Archive for May, 2011

Taking Attendance, 5/31/2011

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Might be the last one for a while, but here’s the latest list of attendance figures for the prominent leagues (if a team’s not listed, either they haven’t had a home game yet or I have no figures for them).

THE MLS G Total Avg.
Seattle Sounders FC 7 253,864 36,266
Los Angeles Galaxy 6 136,938 22,823
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 7 140,923 20,132
Toronto FC 8 157,020 19,628
Portland Timbers 6 111,762 18,627
Philadelphia Union 6 108,596 18,099
Houston Dynamo 7 122,414 17,488
New York Red Bulls 6 104,036 17,339
Chivas USA 5 85,592 17,118
DC United 6 98,063 16,344
Real Salt Lake 5 81,360 16,272
Colorado Rapids 6 83,007 13,835
FC Dallas 7 96,099 13,728
Chicago Fire 5 66,439 13,288
New England Revolution 7 87,146 12,449
Columbus Crew 6 60,427 10,071
San Jose Earthquakes 6 59,132 9,855
TMLS TOTAL 106 1,852,818 17,479
 
NASL G Total Avg.
Montreal Impact 2 23,967 11,984
Ft. Lauderdale Strikers 3 15,599 5,200
FC Tampa Bay 6 18,538 3,090
Atlanta Silverbacks 5 15,128 3,026
Puerto Rico Islanders 2 5,374 2,687
FC Edmonton 2 4,891 2,446
Carolina RailHawks 6 13,038 2,173
NSC Minnesota Stars 5 7,115 1,423
NASL TOTAL 31 103,650 3,344
 
USL-PRO G Total Avg.
Orlando City 4 25,605 6,401
Rochester Rhinos 4 17,185 4,296
Charleston Battery 5 17,666 3,533
Wilmington Hammerheads 4 13,919 3,480
Antigua Barracuda FC 3 9,200 3,067
Richmond Kickers 6 11,468 1,911
FC New York 2 3,041 1,521
Harrisburg City Islanders 3 3,738 1,246
Charlotte Eagles 4 3,831 958
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 5 4,779 956
Dayton Dutch Lions 4 2,719 680
Los Angeles Blues 2 1,319 660
River Plate Puerto Rico 2 442 221
Puerto Rico United 2 210 105
USL PRO TOTALS 50 115,122 2,302
 
WPS G Total Avg.
Boston Breakers 3 13,075 4,358
Atlanta Beat 4 16,582 4,146
Western New York Flash 4 13,316 3,329
Philadelphia Independence 2 5,335 2,668
Sky Blue FC 3 7,769 2,590
magicJack 4 4,048 1,012
WPS TOTAL 20 60,125 3,006
 
PDL G Total Avg.
Fresno Fuego 2 11,965 5,983
Des Moines Menace 2 6,464 3,232
Carolina Dynamo 2 4,998 2,499
West Texas United Sockers 3 5,756 1,919
Ventura County Fusion 4 4,662 1,166
Portland Timbers U23 3 3,285 1,095
Victoria Highlanders 1 1,027 1,027
FC Jax Destroyers 2 1,967 984
Laredo Heat 3 2,822 941
Michigan Bucks 2 1,804 902
Mississippi Brilla 2 1,447 724
Real Maryland Monarchs 1 721 721
Chivas El Paso Patriots 3 1,970 657
St. Louis Lions 2 1,212 606
RGV Grandes FC 3 1,800 600
Jersey Express 2 1,125 563
BYU Cougars 2 1,080 540
Nashville Metros 2 1,050 525
Cincinnati Kings 1 506 506
Kitsap Pumas 3 1,375 458
WSA Winnipeg 2 850 425
New Hampshire Phantoms 2 800 400
River City Rovers 2 725 363
Long Island Rough Riders 3 1,079 360
MPS Portland Phoenix 2 717 359
Ocean City Nor’easters 1 357 357
Virginia Beach Piranhas 2 688 344
Central Florida Kraze 3 995 332
Reading United AC 2 655 328
Indiana Invaders 2 625 313
Los Angeles Legends 3 900 300
Ogden Outlaws 2 552 276
Vermont Voltage 2 550 275
Tacoma Tide 2 522 261
North Sound SeaWolves 1 250 250
Fredericksburg Hotspur 3 664 221
Real Colorado Foxes 2 420 210
Toronto Lynx 2 400 200
Akron Summit Assault 2 393 197
IMG Bradenton Academics 2 375 188
Springfield Demize 2 372 186
Vancouver Whitecaps Residency 2 327 164
West Virginia Chaos 3 423 141
Chicago Fire 2 259 130
Abbotsford Mariners 1 118 118
Southern California Seahorses 1 117 117
Orange County Blue Star 3 303 101
Bermuda Hogges 2 200 100
LA Blues 23 2 190 95
New Jersey Rangers 2 143 72
Fort Lauderdale Schulz Academy 4 255 64
Westchester Flames 2 120 60
Washington Crossfire 2 118 59
PDL TOTAL 115 72,498 630
 
