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Chris Kamrani
Chris Kamrani covers Real Salt Lake for the Tribune.

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(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) RSL fans celebrate the win as Real Salt Lake faces the Portland Timbers, MLS soccer Sunday November 24, 2013 in Portland.
MLS Cup final tickets are the most sought-after ... ever

Tickets to this year’s MLS Cup are the hottest in league history, according to ticket search engine SeatGeek, and 15 percent of the interest is coming from Utah.

The average resale price of tickets to see Kansas City host Real Salt Lake, $211, is the highest-ever in the MLS, edging out the 2011 MLS All-Star Game ($208), in which the league’s best players faced off against the English Premier League’s Manchester United in New York.

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"It’s a much different market," says Connor Gregoire, SeatGeek communications analyst. "To see the MLS Cup in Kansas City surpassing that game, which had international players in a major soccer market … it’s really in a new stratosphere."

Potentially driving up prices was a ticket snafu in which a Kansas City season ticket holder’s code was leaked on social media to RSL fans, who bought them up in droves. The tickets were later invalidated by Ticketmaster.

In the past five years, the only ticket in higher demand in the Kansas City market — which also features Major League Baseball and National Football League teams — was for the 2012 MLB All-Star Game (averaging a whopping $546). The average ticket to the MLS Cup costs 29 percent more than the average Kansas City Chiefs ticket ($164).

SeatGeek says 15 percent of the traffic to SeatGeek has come from Utah, while 65 percent has come from Kansas and Missouri. Gregoire cautions against extrapolating that 15 percent of the secondary tickets will actually be bought by Utahns, since locals are perhaps more likely to actually buy.

Per league policy, RSL had just 1,000 tickets to sell at the 18,500-seat stadium, many of which went to the families of players, coaches and ownership.

Last year’s MLS Cup between Houston and Los Angeles at Carson, Calif.’s Home Depot Center saw resales averaging $141.

It’s been a bull market for Kansas City MLS scalpers, who also benefited from the second-highest resale value of the year when Serie A’s Roma played the MLS All-Stars at Sporting Park in July. Kansas City has the second-priciest average ticket prices in the league at $43, behind Portland’s $59.

Gregoire thinks these numbers may help persuade MLS to look into leasing larger stadiums — like the Chiefs’ 76,000-seat Arrowhead — for future cup finals. Sporting Park is "a smaller venue that you usually see for championship matches in other leagues," he says.

"There’s definitely enough demand that this game could have been held in a larger venue and people would have bought the tickets."

—Matthew Piper



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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