Not by a long shot.

For Canada to qualify for a World Cup, it needs home stadiums that are fortresses. It needs a crowd that truly acts as a 12th man.

And, The 11 supported the idea of having all three of Canada’s first-round qualifiers in Toronto. We stand by that. It was the right move to put the games together in one venue where they could all be marketed together as part of a bigger ticket package. Montreal and Vancouver’s stadiums aren’t ready because of renovations, and Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium is in need of repair, so Toronto is the only choice.

But, when Stade Saputo’s renovations are done, and BC Place is set for soccer, the CSA will have a choice. And, in the lead-up to the qualifiers, coach Stephen Hart said that if Canada makes the next round, there is no guarantee that the team would use Toronto exclusively.

After friendlies against Ecuador (2011) and Peru (2010) which saw swaths of empty seats and a loud contingent of fans cheering on the road teams, Toronto hasn’t shown well as the hub of Canadian soccer support. Would Montreal be better? Vancouver? All we can do at the moment is shrug.

But these three qualifiers are a major test for Toronto. Yes, the opponents aren’t household names, but this is a chance to show support for our soccer program. This is about us, not them. Selling out a game like this was always going to be a very tough ask. But the crowd has to be significant.

So, Toronto, do yourself proud. For national pride. And if that isn’t enough, do it for civic pride.

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