The Reds are hoping to see a return to the energy TFC fans provided in 2007. (QMI Agency)
TORONTO - Toronto FC is starting over – at least in the stands.
“We’ve let (TFC fans) down in the quality of the product,” MLSE president Tom Anselmi told a group of select media at the Air Canada Centre Thursday. “We’ve been working on this for the last couple of months … We’re re-setting our (ticket) pricing back to (2007 levels).”
“We have fans that have basically built this franchise,” Anselmi continued. “(TFC fans) changed the league. They set the bar for what this league has become; the bar for expansion; the tone for what supporters are about and can be about in North America.”
Ahead of tomorrow afternoon’s final home fixture against the Montreal Impact, following one of the worst seasons in league history, the club released its 2013 season seat prices to current holders as a way of “thanking them for their loyalty” and “for sticking with” the club.
Anselmi wouldn’t speak to the financial hit the club is set to take due to the stunning rollback, but described the loss as “healthy,” but motivated by memories of the shoulder-to-shoulder support during the club’s first few years.
Both current and former season seat holders will have the option of renewing at 2007 levels. The club’s most boisterous supporters – those who occupy the south stand – will see a close to 50% drop in pricing – something that stems from a failure of the product on the field to live up to the investment TFC’s most loyal fans have contributed.
The club also announced that new season ticket holders will pay as slightly higher price than prior season seat holders and that single game tickets will remain at current levels.
“We had this phenomenon that happened in 2007 that created this enormous demand,” Anselmi said. “The product didn’t live up to the pricing … We’ve got to get it turned around.”
Despite receiving public pressure due to the Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecaps lowering ticket prices ahead of 2013, Anselmi assured a round table of reporters that the club’s decision was in the works before its biggest rivals announced a drop.
The conversation eventually turned to the on-field product and the position the club is in heading into 2013. Toronto has lost 12 consecutive league fixtures dating back to July after starting the 2012 season with nine consecutive losses under then head coach Aron Winter, a league record that saw the Reds out of the playoff race before May.
When asked about the status of current head coach Paul Mariner, Anselmi said a review process would take place at the conclusion of the season to assess the structure of the front office.
“We’ve got to look at it and decide whether we’ve got the right set of technical skills, the right set of resources and the right leadership,” Anselmi said of the club’s current top brass. “We’ve got to get the right advice and make the right recommendation (to the board).”
Although Mariner has a year left on the original deal he signed before the start of the 2011 season, Anselmi reiterated that all aspects of the club are set to be reviewed.