Final WPS Attendance Numbers

The regular season is over, and the second year of Women’s Professional Soccer saw a 23% drop in overall average league attendance. Only the Boston Breakers were able to improve on their average from year one, going from 4,183 per game to a league-leading 4,490. The league average went from 4,684 to 3,588, a drop of more than a thousand per game.

TEAM G Total Avg. Median 2009 Change
Boston 12 53,878 4,490 4,560 4,183 +7.3%
Chicago 12 48,296 4,025 3,955 4,673 -13.9%
Washington 12 45,904 3,825 3,645 4,817 -20.6%
Atlanta 12 44,284 3,690 3,291 0 N/A
Sky Blue FC 11 36,521 3,320 3,412 3,375 -1.6%
FC Gold Pride 13 40,117 3,086 3,153 3,139 -1.7%
Saint Louis 4 12,109 3,027 3,204 3,793 -20.2%
Philadelphia 13 38,190 2,938 2,585 0 N/A
WPS TOTAL 89 319,299 3,588 3,356 4,684 -23.4%

Losing Los Angeles obviously didn’t help, but The Stadium That Will Change Women’s SoccerTM in Atlanta couldn’t overcome a bad team. Saint Louis folded while their numbers were down 20% in a small sample, while Washington also saw a 21% drop and Chicago fell 14%. Sky Blue FC and FC Gold Pride (with far and away the league’s best team and the world’s best player) were only down slightly.

Other tidbits:

  • League-wide, attendance was basically stable from month-to-month, peaking in May for the second straight year.
  • For the second year in a row, we saw a dropoff from the first half of the schedule to the second half, but it was much smaller in 2010. In 2009, the difference between the first 35 games and the last 35 games was about 1,300 per game. This year, the difference between the first 45 games and the last 44 (there were only 89 games because of the St. Louis affair) was just over 300 per game.
  • World Cup BumpTM? Nope. not here. WPS games prior to the World Cup averaged 4,010. During the World Cup, 3,219. Aftewards, 3,412.
  • In two years, the league has drawn an announced 647,177 to 159 regular-season games, for an average of 4,070. In its first two years, WUSA averaged 7,536 (obviously while burning through a lot more money). WUSA’s drop from year one to year two was only 14%, but they weren’t battling the worst recession in memory.
  • Philadelphia’s going to host the first playoff game, this Sunday. That should be a treat. The Independence had only drawn over 3,000 once since their opener before getting 4,011 for their home finale two weeks ago. The winner of the Philadelphia-Washington game goes to Boston, where they draw well, but it’s on a Thursday night and at a smaller facility. FC Gold Pride will host the final and they will have had a few weeks to sell it. If they can’t, that doesn’t bode well. Last year’s playoffs (with a 7,218 crowd for the final in LA) averaged 5,500. They’re going to struggle to get there this year, it looks like.
  • Though they’re gone, the LA Sol still holds the title of best overall attendance for the two years at 6,298 for their only season. Washington is next at 4,699 with Philadelphia’s 2,938 bringing up the rear. In fact, Philly’s average is lower than any WUSA team averaged over its three-year run.

EDIT: I missed this, but Commissioner Tonya Antonucci is stepping down (Steve Goff broke the story), meaning there aren’t many folks left who started this rebirth of the pro women’s game. And while apparently a western New York team (the W-League’s Buffalo Flash entry) may join the league next year, unless someone convinces the investors there’s a future for this, I’m not sure WPS survives. Hope Solo may be right when she says she’s done playing in (this) league, but it might or might not be her choice.

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One Response to “Final WPS Attendance Numbers”

  1. Neil Says:

    I hope the league makes it at least through the WWC next summer. I think the USWNT will benefit from the experience and conditioning the women will get via meaningful play. I’m tired of finishing third, gold medals are nice, but I want another star on the shirt.