Promise of Beckham helps MLS ticket sales skyrocket
NEW YORK -- David Beckham's jump to the Los Angeles Galaxy prompted a spike in tickets sales for several Major League Soccer teams.
The Galaxy said it had sold 5,000 season tickets since Thursday's announcement while the expansion Toronto FC said it sold 2,600 of its 10,000 season tickets.
Beckham's decision "has generated more interest in Major League Soccer than any other event in league history," MLS commissioner Don Garber said Tuesday. "We didn't sign David to sell tickets and jerseys. He was signed because he's a world-class soccer player."
Beckham said he would join the Galaxy after his contract with Real Madrid expires June 30. That was clouded by Saturday's statement from Madrid manager Fabio Capello that the Englishman would train but no longer play for the team.
If Madrid releases him early, Beckham might be available when the Galaxy begin their season April 8 at the defending champion Houston Dynamo. Los Angeles plays its first home game four days later against the New York Red Bulls.
Dynamo sales and marketing senior vice president Steve Powell said Houston's season-ticket sales saw a 200 percent jump last week from the previous week despite confusion surrounding Beckham's arrival.
Only the dates of the home openers of the 13 clubs have been announced. The full 32-game schedule won't be out until early February. MLS teams averaged 15,504 last season.
D.C. United spokesman Doug Hicks said the four-time MLS champions sold 300 season tickets last week, which was "a little above normal," and FC Dallas said it sold 115 on Thursday and Friday.
"Basically the phones were ringing off the hook," FC Dallas spokesman German Sferra said.