clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

How NYCFC’s ticket pricing decodes the 2022 season

Front office confirms that playing the Red Bulls is fire, playing at Red Bull Arena is washed

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Ticketmaster needs to update the NYCFC landing page.
Courtesy Hudson River Blue

Recently, New York City FC sent an email to season ticket holders that included a breakdown of the prices for every individual game in the 2022 season. Variable pricing is nothing new – it follows that tickets for higher-value matches cost more than tickets for lower-value matches – but this was the first time the club detailed those prices before the start of the season.

The transparency is refreshing and welcoming. In the past, season ticket holders had to sleuth around to price out a ticket they might want to exchange. This makes it easy to put a value on every game.

It also lets us look at the season through a green-tinted lens: We can clearly see that some matches are nearly worthless, others are bankable commodities. The financial range is bigger than you might think. The sticker price for the most-valuable game is 600% higher than a ticket to the least-valuable game.

The NYCFC email listed the games in chronological order, which is understandable as we all labor under the yoke of the Gregorian calendar. But what if we ordered the season according to the monetary value assigned to each match by the NYCFC front office?

2022 games by ticket value, low to high

Charlotte FC at Red Bull Arena, Wednesday, August 17

FC Cincinnati at Citi Field, Wednesday, September 7

Real Salt Lake at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, April 17

San Jose Earthquakes at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, May 1

Sporting Kansas City at Citi Field, Saturday, May 7

Chicago Fire at Citi Field, Sunday, May 22

DC United at Citi Field, Saturday, April 9

Toronto FC at Citi Field, Sunday, April 24

Colorado Rapids at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, June 19

Atlanta United at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, July 3

Columbus Crew at Yankee Stadium, Saturday, May 14

Philadelphia Union at Yankee Stadium, Saturday, March 19

Orlando City SC at Citi Field, Saturday, October 1

Inter Miami FC at Yankee Stadium, Saturday, July 23

New England Revolution at Yankee Stadium, Saturday, July 9

CF Montréal at Yankee Stadium, Saturday, March 12

New Jersey Red Bulls at Yankee Stadium, Saturday, September 17

What Disneyland can teach us

Here at Hudson River Blue, we decided to have a little fun and categorize the games according to the ticketing system used at Disneyland until 1982. Back in that groovy era, you bought a ticket book that contained A, B, C, D, and E tickets that let you get on specific rides. While an A Ticket was nearly worthless, good only for the slowest and dullest attractions, an E Ticket was pure gold, and gave you access to Space Mountain, Matterhorn, and everything else that made the Magic Kingdom feel like magic.

In other words, before there were e-tickets there was the E Ticket—it was shorthand for something desirable. Every book had piles of As and Bs, but only a few Es. Disney was good at creating scarcity.

Some observations for the 2022 season: Saturday games are more valuable than Sunday games, and the two midweek games are the least valuable of all. Matches against Eastern Conference rivals tend to cost more than Western Conference teams. Yankee Stadium is more desirable than Citi Field, while the single game at Red Bull Arena is worth as much as the cryptocurrency somebody tried to sell you from a “gmaill.com” address.

The marketplace has spoken.

A Ticket

Charlotte FC at Red Bull Arena, Wednesday, August 17

FC Cincinnati at Citi Field, Wednesday, September 7

At Disneyland, an A Ticket got you a turn on the merry-go-round, a ride on the Main Street trolly. Who went to Disneyland to ride a merry-go-round? Seemingly the same kind of people who will go to Red Bulls Arena midweek to watch the expansion team Charlotte FC wilt in the August heat.

Everybody who went to Disneyland came home with spare A Tickets that ended up in the junk drawer in the kitchen. You couldn’t give them away.

B Ticket

Real Salt Lake at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, April 17

San Jose Earthquakes at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, May 1

Sporting Kansas City at Citi Field, Saturday, May 7

Chicago Fire at Citi Field, Sunday, May 22

The “B” was for babies: You used a B Ticket for the Swiss Family Treehouse, the mini train, and other toddler-friendly rides. That might seem unfair to Real Salt Lake until you look at the date and see that the game is scheduled for 1 PM on Easter Sunday.

C Ticket

DC United at Citi Field, Saturday, April 9

Toronto FC at Citi Field, Sunday, April 24

Colorado Rapids at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, June 19

Atlanta United at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, July 3

Mad Hatter’s Teacup Ride at Disneyland Resort Paris...
The Disney equivalent of playing DC United at Citi Field
Photo by Pawel Libera/LightRocket via Getty Images

C Ticket rides were legit even if they aren't bangers: Autotopia, Dumbo Flying Elephants, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Mad Tea Party. All good fun if not exactly memorable. DC United and Toronto FC are solid rivals, but playing at Citi Field drops the values of those tickets. The matchup against Atlanta United is always highly anticipated, but this year it’s in a dead zone and scheduled for the Sunday of a three-day Fourth of July weekend.

Still, the game against Colorado is a head-scratcher: First place in the Western Conference, at Yankee Stadium? Perhaps that ticket is undervalued.

D Ticket

Columbus Crew at Yankee Stadium, Saturday, May 14

Philadelphia Union at Yankee Stadium, Saturday, March 19

Orlando City SC at Citi Field, Saturday, October 1

Inter Miami FC at Yankee Stadium, Saturday, July 23

New England Revolution at Yankee Stadium, Saturday, July 9

D Ticket rides were more adventuresome: Rocket Jets at Tomorrowland, the Skyway, Tom Sawyer’s Island. NYCFC’s D Ticket games are all against Eastern Conference rivals at Yankee Stadium, and all on Saturdays.

All of the D Ticket teams made the 2021 playoffs except for Columbus Crew and Inter Miami—does the NYCFC front office expect them to make a postseason run this year?

E Ticket

CF Montréal at Yankee Stadium, Saturday, March 12

New Jersey Red Bulls at Yankee Stadium, Saturday, September 17

An E Ticket got you into marquee attractions: Space Mountain, Matterhorn, Big Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean. It isn't hard to see why the games with Montréal and Red Bulls have the highest value in 2022. The home opener against Montréal on March 12 will celebrate NYCFC winning the 2021 MLS Cup, and will likely have plenty of pomp and pregame circumstance, while the Hudson River Derby matchup against Red Bulls is always the hottest ticket of the year. No surprises here.