W-LEAGUE G Total Avg.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 2,470 1,235
Atlanta Silverbacks 1 612 612
Long Island Rough Riders 1 496 496
Charlotte Lady Eagles 1 470 470
Virginia Beach Piranhas 2 747 374
Fredericksburg Impact 1 346 346
Victoria Highlanders 3 895 298
LA Strikers 2 575 288
Colorado Rush 1 235 235
Rochester Ravens 1 200 200
Colorado Force 1 128 128
Pali Blues 3 337 112
London Gryphons 1 107 107
New Jersey Rangers 1 89 89
Toronto Lady Lynx 2 150 75
W-LEAGUE TOTAL 23 7,857 342

Taking Attendance, 5/23/2011

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

All the leagues are up and running now, so here’s a look at where the crowds are going in the prominent soccer leagues in the US and Canada as of yesterday’s games:

 
THE MLS G Total Avg. Median
Seattle Sounders FC 6 217,838 36,306 36,255
Los Angeles Galaxy 5 122,480 24,496 24,998
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 6 119,923 19,987 20,664
Toronto FC 7 136,898 19,557 20,086
Portland Timbers 5 93,135 18,627 18,627
Philadelphia Union 6 108,596 18,099 18,482
Houston Dynamo 6 105,705 17,618 17,281
New York Red Bulls 5 85,955 17,191 16,365
Chivas USA 5 85,592 17,118 14,058
Real Salt Lake 4 66,634 16,659 15,907
DC United 6 98,063 16,344 15,276
FC Dallas 7 96,099 13,728 12,109
Chicago Fire 4 54,513 13,628 12,315
Colorado Rapids 5 66,568 13,314 13,598
New England Revolution 6 65,353 10,892 11,585
Columbus Crew 5 50,996 10,199 10,306
San Jose Earthquakes 6 59,132 9,855 10,006
Sporting Kansas City 0 0 0 0
TMLS TOTAL 94 1,633,480 17,377 16,752
 
NASL G Total Avg. Median
Montreal Impact 2 23,967 11,984 11,984
Ft. Lauderdale Strikers 2 10,844 5,422 5,422
FC Tampa Bay 6 18,538 3,090 3,173
Atlanta Silverbacks 5 15,128 3,026 3,161
Puerto Rico Islanders 2 5,374 2,687 2,687
FC Edmonton 1 2,631 2,631 2,631
Carolina RailHawks 5 10,023 2,005 2,016
NSC Minnesota Stars 4 5,096 1,274 1,231
NASL TOTAL 27 91,601 3,393 2,764
 
