CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Charlotte Observer) - On Thursday, Charlotte MLS emailed a survey to ticket-deposit holders with potential seat offerings and renderings for Bank of America Stadium. The survey included information about the stadium layout, followed by a series of questions about ticketing preferences, which indicated the team is considering offering permanent seat licenses (PSLs) for ticket holders.
So far, fans are able to purchase ticket deposits, but season tickets are not yet available. The survey was designed to gather fan feedback regarding ticketing and seating preferences before tickets go on sale.
“We would value some additional input from you to help us refine the seating and ticket packages that could be available for Charlotte MLS at Bank of America Stadium,” the survey read. “The ideas being shared in this survey are not final but are conceptual in nature.”
Four different seating sections were specified in the survey:
▪ General seating — located in the lower and 200 levels, consisting of reserved, standard-size stadium seats with access to general stadium concessions, restrooms and entrances (ranging from $550 to $2250 annual price per season ticket.
▪ Supporters Section — located behind the goal, where fans would stand throughout the entirety of the match, lead cheers, wave flags, etc. (ranging from $550 to $600 annual price per season ticket).
▪ Premium seating — located higher in the stadium to offer prime views of on-pitch action, and includes more comfortable seating, access to private lounge spaces with inclusive food and beverages, private restrooms, private stadium entrances and access to preferred parking (ranging from $2,000 to $5,200 annual price per club seat).
▪ Tunnel Club — located in the northwest corner of the stadium at pitch-level to offer views of the players as they enter and exit the pitch (ranging from $5,200 to $5,850 annual price per club seat).
The survey included questions about which elements fans value when purchasing tickets (i.e., cost, proximity to field, proximity to the centerline or team benches, aisle seating, etc.), as well as a series of slides comparing three different seating options and asking fans to select which of the three they would choose.
In addition to the annual price per season ticket or club seat listed, a license fee for most seating options was assigned, indicating Permanent Seat Licensing is a ticketing model Charlotte MLS is considering.
Permanent Seat Licensing (PSL) is a ticket option the Carolina Panthers — which the MLS team will share Bank of America Stadium with for home games — have used since the NFL team’s inaugural season in 1995. PSL owners are able to make a one-time purchase of a license to guarantee their spot every year when they buy season tickets.
Some Charlotte MLS fans already have strong opinions about the PSL option presented in the survey.
“Just say No to PSLs,” wrote one fan, Patrick Holt, on a post in Charlotte MLS Facebook group.
“I noted that in my final comments at the end of the survey,” responded another fan, Shawn Smith. “They are (probably) at 25k deposits now and that would shrink in a heartbeat if they decided to charge PSL for season tix!!!!!”
PSL ownership is a topic that’s causing concern on the Panthers front as well. At least 380 Panthers PSL owners are currently being displaced due to stadium renovations in the west end, which is the first phase of a major remodeling project to optimize Bank of America Stadium for soccer and concert events. Charlotte MLS’ midfield tunnel, for example, will also likely impact those PSL owners.
In January, Charlotte MLS announced it already had 22,000 ticket deposits, a promising number for a team still a year out from its first match. Team owner David Tepper previously said Charlotte MLS could draw crowds ranging from 40,000 to 60,000 per match, which would be well above what the average MLS team draws.
Only Atlanta and Seattle averaged more than 30,000 fans per game during the 2019 season, according to Soccer Stadium Digest.
MLS season-ticket packages generally include 17 regular-season matches and up to one extra match in competitions such as CONCACAF Champions League and the U.S. Open Cup, the Charlotte MLS survey indicated.