All hail the addition of Duvel and Chimay amongst your choices in the Toyota Stadium Beer Garden! Prepare to be pampered, if nothing else.
I, for one, welcome our new Belgian-themed beer garden (and on-site brewery, as it seems) in spite of the low-grade American light lager that once graced throats, shirts, shirtless torsos, and George John’s skull.
Today FC Dallas revealed a slew of new ticket prices across certain sections of Toyota Stadium. Controversy, and there is some, lies within the disproportional increase in pricing of beer garden season tickets compared to those in other sections. This is a part of FCDallas2016.com, or the FC Dallas front office’s plan for a new season ticket push (compare 2015 versus 2016 season tickets).
What increases, though? For instance, your season ticket in center-circle section 106 currently sets you back $1458 for the 2015 campaign. And for the 2016 campaign? $1530, or a 5% increase.
Sections 107 and 105 also see an increase from $1206 to $1260, or 5%.
We can scoff at 5%. Frankly, if you’re already hoofing over twelve hundred dollars for season tickets, a $54 increase isn’t going to be the foremost concern. That’s five less churros across 17 games.
But for the diehards, crazies, ne’er-do-wells, and beer-guzzling, bonafide Americans who stand nightly in the beer garden, there is some reason for contempt of the FCD front office.
A number of figures have been tossed around, first of all, and mostly via Twitter. But the rough sketch is that FC Dallas supporters in the beer garden, and ones of the ever popular Dallas Beer Guardians and Lone Star Legion, will see a dramatic increase of anywhere between 75% to 100%.
FCDallas2016.com advertises new ‘Field Seats’ as $450. This is the beer garden, and even if numbers above prove to be spurious, that will be at least a 75% increase from the current circa $250 that most beer garden aficionados pay.
What truly tightens the vices a bit more is the $255 season parking passes that will also be thrown towards these same people. The east lot is central to all supporter tailgates, much before the 2015 campaign kicked off. And that is a massive increase from the $0 currently paid for parking by a vast majority of beer garden tenants.
There is no reason to doubt the disgust and disregard the ire of these supporters who, collectively, will see this as a shot across their bow. You might pay roughly $250 for a season ticket (plus parking) in the beer garden now. By March 2016 you will be set back (minimally) $705.
Do supporters groups now move their tailgate? There are free lots available near the highway on the west side of the stadium. But that cuts down considerably on the atmosphere provided by these same groups directly adjacent to the stadium. Even the suggestion of a move to free lots distant from the gates will be controversial from word one.
It’s an unexpected quagmire that is sure to grow at this rate. It would be understandable if the stadium was bursting at the seams in 2015. But even this year’s attendance figures show FCD averaging 15,425 for the season, down from 16,816 in 2014, and hovering around 2013’s final figure (15,374). Let’s all review an economic maxim in a tired, patronizing way: higher prices discourage participation and consumption naturally (see: 21st century Southern sin taxes).
Maybe the Hunts have reason to raise prices. Could it be a major signing in the works (I hope it’s Ronaldinho!)? Could it be a roof for, well, the whole stadium? Perhaps it’s a four ton meat smoker on the north concourse. Given the past decade’s craft beer explosion in Dallas it is now time to upgrade the usual light, lagery all-American, flavorless vices down in the beer garden (in all sincerity: Peticolas, please).
For now, only four sections (105, 106, 107, and the Beer Garden) have seen increases. The rest of the stadium more than likely comes next. This could very well be pricing that is for new season tickets and not season tickets that are being renewed. Hopefully that is the case. Perhaps this is the front office’s way of putting a timid foot into new territory.
In the end, FC Dallas has gone well out of their way to push the messages of “family,” “passion,” “vision,” and “future” in the new plan. Listening to their most ardent of supporters would be a fine start, as they constitute quite a passionate portion of a family they helped grow over the course of the past decade.