USL PRO G Total Avg. Median
Orlando City 3 21,088 7,029 7,279
Rochester Rhinos 3 14,158 4,719 4,136
Charleston Battery 3 11,490 3,830 4,079
Wilmington Hammerheads 4 13,919 3,480 3,632
Antigua Barracuda FC 3 9,200 3,067 2,000
FC New York 1 2,011 2,011 2,011
Richmond Kickers 5 8,923 1,785 1,833
Harrisburg City Islanders 3 3,738 1,246 1,393
Charlotte Eagles 4 3,831 958 951
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 4 3,774 944 865
Dayton Dutch Lions 4 2,719 680 613
Los Angeles Blues 2 1,319 660 660
River Plate Puerto Rico 2 442 221 221
Puerto Rico United 2 210 105 105
Sevilla FC Puerto Rico 0 0 0 0
USL PRO TOTALS 43 96,822 2,252 1,421
 
WPS G Total Avg. Median
Boston Breakers 3 13,075 4,358 4,158
Atlanta Beat 4 16,582 4,146 3,691
Western New York Flash 4 13,316 3,329 1,934
Sky Blue FC 2 5,857 2,929 2,929
Philadelphia Independence 1 1,879 1,879 1,879
magicJack 3 3,184 1,061 1,008
WPS TOTAL 17 53,893 3,170 2,910
 
PDL G Total Avg. Median
Fresno Fuego 2 11,965 5,983 5,983
Des Moines Menace 2 6,464 3,232 3,232
Carolina Dynamo 1 2,967 2,967 2,967
West Texas United Sockers 3 5,756 1,919 2,022
Ventura County Fusion 4 4,662 1,166 962
FC Jax Destroyers 1 1,111 1,111 1,111
Victoria Highlanders 1 1,027 1,027 1,027
Laredo Heat 3 2,822 941 925
Jersey Express 1 750 750 750
Mississippi Brilla 1 741 741 741
Nashville Metros 1 700 700 700
St. Louis Lions 1 689 689 689
Chivas El Paso Patriots 3 1,970 657 757
RGV Grandes FC 2 1,100 550 550
BYU Cougars 1 547 547 547
Cincinnati Kings 1 506 506 506
Kitsap Pumas 3 1,375 458 498
Central Florida Kraze 2 780 390 390
River City Rovers 2 725 363 363
Long Island Rough Riders 3 1,079 360 296
MPS Portland Phoenix 2 717 359 359
Ocean City Nor’easters 1 357 357 357
Virginia Beach Piranhas 2 688 344 344
Reading United AC 2 655 328 328
Los Angeles Legends 3 900 300 200
New Hampshire Phantoms 1 300 300 300
Fredericksburg Hotspur 2 521 261 261
Tacoma Tide 1 250 250 250
Toronto Lynx 1 250 250 250
Vermont Voltage 1 250 250 250
Portland Timbers U23 1 223 223 223
Real Colorado Foxes 2 420 210 210
Akron Summit Assault 2 393 197 197
IMG Bradenton Academics 2 375 188 188
Springfield Demize 2 372 186 186
Vancouver Whitecaps Residency 2 327 164 164
West Virginia Chaos 2 283 142 142
Abbotsford Mariners 1 118 118 118
Orange County Blue Star 2 200 100 100
LA Blues 23 1 86 86 86
Fort Lauderdale Schulz Academy 2 120 60 60
New Jersey Rangers 1 60 60 60
Washington Crossfire 1 53 53 53
Westchester Flames 1 20 20 20
PDL TOTAL 76 55,674 733 352
 
W-LEAGUE G Total Avg. Median
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1 1,555 1,555 1,555
Atlanta Silverbacks 1 612 612 612
Long Island Rough Riders 1 496 496 496
Charlotte Lady Eagles 1 470 470 470
Virginia Beach Piranhas 2 747 374 374
Fredericksburg Impact 1 346 346 346
Victoria Highlanders 2 690 345 345
Colorado Rush 1 235 235 235
LA Strikers 1 225 225 225
Colorado Force 1 128 128 128
Pali Blues 2 225 113 113
New Jersey Rangers 1 89 89 89
W-LEAGUE TOTAL 15 5,818 388 265

I Don’t Even Coach Soccer, But I Can Totally See This Happening

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

I’m going to guess anyone who’s ever coached youth soccer can relate to this video. And it’s probably not exclusive to soccer, either.

