Earlier in the season, I talked about the passion I have for the game of soccer and by extension the Whitecaps FC. Even though the team’s record may not indicate a modicum of success, I do like what I am seeing on the pitch from a number of players and foresee big things happening with the team should the organization understand a championship squad is not built in a season or two.

What I don’t like is what I received via email today.

SSFC v VanWCaps_20110611_053

Eric Hassli – courtesy of Noelle Noble

Dear Season Ticket Holder,

First off, congratulations! You have done a great job of living up to the Whitecaps Supporter Pledge. Don’t let up yet, but well done so far on striving to make every Whitecaps match a unique soccer experience that you can call your own.

Now, Eric Hassli has something to say about protecting your turf – for 2012 that is.

You’ve done an excellent job of telling your friends and colleagues to try us out. You’ve helped draw the attention of the media, to see what all the fuss is about. But now, that attention is translating into competition for the best seats for the 2012 season. So next Thursday, August 18, be ready to protect your turf.

So let me get this straight. Eric Hassli needs me to help protect my turf? Sure, I guess I’m down with that. Eric is a pretty decent footballer and I did help convince Mozy19 to get himself a pair of season tickets too.

Here’s how:

You will receive your 2012 season ticket invoice and deposit information via email on Thursday August 18, 2011. Review your invoice, determine if you want any changes, then call our office at 604.669.9283 to confirm your 2012 seats. If we don’t hear from you right away, we’ll follow up with you to ensure you don’t miss the opportunity to protect your turf. We know it’s not easy, renewing your seats before the first match on Bell Pitch downtown at BC Place. But we’ve rewarded you for your support before, and we’ll do it again. In fact, we’ll do it again and again.

Every two weeks, all committed 2012 season ticket holders will be entered into a draw for great bonus prizes from our partners. Stuff like an overnight stay in a penthouse suite plus lots of perks from the River Rock Casino Resort; or a prize pack featuring tickets, merchandise, and a $50 gift certificate from PlayNow.com; or a Whitecaps-branded mini-fridge from Budweiser!

Plus, two Grand Prizes to be drawn in October – a trip for two to MLS Cup 2011 in Los Angeles, including airfare, hotel, and tickets to the match.

Wait a minute. You’re asking me to commit my hard-earned money towards renewing my 2011 seasons tickets for the 2012 season without ever even setting foot in the stadium and seeing if I like my seats or not? And for this, you’ll give me a chance at winning some prizes. A chance?

You must renew your season tickets with the applicable deposit in order to be entered. And there’s good reason to get in early. Once you’ve renewed your season tickets, you will be automatically entered into ALL subsequent draws. The full list of bonus prizes and draw dates will be announced on whitecapsfc.com on August 18.

Every season ticket holder has been a big part of making our Whitecaps matches an experience that we can all call our own. Now get ready to protect your turf, and keep the momentum growing for the remainder of 2011 and into 2012.

Your Whitecaps FC Ticketing team

While I’m appreciative of the tickets to the Manchester City friendly (albeit on one of the worst pitches I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen some pretty bad ones locally), I’m having trouble understanding the need to get my money so soon. Heck, I didn’t even have to pay for my season tickets this season until late January. And what exactly do I benefit from if I commit so early? Entry to a contest where my odds are likely the same as those 50/50 tickets I buy at Empire Field.

In all likelihood, I’ll look to renew my tickets. I enjoy the game and I believe there is a light somewhere at the end of the proverbial tunnel. What irritates me about the experience is my perception of how the organization feels some level of entitlement to my entertainment dollars before they deserve to receive them. The team’s record is atrocious, the play on the pitch lacks chemistry, they sacked a coach midway through the season and have a worse record under the replacement, and yet they still want me to give my money for seats I may despise once I sit in them.

Somehow that just doesn’t seem right.

Slash rant.

Update: Two things to add to the post. If we were talking about renewing my seats at Empire Field, I’d be okay with that. I’ve sat in them all season and have no issue. Secondly, just received word that the cost of the season tickets is increasing 3% (due to increased costs to be in BC Place). Go figure, but I thought some people received a freaking discount THIS season because we weren’t in BC Place – haven’t sat in my seat there yet it’s already costing me more money. ARGH!