The USSF Division II Pro Soccer League season ended over the weekend (the playoffs start tomorrow) and, when all was said and done, average league attendance was down nearly six percent from a year ago, and at its lowest level since 2004. Here are the numbers:
- Baltimore’s numbers were down 12 percent from their D3 numbers of a year ago (step up a level, attendance goes down. Second team in a row to do that, how’s that looking now, proles?). Tampa Bay and St. Louis had no numbers last year because they didn’t exist and St. Louis and Baltimore may not next year (supposedly there’s a potential buyer in St. Louis. Good luck.).
- Portland became the first D2 team not named Montreal or Rochester to average over 10,000 a game in the modern era. They really should go to MLS.
- Nice work by Austin, up almost 26% thanks (in part, I would guess, ERic could set me straight) to the move from a high school football stadium to a better high school football stadium. Now the NASL (tee hee) says they’ll have a team in San Antonio in 2012, which would be a great carrot to try to get Austin to align with them if only (a) it was 2011 and not 2012, (b ) we had a reasonable expectation that there’d actually be a team in San Antonio in 2012 and (c ) we had a reasonable expectation there will be an NASL in 2012. Or 2011, for that matter.
- Hey, look at Miami FC, up 18% from a year ago! Maybe Traffic is finally figuring it out*.
- Biggest dropper: Minnesota, where the NSC Stars did less than half the numbers the old Thunder did, with the caveats that (a) the Thunder were lying and ( b) the National Sports Center had very little time between when they knew they’d have a team and when that team actually had to play. Still, they, like Carolina and St. Louis and Puerto Rico, are looking for investors to be able to play at the D2 level next year, while Baltimore is probably trying to return a bunch of stuff to Best Buy to get some cash in the door.
- Montreal has now led the league in attendance for the last six years.
- If you take away the top two teams (Montreal and Portland), the D2 average was just 3,026.
- No, no World Cup bump, either. Despite what the NASL office (tee hee) would have had you believe, there was no residual effect (at least there’s no evidence of one) from FIFA’s June-July party. Attendance averaged 4,632 (3,886 median) prior to the World Cup and 4,321 (2,649 median) after it.
So, Portland and Vancouver are gone after this month, headed off to MLS. Montreal will follow after another year. Whatever Division II soccer looks like next year, I’m not seeing any particular causes for optimism that the numbers will be substantially different than in years past.
*No, they’re not actually figuring it out.