Seattle Sounders FC Apologizes to Fans After 4-0 Loss By Giving Refund

↵This, folks, is smart business. It's also really dangerous business if a team isn't any good. ↵

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↵Seattle Sounders FC of MLS lost 4-0 at home to LA Galaxy and, following the match, one of their players said the fans shouldn't have to pay to watch how terribly they played. So, in the same spirit of their representatives on the pitch, the owners agreed, offering a refund to every one of its (amazing) 32,000 season ticket holders. ↵

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↵That's Public Relations 101 on how to turn a bad situation into a good one. From the Seattle Times (via SBD): ↵

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↵⇥The compensation will come in the form of a one-game credit toward next year's season-ticket packages. ↵⇥

↵⇥"We're in this for the long haul. We need them (the fans) to be in it for the long haul," said Adrian Hanauer, the team's co-owner and general manager, at the Starfire Sports Complex. ↵⇥

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↵⇥"That wasn't Sounders soccer. And it was quite frankly embarrassing, humiliating, and they don't deserve that." ↵⇥

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↵This isn't the first time that a team has offered a "refund" in the form of tickets to a future event, but it rarely happens as much as people talk about it should happen. NFL fans have been clamoring for refunds if their favorite team rests players for all or part of late-season games. It hasn't happened yet. And, yes, some reporters were yelling about the Cleveland Cavaliers offering the same to their fans whenever LeBron James takes a rest. That didn't happen either. ↵

↵Now, neither of those instances are in response to poor performance. Sure, Lions fans could be asking for refunds almost every year, but those season ticket holders know what they're getting themselves into. This is actually a lot like what Oregon coach Chip Kelly did last year, sending a check to a fan asking for a refund. Now multiply that by 32,000. ↵

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↵The bottom line is this: Seattle was competitive last year, and isn't right now. The owners are looking to keep their immense fan base happy any way they can. ↵

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↵But let's be honest, while I did state that this is great PR – all the news reports are calling it a refund or reporting that the team is giving something back to their fans – in reality, the team is just giving their season ticket holders a one-game credit toward next year's season tickets. This is like getting a hair in your burger and getting a voucher for a free sandwich in 2011. But I'm hungry now! ↵

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↵Having said that, they could have done nothing, so we laud them for caring. Hanauer stresses that fans shouldn’t get used to the refund, but was proud of the fans for sticking around and cheering for the entire match, despite being down on the scoreboard. ↵This is what you want in a sports owner. Oh, and this: ↵

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↵⇥"When you look at the results, you see the Seattle Sounders in last place in the West this morning. And that's just not frickin' acceptable," Hanauer said. "Not while I'm involved. I hate to be the 'if heads have to roll' kind of guy, but we're just not going to remain in last place." ↵
↵Maybe next time they get crushed at home, fans will get 50% off at the team store. Heck, if they get really bad they could tie in a promotion to local businesses. Call it a "blowout bonus." Depending on the offer, it's a wonder if fans would root for a win…or another embarrassing loss.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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