A Twitter war erupted in the early hours of last Sunday morning between San Jose Earthquakes president Dave Kaval and a Seattle Sounders Supporters Group account @WeAreECS. Before long, various others joined the fray.
The dispute originated over ticket prices for visiting Seattle fans to the Earthquakes vs. Sounders game on August 2nd, match which will be used to open the new 49ers Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.
The issue was the price of the cheapest ticket for the game for visiting fans, $55.
The Supporters Group taunted Kaval back about San Jose's traveling support before the argument veered into other penalty areas than that of MLS, taking in NFL and even rock band U2.
Having taunted the Seattle fans about their lack of MLS Cups, Kaval noted that the $50 for a ticket is less than they paid to watch the Irish band. It didn't get any better after that.
As the Tweets progressed things got a little more schoolyard.
The ECS tweeter may well have has his tongue firmly in cheek when he criticized Kaval for a policy of artificially restricting attendance to increase demand in an NFL Stadium, given that has been Sounders FC policy since they joined MLS.
It was certainly inviting a retort about tarps, limiting away fans despite 30,000 unused seats and declaring sellout crowds after you reduce supply to the number you think you can sell.
Fortunately for them, Kaval missed the opportunity for a conclusive 'win'. But that leads to a very good question. What is a 'win' in these situations and can someone in Kaval's position benefit from an open dialogue with opposing fans, especially when restricted to twitter's 140 characters?
This morning Timbers owner Merritt Paulson is feeling the backlash for an ill advised taunt of the same Supporters Group. It is hard to envisage a way that arguing with Seattle fans online could end up in a positive way for either man. Certainly the ECS can feel a little pride that they edged Portland's owner into saying something unwise that will draw him bad PR. even if Kaval did miss an open goal.
Twitter wars can be seen as amusing sideshow and certainly it adds another forum for people to discuss soccer between games. Healthy differences of opinion and slagging matches are two different things though.
In all areas of society we need to engage in debate, but perhaps twitter is not the most efficient method for people in positions of authority to debate club policy with opposition fans. If they should do so at all.