Add a European star, sell a thousand season tickets

Toronto FCWhen Toronto FC signed European star Sebastian Giovinco, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment not only boosted the team roster, it also made an impact on the ledger as well.

MLS hasn’t been able to attract many European stars over the years, leading to some complaints from fans that the level of play is inferior to other overseas leagues. That may be, but with the signing of Sebastian Giovinco from Juventus, Toronto FC is addressing that shortcoming. While Giovinco had some issues with Juventus (complaining about a lack of playing time), the fact remains the small, quick playmaker is still in his prime. In the past, he wouldn’t have been available to the likes of Toronto FC or MLS; now, he’ll certainly be in the lineup after leaving Juventus.

Now, Toronto FC isn’t hurting at the box office; the team finished second to the Seattle Sounders in attendance and should only see increases in revenues once BMO Field improvements are final. And Toronto FC has already shown similar commitment with the signing of Jermain Defoe — a signing that didn’t work out very well. But the business model still holds, per the Guardian:

Off the field, Giovinco offers Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment a chance to connect with the sizable Italian community in Toronto.

“So far today we’ve sold and renewed almost another thousand season seats,” said Dave Hopkinson, MLSE’s chief commercial officer.

Giovinco will likely be paid more than $6 million next season: that’s a lot for a league where the average player salary is $50,000 or so. But if Giovinco’s signing leads to more season-ticket sales and increased attendance at games, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment would happily make that investment every day.

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August Publications