Despite Late Schedule Announcement, Most MLS Teams See Attendance Increase

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Despite the delayed release of Major League Soccer’s 2011 schedule (and the attendant kvetching about it), more than half of the league’s teams have increased announced attendance over the same number of home games as a year ago.

FC Dallas leads the way, averaging 14,258 after a 10,448 average through six home games in 2010 (a 36.5% bump), while the LA Galaxy’s 26.3% rise (from 19,397 to 24,496) is second best and one of four double-digit increases.

A handful of teams are seeing modest or virtually no increase, (Seattle couldn’t have sold too many more tickets), and only Philadelphia and Columbus are experiencing major drop-offs. The Union’s 20% drop is more because they had to open last season with two games at the much larger Lincoln Financial Field than any proven drop in interest. The Crew’s 28% drop is, obviously, troubling.

Here’s the chart, with teams ranked by their percentage increase in average announced attendance when comparing this year to the same number of home games from a year ago.

MLS G
Total
Average
2010
% Change
FC Dallas 6 85,549 14,258 10,448 +36.47%
Los Angeles Galaxy 5 122,480 24,496 19,397 +26.29%
DC United 6 98,063 16,344 14,635 +11.68%
Real Salt Lake 4 66,634 16,659 14,950 +11.44%
Colorado Rapids 4 52,970 13,243 12,404 +6.76%
New England Revolution 6 65,353 10,892 10,319 +5.55%
New York Red Bulls 5 85,955 17,191 16,740 +2.70%
San Jose Earthquakes 5 49,396 9,879 9,654 +2.33%
Houston Dynamo 5 80,391 16,078 15,754 +2.05%
Chivas USA 4 58,592 14,648 14,554 +0.65%
Seattle Sounders FC 5 181,740 36,348 36,145 +0.56%
Toronto FC 7 136,898 19,557 20,410 -4.18%
Chicago Fire 4 54,513 13,628 14,334 -4.92%
Philadelphia Union 5 90,224 18,045 22,619 -20.22%
Columbus Crew 5 50,996 10,199 14,244 -28.40%
Sporting Kansas City 0 N/A
Portland Timbers 4 74,508 18,627 N/A
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 6 119,923 19,987 N/A
MLS TOTAL 86 1,474,185 17,142 16,058 +6.75%

Note that Kansas City has yet to play a home game in 2011 while they await the opening of LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, and that Portland and Vancouver weren’t in the league last year. Lastly, the league total is for the first 86 games a year ago, regardless of which teams were involved in them, so it’s not a perfect comparison.

Dallas has already announced two sellout crowds, their home opener against Chicago and the visit from the Galaxy (which was marred by a weather delay). If you saw either game, you know there were nothing like 20,000 people at either game, but if the Dallas front office sold the tickets, good for them.

If you’re really a wonk, or just want to know more about how tickets actually get sold in this league, read this piece in The Shin Guardian, which features perspective from ticket sales directors for three MLS teams. It’s an interesting look at the experiences of the people who have to actually work to move tickets, unlike the experiences of those in NFL or major college football ticket departments who have a lot easier time. (Incidentally, I thought the comment from Chicago’s guy that their paid attendance is up 19% through four games to be very interesting, given their announced attendance over the same time period is down five percent. Either they gave away a bunch of tickets last year or there’s something going on we’re not aware of.)

As Indoor Turns….

Monday, May 16th, 2011

The latest twist in the long, tortured history of professional indoor soccer in North America came today when United Soccer Leagues announced an agreement to operate the Major Indoor Soccer League beginning this season.

