Thought on Attendance

Thought on Attendance

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On April 16, 2008
  • 8 Comments

We all like to talk about attendance from week to week. Some clubs post great numbers and others post not-so-good numbers from week to week for various reasons.

We know the reasons at certain times of the year for lower figures and why we get higher numbers at other points. Players are reason for that as we’ve seen over the years with the Freddy Adu effect and now the Blanco/Beckham effect that the league is seeing now.

But how has the MLS compared to other leagues around the world? We know the league isn’t quite on the level on the field as other clubs but interestingly enough we are moving up the charts in terms of butts-in-seats with other leagues that have been around much longer than the MLS has (the league started in 1996 for newbies).

This report from Pete Grathoff of the KC Star got me thinking of this today (I know this article is a couple days old now but it’s still worth mentioning). He talks about how the league stacks up against other soccer leagues in the world and the ‘Big Four’ here in America (NHL, NBA, MLB, and NFL). Amazingly the MLS is right on par with the NBA and NHL (both indoor attendance figures) and about half of the MLB; and if my math serves me right about a third of the NFL.

The league’s average attendance was 16,770 last year, the best since its inaugural season of 1996. The MLS in comparison to the rest of the world sits right at number 11.

Country Avg. Att.
Bundesliga (Germany) 37,644
English Premier League 34,459
La Liga (Spain) 28,838
Clausura (Mexico) 25,379
Ligue 1 (France) 21,817
Serie A (Italy) 19,711
J.League (Japan) 19,081
Eredivisie (Holland) 18,052
Campeonato (Brazil) 17,461
Primera (Argentina) 17,363
Major League Soccer 16,770
Scottish Premier League 16,194
Turkish Premier Super 14,058
A-League (Australia) 14,042

Honestly, for a league that isn’t that old, being ranked 11 in this table is great. All of the other leagues have been around for decades, so the MLS is well on its way to climbing that chart even more in the coming years as more soccer specific stadiums continue to open up and as the league expands.

Of course the MLS won’t be the EPL or the other top five overnight in the butts-in-seats category but we are getting closer with each season.

What do you all make of these numbers? I have to say I was a little surprised to see the MLS that high up, I knew they had decent attendance last year but I wasn’t really aware of how decent it was in comparison to other leagues in the world.

  • Ryan

    The numbers are good for now, but I think a big concern is making sure they stay up this year. The first two weeks looked promising, but the third not so much: <a href="http://mls.f2f2s.com/att.php&quot; target="_blank"><a href="http://mls.f2f2s.com/att.php</a>&quot; target="_blank">http://mls.f2f2s.com/att.php</a></a&gt;

  • Hardin Thicke

    I'd say don't call it 'the MLS.'

  • drew.epperley

    Ryan, good numbers on that site. You have to know those will jump up once Toronto starts having home games here this season. But yes there is a slight concern for making sure those numbers from last year improve this season.

  • JesseMT

    Odds are stacked against attendance numbers that good this year because of the small grounds in San Jose and KC and the fading of the Beckham effect. I'd settle for only a small decrease.

  • The numbers are good for now, but I think a big concern is making sure they stay up this year. The first two weeks looked promising, but the third not so much: http://mls.f2f2s.com/att.php

  • Hardin Thicke

    I’d say don’t call it ‘the MLS.’

  • Ryan, good numbers on that site. You have to know those will jump up once Toronto starts having home games here this season. But yes there is a slight concern for making sure those numbers from last year improve this season.

  • JesseMT

    Odds are stacked against attendance numbers that good this year because of the small grounds in San Jose and KC and the fading of the Beckham effect. I’d settle for only a small decrease.