With new teams on the way and attendance rising, Major League Soccer has turned to a league-funded program to train its clubs’ new sales staffers to help drive ticket demand.
The new 45-day training program, dubbed the MLS National Sales Center, got its start last month with the graduation of 10 trainees to jobs with seven clubs. MLS calls it the first ticket sales school owned by a pro sports league.
A second session is underway with plans to run a third this year and another six or seven in 2011. The idea is to offer clubs more seasoned entry-level sales agents at a time when all forms of entertainment are fighting for their share of the consumer wallet.
“This is really a play around league expansion,” Bryant Pfeiffer, MLS vice president of club operations, said in a telephone interview. “There’s a need for sales people in this league.”
The MLS is in its 15th season with 16 teams and plans to add three more, including a franchise in Montreal, by 2012. Attendance is up 5 percent this year, and MLS officials expect the final average will be the second highest in league history after the initial year.