As I read the release, it seems as though the name of the league isn’t going to change (for once), but that its operations are going to be brought under the auspices of the USL offices in Tampa. Chris Economides (who used to run the USL’s Rochester Rhinos, but also has indoor experience as a former GM with the Kansas City Attack), will “lead” the league, which apparently means MISL Commissioner Dave Grimaldi is out of a job. That’s a shame. Dave’s truly an “indoor guy” and a guy who really cares deeply about this crazy sport. Hopefully there’s a place for him somewhere in the game if he chooses to stay in it.

Anyway, the four remaining MISL teams (Baltimore, Milwaukee, Missouri and Wichita – Chicago is apparently out for now and Omaha has jumped to the PASL-Pro) will join the three markets (Rochester, Syracuse and Norfolk) previously announced as being part of the USL’s new I-League (which was having trouble getting off the ground) for a circuit of “at least seven teams” for 2011-2012. You’d hope there’d be a few more teams, but I don’t know exactly where they’re going to get them (there have been rumors of teams in Detroit and Minneapolis, but I wish I had a dollar for ever rumored indoor soccer expansion team since I’ve been paying attention).

If you notice, four of those seven teams are brand new and another (Missouri) has played exactly one season to this point. Baltimore and Milwaukee are the two longest-running indoor teams we have, but they’ve been surrounded in recent years by a cast of however many clubs whoever was running the show could conjure up to replace the two that just folded. I hope this move is the beginning of a stabilization of the indoor game, but I’ve been at this long enough to know that won’t be easy.

EDIT: This story out of Milwaukee quotes Wave coach Keith Tozer as saying this move “ensures that there is no overlap of playing seasons between outdoor and indoor.” That means the indoor season will have to end sometime in March and not bleed over into April (when most leagues below MLS traditionally open).

USA Team Handball Nationals Start Friday

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

The 43rd annual USA Team Handball National Club Championships get going in the morning at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah. For the third straight year, I’ll be broadcasting the men’s and women’s finals in the Elite Division on Sunday. You can catch the action at www.usateamhandball.org. The women’s final is at 1pm MT/4pm ET and the men’s final is at 3pm MT/5pm ET.

If you haven’t seen team handball before (not a surprise, there aren’t many opportunities), it’s a ton of fun when played well – a little like basketball, a little like indoor soccer, a little like water polo without the water. The best club teams in the country will be trying to knock off defending champ Los Angeles Team Handball Club in the men’s division, while the women’s division is wide open with defending champ Houston not returning to the tournament. Chicago Inter, which had won back-to-back titles before falling in last year’s women’s final, could return to the top spot, but not without a battle from the other teams in the draw.

See, This Is What I’m Saying

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

You have to read this piece by Brian Phillips on The Run of Play. I don’t know who Mr. Phillips is, but he nails it.

Key passage:

“…soccer has devolved into a realm a little like politics, a realm where fans’ access to preconceived explanations that suit their emotional allegiances is drowning reality out of the discourse.”

That’s been the case for probably 10 years or so, and if you want to see it in action, visit the US Men’s National Team forum of Bigsoccer.com sometime. Or most any forum over there, to be honest.

Phillips is also correct – and I’ve only come to this realization fairly recently – when he says “the truth about hyperpartisanship is that it is an absolutely miserable and unpleasant way to be a sports fan.” Where once I used to get really pissed off if one of my teams lost, now I’m more prone to let it go fairly quickly – especially if there’s something really important, like dinner, to distract me (to be honest, I still haven’t worked this all the way through when it comes to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Florida Gators).

Don’t be angry about the things you love. Love them until – and this part is inevitable – you die. But instead of dying a bitter, twisted person, you can die having enjoyed something, rather than having wrung the very life out of it because of some insane need to live vicariously through the fortunes of 25 to 53 people you’ll never meet in your life.

