MLS Teams Around League See Spike in Season Ticket Sales Following Beckham Announcement

NEW YORK (AP) - Several Major League Soccer teams have seen spikes in season-ticket sales since David Beckham announced his transfer to the Los Angeles Galaxy last week - and the bulk of the schedule hasn't even been released.

The Galaxy said Monday it had sold 5000 season tickets since Thursday while the expansion Toronto FC said it sold 2600 of its 10000 season tickets since the announcement.

"The announcement of David Beckham's signing to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy this summer has generated more interest in Major League Soccer than any other event in league history MLS commissioner Don Garber said Tuesday. "We didn't sign David to sell tickets and jerseys. He was signed because he's a world-class soccer player."

Beckham said he would join the Galaxy after his contract with Real Madrid expires June 30 but that was clouded by Saturday's statement from Madrid manager Fabio Capello who said Beckham would train - but no longer play - for the team.

If Madrid releases him early Beckham might be available when the Galaxy begin their season April 8 at the defending champion Houston Dynamo. Los Angeles plays its first home game four days later against the New York Red Bulls.

Dynamo sales and marketing senior vice president Steve Powell said Houston's season-ticket sales saw a 200 percent jump last week over the previous week and that was despite confusion among some potential ticket buyers surrounding Beckham's arrival date.

Only the dates of the home openers of the 13 clubs have been announced. The full 32-round schedule won't be out until early February. MLS teams drew an average crowd of 15504 last season.

Other teams also said they have seen increases since the Beckham announcement.

D.C. United spokesman Doug Hicks said the four-time MLS champions sold 300 season tickets last week which was "a little above normal and FC Dallas said it sold 115 on Thursday and Friday.

"Basically the phones were ringing off the hook FC Dallas spokesman German Sferra said."