Left Coast By Design

Tag: Season Tickets

Whitecaps FC & Reservations


You could say that I have a love hate relationship with the Whitecaps FC. So when it came time to renew my season tickets for 2013, I did so with a few reservations. And while it might be assumed that I’m simply a “fair weather” fan who’s reservations stem from the play on the pitch, simply hear out my primary reservation first before you cast such a judgement.

Whitecaps FC 2012 Season Ticket Package

Courtesy of RosieTulips


Having placed a deposit down for season tickets way back in 2010 (or was it 2009?), I was genuinely excited that not only did the Whitecaps FC have an MLS franchise, but I was going to be one of their very first season ticket holders. And I listened intently as the organization listed of goals of making the MLS playoffs, winning the Canadian Championship, AND winning the Cascadia Cup all in the first year (sometimes I can be naive).

Then the trouble started.

I received a call from the team in late 2010 to choose my payment option for my tickets. Not having oodles of money just lying around, I elected to make a series of payments leading up to the season and gave my credit card information to the account manager/agent/person over the phone. The woman provided me a confirmation number and wished me well. Yet as the days continued to roll by, I never saw a charge appear on my credit card statement. Finding this odd, I tried calling the Whitecaps FC two weeks later only to get the virtual runaround from the call centre system. Not to be dismayed, I instead sent in an email asking for someone to call me to clarify. I also elected to call my credit card company to see if any charges were pending and simply not posted.

Problem.

Not only had there not been any “charges” for the Whitecaps FC season tickets, but my credit card had been suspended only day or two earlier after some suspicious activity somewhere in Vancouver. While it’s a stretch to assume what I learned next to be a definitive possibility (that the Whitecaps FC were the issue), I simply chalked this up to a bad visit somewhere and accepted that a new card would be mailed out to me.

The following day I received my call back from the team – not only did they not have a record of my paying for my tickets (the original woman was “no longer with the organization”), but they required that I provide them a credit card immediately or lose my tickets and the deposit I had placed down. Finding this shocking, I explained the phone call only a couple of weeks earlier and also explained that I had found out the day previous my credit card was compromised. This new gentleman, while somewhat empathetic to my situation, said there were no notes on my account and again reiterated the need for a payment. Quite frustrated, I obtained my fiancée’s credit card info and her step up to cover. Concerned with what I felt was significant failing in customer service, I asked to speak to a supervisor or manager. I was told that his manager was not available at the time, but he would ensure I’d receive a callback.

It’s been two years and I’m still waiting. I’ve actually called and expressed my situation to others in the organization. I’ve sent email. I’ve even expressed my concerns to the account rep I renewed my 2012 tickets with in stadium – all to no avail and what I can best describe as, no concern. And in one final attempt before this post, I sent a “Contact Us” message through the Whitecaps FC Online Account Manager to my “real” account manager Josh Nanavaty in hope that someone would finally listen. That was a week ago. And again I’m still waiting.

At this point I’m not sure I should even expect to hear anything from the team. I don’t believe I’m looking for much other than an ear to speak to and a sincere expression from the team that they appreciate my commitment as a season ticket holder. And yes, I do have other reservations to express but I shall save those for another post in the coming days.

It just seems to me that they don’t care.

Protect What Turf?

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!

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