Mmmmm, Tasty Attendance GraphsBy: Ben | November 1st, 2011
Yeah, my power’s been out. Curse you, October blizzard.
Remember when I said attendance was good this year? I was wrong. It was great. Record shattering, in fact. Enough to surpass the NBA and NHL, in fact. Seriously. After sixteen years, we have beaten not only our own record set in 1996, but those of other leagues against whom we’re compared. I really want you to think about that: hockey may be a bit more fringe-y, but basketball is as American as apple pie. And we beat them. Sure, you could say it’s because NBA stadia are small, and that their tickets are expensive, but honestly I don’t care. We freaking did it.
Now comes the cool comparisons: those against other neighboring leagues. MLS Rumors has gathered some data that I seriously recommend you check out, and I’ll walk you through it here.
This image shows the attendance of MLS, Argentina’s Primera Clausura, Brasil’s Brasilierao, Mexico’s Primera Division, and Chile’s Primera Division. Our league stacks up well; we may fall short of Mexico, but we’re well on our way to catching up to Argentina, and leave both Chile and soccer-mad Brasil in our dust. Of course, this graph brings up how dependent MLS is on Seattle’s unbelievable attendance, but, while other leagues may surely have a higher median, all others follow a trend of having one team be an outlier that raises the overall average. Beside Seattle, consider Argentina’s River and Boca or Mexico’s America and Tigres. As a whole, I think this graph shows pretty clearly that, while MLS may not be dominant, it is definitely worthy of being considered among the top North and South American soccer leagues in terms of attendance.
Then there’s this graph, comparing MLS to the world’s other relatively young soccer leagues:
When reading this, consider that the above leagues were founded in this order: K- League, J League, MLS, Russian Premier League, CSL, A League, I League. MLS thus stands as the third oldest, and second most successful of the “young leagues”, a title I’m happy to claim. Being American, it’s easy to fall into the trap of only considering a league successful if it can fill 80K capacity arenas and command the top talent in the world. Our expectations need to follow a Don Garber model: reasonable and gradual, with slow, stable building toward a better future.
Overall, these are numbers to be proud of. Thoughts?
Oh yeah, and,uh…..