I Love The 80’s, Indoor Soccer Edition

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Here’s an awesome video find: highlights of an (original) MISL broadcast from January 1985 as the Cleveland Force take on the Pittsburgh Spirit. Not everyone knows that the dean of American soccer broadcasters, my man JP Dellacamera, got his start with the Spirit. Check out the first half of play and the halftime with highlights and features and enjoy a trip back to the mid-1980s.

Taking Attendance, 5/2/2011

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Thanks to those of you who pointed out some typos and transpositions in last week’s tables. Here’s the latest offering, through games of yesterday:

THE MLS G Total Avg. Median High Low
Seattle 4 145,147 36,287 36,255 36,433 36,204
Los Angeles 3 75,717 25,239 24,998 27,000 23,719
DC United 3 62,806 20,935 18,132 26,622 18,052
Vancouver 5 104,315 20,863 20,809 22,592 19,396
Toronto 5 97,965 19,593 20,086 22,453 16,313
Portland 3 55,881 18,627 18,627 18,627 18,627
Salt Lake 2 36,020 18,010 18,010 20,507 15,513
Philadelphia 4 71,046 17,762 18,435 19,027 15,149
New York 4 69,590 17,398 17,472 20,982 13,664
Houston 4 67,185 16,796 17,281 20,577 12,047
Dallas 4 65,295 16,324 16,203 21,867 11,022
Chivas USA 4 58,592 14,648 13,722 18,122 13,027
Chicago 3 42,833 14,278 12,473 18,203 12,157
Colorado 4 52,970 13,243 12,987 17,139 9,857
Columbus 4 43,848 10,962 10,802 14,549 7,695
San Jose 4 40,254 10,064 10,401 10,525 8,928
New England 4 39,412 9,853 9,692 12,914 7,114
Kansas City 0 0 0 0 0 0
MLS TOTAL 64 1,128,876 17,639 18,127 36,433 7,114
 
NASL G Total Avg. Median High Low
Montreal 1 12,060 12,060 12,060 12,060 12,060
Ft. Lauderdale 2 10,844 5,422 5,422 6,402 4,442
Tampa Bay 3 10,095 3,365 3,021 4,161 2,913
Atlanta 3 9,931 3,310 3,227 3,543 3,161
Puerto Rico 2 5,374 2,687 2,687 2,692 2,682
Edmonton 1 2,631 2,631 2,631 2,631 2,631
Carolina 3 4,416 1,472 1,219 2,016 1,181
Minnesota 1 1,431 1,431 1,431 1,431 1,431
NASL TOTAL 16 56,782 3,549 2,967 12,060 1,181
 
USL-Pro G Total Avg. Median High Low
Orlando 2 15,212 7,606 7,606 7,933 7,279
Antigua *1 6,000 6,000 6,000 6,000 6,000
Charleston 2 8,162 4,081 4,081 4,083 4,079
Wilmington 2 4,908 2,454 2,454 2,984 1,924
New York 1 2,011 2,011 2,011 2,011 2,011
Richmond 4 6,917 1,729 1,742 2,049 1,385
Pittsburgh 1 1,004 1,004 1,004 1,004 1,004
Charlotte 3 2,868 956 938 1,076 854
Dayton 3 2,269 756 625 1,044 600
Los Angeles 1 696 696 696 696 696
River Plate PR 3 570 190 128 315 127
Puerto Rico Utd *2 210 105 105 105 105
Sevilla FC PR #0 0 0 0 0 0
Harrisburg 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rochester 0 0 0 0 0 0
USL PRO TOTALS 25 50,827 2,033 1,076 7,933 105
*Missing two games
#Missing one game
 
WPS G Total Avg. Median High Low
Atlanta 3 10,457 3,486 3,380 4,002 3,075
Boston 2 6,947 3,474 3,474 4,158 2,789
Sky Blue FC 1 2,910 2,910 2,910 2,910 2,910
Western NY 1 2,164 2,164 2,164 2,164 2,164
magicJack 2 2,232 1,116 1,116 1,224 1,008
Philadelphia 0 0 0 0 0 0
WPS TOTAL 9 24,710 2,746 2,910 4,158 1,008

