To whom it may concern,
I am a season ticket holder and passionate supporter of the Colorado Rapids. I attended the game on Sept 13 with my wife and two very young children. We attend as many games as possible and positively support our team. Our home is two hours from the stadium. We use the home games as a family night out. My daughter has experienced two seasons of Rapids soccer, she herself is barely two and a half. This night was different. I want to address many things that made this my worst Rapids experience.
The MLS Pledge to fans is a good starting point. “• Watch the game in a safe, clean and healthy environment. • Be treated in a courteous, consistent and professional manner. That evening I was not treated courteously, your event staff were not consistent and in many cases authority replaced professional manners.
On Sept 13th the day of the game, I received a call and an email. The call was from a ticket representative helping my normal assigned rep. She is good graces explained to me that I would not be in my normal seats for that evening’s game. I love my normally assigned seating. I chose it on purpose and my normal seats provide the consistent experience. David Santamaria, in the email, called it an “upgraded.” It was anything but upgraded. Where I normally sit with direct access to an aisle, this night I was forced to ask other patrons to allow me out to take care of my toddler.
Why were we, the home fans asked to move? Per your own website, “The Visiting Supporters Section at DSGP is in section 100.” For this international CCL game, the visitors sections included 100, 101, …. 112. Per the MLS Pledge to fans, we can “Expect timely and accurate information related to the game.” How timely is a phone call and email hours before kickoff? I had to arrive earlier than planned just to go to will call.
“Tonight is the highly anticipated home match versus Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League and we anticipate a very strong showing from the Santos supporters.” this is from the email I received a few hours prior to the game. What concerns me the most is that this did not have the feel or authentic feeling of home match. I was forced to look at what I guessed was 6000 opposing team supporters. I was forced from my normal seats. I had to abandon my normal parking area, I was forced into entering at a different gate. Which of those concerns make you think this was a home game?
Speaking of which your rules, and consistent enforcement in a professional manner, those mentioned in the Code of Conduct. Your code states “Please understand that the Colorado Rapids and Dick’s Sporting Goods Park are very serious about enforcing the Fan Code of Conduct. We do not and will not take any violation of the Code of Conduct lightly. To this I cry foul. You were anything but “serious about enforcing the Fan Code of Conduct.
Part of the code of conduct specifically the “Inappropriate behavior includes, but is not limited to: Disturbing other guests’ enjoyment of the event.” I was completely disturbed by the foul language coming from the estimated 6000 fans of the opponent. You may ask what foul and inappropriate language I speak of? 7th minute, and I quote “Puto.” This is just one of many examples. Translate it yourself, as I am fluent in Spanish and understand the context. This certainly disturbed my enjoyment of the event. Yet nothing was done.
Argus security and other members of your security team were busy surrounding our supporters groups and by many first hand accounts, it was verbalized to many that foul language could result in being ejected. I could see 15 plus light blue shirts surrounding two sections of PID Army and BSG. Yet, I could visualize only 16 for the entire East side.
I myself am not a supporters group member. I bring my family and occasionally friends to games. This was the chance for the Rapids to highlight the true experience of hosting an international game. Instead it appears, in my opinion, that you chose to accommodate the visiting supporters, while herding your own to far corners, and after they were seated, telling them to sit quietly and not upset the house guests by being the passionate fans that they normally are. You constantly use your own fans to promote your team, but tonight showed that business is business and that the fans will just have to deal with it.
My personal experience was many glaring looks from your staff, when passionate verbalizations occurred. I felt almost threatened and felt fearful of being ejected for expanding on what I felt and how I felt. Not a home game type feeling.
I am a fan, and will continue to be, but I will never forget the events of that evening. Our team lost, that I can deal with as it is part of the game. What will forever be present, is that I was moved for visiting fans, the hypocritical enforcement of rules and codes, and the feelings expressed by fellow fans as we were leaving the stadium. No one discussed the actual results of the game, many just recalled their interactions with staff and security.
I drove home that night, and spent most of my two hour journey talking with my wife and friends. The topics included how this game could have been different, how social media will respond to the antics, and questioning the future investment in continuing to be a season ticket holder. These drives back home usually entail recollections of game details and how my children enjoyed the game.
This negative experience is a first in my dealings with the Colorado Rapids Soccer Club. If you have questions or would like to speak to me about it, you can find my information in your files. I will gladly expand my concerns.
Season Ticket Holder for the Colorado Rapids Soccer Club