And The Results Of MLS’s 2010 Attendance Stats Are…By: Ben | October 27th, 2010
On the whole, it was a year of varied results for MLS attendance. With an overall average of 16,675, and an increase of about 4%, it was the league’s third best ever. However, while some teams soared, others floundered. The full team by team breakdown looks like this:
The biggest gains took place in New York (which, with a new stadium and two new DP’s to play in it, should be expected), Seattle (who went from biggest to, well, even bigger), and Colorado (still one of the smaller sides), with honorable mentions going out to LA (5%, whose attendance still in no way reflects their star power), Chicago (7.6%), and RSL (4.39%). Cutting out teams whose attendance shrunk, the average increase league wide was 9.56%, a very strong number.
However, at the same time, there were those whose attendance took a turn for the worse. This included Chivas (-3.42), D.C (-9.67, but understandable considering the dismal season), New England (-5.43%), and the two biggest losers; Dallas (-13.07), and San Jose (-31.57, a whopping percent). The overall decrease of these teams averaged out to be -12.632%.
What we can take from these numbers is that our league continues to be both a steady success and a constant failure simultaneously. Some cities are showing a growing, if not already strong interest in professional soccer, while one third of the teams which played last year are still decreasing at an alarming rate. MLS’s respect in the mind of the average American sports fan will come not from single soccer-crazed cities like Seattle, but from a strong backbone of solidly attended teams. This leaves no room for stragglers, as, frankly, there is now way outsiders will respect MLS if it still has teams averaging below 14,000. That may still be a huge reach for many markets, but it’s what will be necessary for the league to be seen as legitimate. Consider that if each of the teams with attendance below 14,000 had reached that exact number, the overall league average would stand at 17,485, setting well above the NBA and NHL.
However, its important to look at the positive side of these numbers. We increased overall. Stadium capacities averaged 78% (which, by the way, show just how desperately San Jose and Kansas City need their own stadia). And, while having no teams with attendance below 14,000 is still a dream on the whole, it is a great goal for franchises to strive towards. Overall, MLS is keeping its head above water. Now is our time to swim.
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