NOTES:

  • Now every team in the NASL has had at least one home game. The real surprise is Ft. Lauderdale, where, if they can keep up the type of boost their rebranding has apparently played a part in, they might be the flagship franchise. The others are about what you’d expect. Montreal is going to lead the league. I don’t know why people are crowing about Atlanta drawing at least 3k to their first three games – that’s better than Atlanta got before their hiatus, but it’s still below the historical average for Division II (3,434 from 1994-2010). And the Silverbacks are being outdrawn by the WPS team that plays 27 miles away. Edmonton drew 2,631 to their home league opener at 3,500-seat Foote Field, but their 5-0 defeat won’t help them sell tickets going forward. And Tampa Bay’s average attendance is off 41 percent from a year ago when they were playing on the other side of the Bay. Which is odd, because I was assured they’d be huge in St. Petersburg and sell out every game.
  • Speaking of the NASL, now that every team has had a home game, we can look at something I’m trying out: projecting the league attendance based on the number of remaining home games for each club and their projected totals. Basically, it asks the question, “if every team in the league keeps its current average for the remainder of its home games, what would the league attendance be?” As different teams have different numbers of games left at any given point in the season, it’s a way to look at where we are and how outlier teams like Montreal can impact the sample. The NASL projects out to a total of 397,474, an average of 3,312. Which would be the lowest for a DII league since 2002. I’ll keep an eye on this as the season goes along and project for the other leagues once everybody has a home game.
  • Despite what you might have heard somewhere, D3 numbers aren’t particularly harder to come by this year than in previous years. The only missing games are from the Caribbean teams, which comes as no surprise to anyone who understands that, infrastructurally, those teams are going to be behind the times. Charleston continues to draw well (4,079 this weekend), showing there are places where the level of play is less important than just having an established team. FC New York, which many (including me) doubted would ever play a game, announced 2,011 (could have been a deliberately made-up number) for its home opener. Wilmington drew 2,984 for its second home game. And Los Angeles drew 696 for its home debut. Obviously, that’s a tough market.
  • WPS had a rough weekend, with the new Western New York Flash drawing just 2,164 for its home inaugural in Rochester. It’s time for us now to admit that Marta, as great as she is, does not resonate. She does not sell tickets. It’s not happening. And magicJack drew just 1,008 (The Sun-Sentinel’s Jeff Rusnak said the actual crowd was about half that, right after he was denied the opportunity to interview players and coaches). More on magicJack later, but that’s not a good sign. At all.
  • MLS passed the one million mark in attendance for the season as of the Columbus game Saturday (which drew just 11,298 to Crew Stadium – Massive Club, right?) and is averaging 17,639. Final numbers for April show an average of 16,858 – down quite a bit from March’s 19,225. Still, the league is going to draw over four million when all is said and done.
  • Dallas announced a season-high 21,867 for its rain-interrupted match against the Galaxy last night. It’s the Hoops’ second announced crowd over 20k for the season, and in neither case did they have anything like 20k in the building.
  • And here’s an interesting note from the PDL, which began its season with two games this past weekend (not enough to do a chart on): the Fresno Fuego, which has been near the top of the PDL attendance standings in recent years, will charge no admission price for its tickets this season. A sponsor is picking up the cost, meaning the club is getting something out of the deal. You used to see this done on an occasional basis throughout a minor-league baseball season, but I’ve never heard of a team doing it for an entire season (though it’s only eight games). The Fuego announced a crowd of 7,853 for a 0-0 draw against LA Blues 23. Overall, I’m not a fan of this strategy, because sponsors come and go. People who care about your team should care enough to pay to watch it play. I think they’re conditioning their market to pay nothing for their tickets. We’ll see how it plays out.