TFC season ticket holders frustrated by lack of reserved seats for MLS Cup

Long-time fans say they've wound up in totally different areas of Toronto's BMO Field for the December 10 championship game against the Seattle Sounders.

Long-time fans say they've wound up in totally different areas of BMO field for championship game

Toronto FC season-ticket holders became frustrated trying to buy tickets for the team's championship game on Dec. 10. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press)

For 10 years, Toronto FC fans have been waiting for this moment — their beloved club finally heading to the championship game for a shot at the MLS Cup.

But some season-ticket holders say they're frustrated with the process for buying tickets for the matchup with the Seattle Sounders, happening Dec. 10 at BMO Field.

Because it's a league event, the ticket process operated differently from other playoff matches, and there was no guarantee season-ticket holders would be able to get the same seats.

Season holders could, however, purchase the same number of seats before tickets went on sale to the public — plus additional tickets if they chose, according to a league spokesperson.

Some tickets were also designated for Seattle fans as the travelling team.

But many long-time TFC season ticket holders say, thanks to this process, they've now wound up in totally different areas — and some vented about the experience on social media.

A 'disappointing' experience

Milton resident Jennifer Rilstone said she was in tears after the "disappointing" experience of trying to buy tickets.

"It was stressful, it was upsetting," said the medical writer, who has been a season-ticket holder since 2012.

Ticket sales went through Ticketmaster's website, she said, and seat holders were given a pre-sale code that would activate at a certain timeslot based on how long someone had season tickets. 

Milton resident Jennifer Rilstone has been a long-time TFC fan, and a season-ticket holder since 2012. (Submitted by Jennifer Rilstone)

Rilstone's slot was at noon, while those who've been season ticket holders since the club's beginning had a 10 a.m. timeslot. 

When Rilstone tried to buy her tickets, "the site crashed."

She was eventually able to buy tickets, but they are at the top of a section, as opposed to three rows from the pitch — and on the opposite side of the field, away from her longstanding section buddies.

Toronto resident Tom Tentoglou, a season ticket holder "since day one," echoed Rilstone's frustration.

He was in the 10 a.m. timeslot, but still wound up having to buy different seats. 

"I'm not a wealthy guy," he said. "These seats weren't easy to purchase … I've been paying for 10 years."

Similar situation in other leagues

Rilstone ended up calling the season seat holder ticket line with TFC, and said it was clear that "they care."

"This is definitely driven by the league, and not by the team, but they couldn't do anything," she added. "I'd already bought the tickets."​

It's a similar scene in other sports leagues when it comes to championship games, where season ticket holders don't necessarily have first dibs on their usual seats.

In the Super Bowl, for instance, a certain number of tickets are set aside for each team's fan base, and season-ticket holders have the chance to potentially buy them through a lottery system.

​Still, what's most frustrating for Rilstone is that this situation is happening for the TFC's first-ever championship game — right on home turf.

"This is the biggest game that Toronto FC has ever been in," she said. "It's a championship, and we may not make it there again for a very long time."

MLS Cup tickets go on sale to the general public through Ticketmaster on Monday at 1 p.m.