Friendlies in (North) America. Now maybe some of you are like me and fell victim to these cash grabs, hopefully not. They try to lure you in with posters such as this one
making you the fan believe that your favourite stars will actually show up to an EXHIBITION in Toronto, days after a much deserved vacation. If they do end up playing, they dont go hard (who can blame them) and its never longer than a half (why risk an injury).
Now I won't argue that exhibitions are much needed to any team sport in warm up for the upcoming season. But my main gripe is the timing for these games and ticket prices.
Two seasons ago Juventus and Fiorentina travelled to Toronto on May 25th to do battle in the Skydome (yes it will always be called that to me). But the problem was it wasn't much of a battle. Both teams had just finished long disappointing seasons one week prior.
Any really talented player from either side was with their national side prepping for the 2010 World Cup. Unless your last name is Jovetic and your country will never qualify so you have to tear up a fake Juve defence. Juve played 6 local players they had signed on 10 day contracts and played most of their youth players because of the shortage of first teamers.
Yet ticket prices were cheapest 60$ and most 200$.....for a FRIENDLY!!!!
[side note] it was on this day that i declared to twitter and all Juve fans in attendance that Amauri had to go, and Jovetic has to come in, and i still stand by that.
The following year Juventus came back (2011), to play Sporting of portugal. Ticket sales were disappointing, nearly selling half the stadium with only 10,028 ticket sales. After the previous years showing on Juventus' part I dont understand how anyone in marketing thought that fans in Toronto would be willing to dish that same cash again.
We need more meaningful games to come here to justify those prices. They are the same prices as Miami Heat playoff tickets! And your not even getting stars to entertain us (in the 2010 friendly in Toronto, Del Piero did not take the field even after many chants from the 21,000+ crowd), but kids trying to find their place on the field.
I have absolutely no problem at all with the MLS all-star game. It has been surprisingly entertaining the last few years, and I think its a great idea to have the MLS all-stars face the reigning European Champions every summer. You could tell last night the MLS players were trying, and Chelsea wasnt walking around neither.
I remember fantasizing as a kid of the Champions League finals being hosted in the Skydome (and Juve winning it of course). Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds...to have a European Cup final not in Europe. Which is why I was a child at the time. But where I am going with this is that why can't Toronto host the FIFA Club World Cup?
The Italian Super Cup has been hosted in somewhere other than Italy 5 times in the last 10 years. I am sure that if this years Italian Super Cup between Napoli and Juve were held in Toronto or Montreal it would have been a sellout. Instead they are off to China at the Beijing National Stadium in.....wait for it.....Beijing!
This same stadium has hosted the competition in 2009 and 2011. Last season it was full sellout of 80, 000! This is expected to be the same. So who can blame the teams or League for going for the money, thats the name of the game.
Marketers beware if you plan on bringing Juventus back and expect us to pay those high prices, know that if the buyer doesn't recieve what they expected, not playing the stars you advertised to us or these non competitive matches, it won't sell. Simply because.....