Taking Attendance, 5/2/2011
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:
|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|
|USL PRO TOTALS||25||50,827||2,033||1,076||7,933||105|
|*Missing two games|
|#Missing one game|
|Sky Blue FC||1||2,910||2,910||2,910||2,910||2,910|
- 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.