Red Bulls managing director Erik Stover has the look of someone who could use a few good hours in a hammock to catch some serious shut eye.
Since last Wednesday’s announcement making it official that the Red Bulls have signed Thierry Henry, Stover said that the staff is in overdrive handling the demand and interest generated by the acquisition.
“The phones have been ringing off the hook,” Stover told MLSSoccer.com.
Stover would not confirm any hard numbers on ticket sales, only to say that the post-World Cup lull in ticket sales “is over.”
Having “more than doubled our season tickets since last year,” Stover said that Henry's impact won’t be fully felt until next year. Currently, only partial ticket plans and individual games are available for purchase through the club, including for this week's Barclays New York Challenge, which begins on Thursday when Henry is expected to start against Tottenham Hotspur.
The bottom line of Henry's signing can be seen in the auxiliary ways he impacts the soccer economy. For example, online ticket sale portal StubHub is perhaps the most recognizable way that fans swap tickets, and the company's corporate communications manager, Joellen Ferrer, said that she has noticed a significant uptick in interest in the Red Bulls "as a result of Thierry Henry’s signing."
In fact, on StubHub, where sellers set their own prices, there was a 20 percent increase in the value of a typical Red Bulls ticket in the 48 hours after the Henry announcement became official.
Henry is expected to make his league debut in Houston in a couple weeks, and Ferrer said that “there was a noticeable jump in sales for that game.”
Fans, she says, are paying well above the normal price seen on StubHub for Dynamo tickets.
“We obviously knew and expected this response,” Stover said. “But to be honest, this move was about winning on the field.”
But as of right now, it appears that Henry is a winner off the field too.
Kristian Dyer is a reporter for MLSSoccer.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs. He can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012