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Did D.C. United really just raise season ticket prices? For most, no.

The team released its season ticket packages for 2014 this afternoon, and if Twitter is to be believed, you're going to be paying more next year. We dive into the numbers to find out for sure.

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D.C. United released their 2014 season ticket pricing and perks this afternoon, to a minor uproar on Twitter that was quickly drowned out by word of the Washington Post sale to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. (Seriously, tweeps, where are your priorities?) Several people immediately fretted that ticket prices were going up "significantly," but a quick look at 2013 prices vs. 2014 prices shows that this generally isn't the case.

First, let's look at the prices for next year:

FIELD LEVEL $200 $2,394 n/a n/a
CLUB/SUITE $90 $1,296 n/a n/a
MEZZANINE $55 $792 $450 $208
Youth $522 $342 n/a
MIDFIELD $45 $648 $360 $168
Youth $414 $270 n/a
SUPPORTERS MIDFIELD $40 $576 $315 $152
Youth $360 $243 n/a
SIDELINE $35 $486 $279 $132
Youth $306 $207 n/a
SUPPORTERS $35 $468 $234 n/a
Youth $306 $207 n/a
CORNER $30 $432 $234 $112
Youth $270 $180 $88
ENDLINE $25 $360 $207 n/a
Youth $252 $162 n/a

The first thing that will jump out at current and previous season ticket holders will be some new price tiers: Corner, Supporters, and Supporters Midfield. Corner will be the second-lowest tier, above just Endline and below Sideline. Supporters will be the 100-level for the entire loud side, and Supporters Midfield will be the 200- and 300- sections (three sections on each level) at midfield on the loud side. The team is touting these new tiers as creating more flexibility for STHs. But what will they do to pricing?

Looking at the 2014 seating map and the 2013 seating map, it looks like all three new tiers will be taken from the Sideline price point, so we'll use the 2013 Sideline pricing as the baseline for the price change in those sections. Here's the comparison between next year and this year. (2013 info taken from the Wayback Machine's December 2012 snapshot of the team website.)

Seating section 2013 2014 Difference % Change
FIELD LEVEL $2,394 $2,394 $0 0.00%

CLUB/SUITE $1,404 $1,296 ($108) -8.33%

MEZZANINE $864 $792 ($72) -9.09%
Youth $522 $522 $0 0.00%
MIDFIELD $670 $648 ($22) -3.40%
Youth $405 $414 $9 2.17%
SUPPORTERS MIDFIELD $486 $576 $90 15.63%
Youth $306 $360 $54 15.00%
SIDELINE $486 $486 $0 0.00%
Youth $306 $306 $0 0.00%
SUPPORTERS $486 $468 ($18) -3.85%
Youth $306 $306 $0 0.00%
CORNER $486 $432 ($54) -12.50%
Youth $306 $270 ($36) -13.33%
ENDLINE $378 $360 ($18) -5.00%
Youth $252 $252 $0 0.00%

So, even at a quick glance, it's pretty clear most ticket prices will be staying the same or going down in 2014. If you're a big spender in the Mezzanine or the Club/Suite level, you're especially happy with the 8-9% price cut, but not as much as those people who sit in the northwest corner, who will be seeing more than a 12% drop from this year. (Personally, I'm seeing my tickets stay at the same price next season, as the Sideline tier is unchanged.)

If you like sitting in the sections immediately behind the core of the Screaming Eagles and Barra Brava, though, you're not going to love the changes. The new Supporters Midfield tier - sections 231, 232, 233, 332, 333 and 334 - is the only part of RFK stadium seeing a price bump for 2014, and it really is significant. (The youth tickets in the Midfield tier will also see a small increase, but it's probably outweighed by the larger drop in the adult Midfield ticket price for most people affected.) Those 200- and 300-level midfield sections on the loud side will cost $90 more than this year's season price, more than a 15% jump. As commenter itwasi pointed out to me on Twitter this afternoon, those are really popular sections, especially for fans bringing newbies to the stadium, and it's pretty likely a lot of the season ticket holders around there will decamp for cheaper pastures elsewhere in RFK (or in front of the TV).

On the whole, I like the more flexible pricing, and I like that the supporters sections are seeing a price reduction for next year. Obviously I like that my tickets aren't getting more expensive. I don't love the price jump behind the supporters, but I'll admit that I was always a little surprised that those tickets could be had at the lower Sideline price. Given the tradeoffs, I'm leaning toward calling these prices a net win for most fans. It would be a clear gain witout the increase for the "new" Supporters Midfield sections, but it looks like the team is taking the calculated risk that slightly lower tickets elsewhere in the stadium will make up for any losses in that area.

What strikes you about the pricing for 2014? Let us hear it in the comments.

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