Taking Attendance, 5/14/2012
Now that everybody in the top three men’s leagues has had at least one home game, here’s the first Taking Attendance report of the 2012 season.
|USL PRO TOTAL||35||87,260||2,493||1,223||8,421||200|
A few notes:
- MLS projects out (if everybody holds their current average) to draw more than six million in 2012 and to break their all-time average record. Montreal’s average is going to drop (obviously) once they move back into the renovated Saputo Stadium. Also, for the moment, Montreal leads the league in average attendance, the first time in a while Seattle hasn’t been there.
- San Antonio has taken Montreal’s spot as the NASL attendance leader, despite getting increasingly diminishing crowds after a 13,000+ opener. Atlanta and Carolina are both up nicely in average attendance over the same number of home games as a year ago (as is Minnesota, but that’s more a function of their large Metrodome opener skewing a small sample). But Fort Lauderdale, Tampa Bay, Edmonton and Puerto Rico are down (the latter two because of venue shifts). Tampa Bay, which lost 25% off its 2010 numbers by moving to St. Petersburg, got the supposedly magical “Rowdies” identity back and are now down another 10%. Nostalgia is great, but it doesn’t always sell like you think it will.
- Rochester lead Division II in average for years, and they’re leading Division III for the moment on the strength of a home opening crowd not everyone believed was 7,959. Orlando continues to draw extremely well. There’s been no significant change among the other teams, though Los Angeles had a decent (2,432) home opener and now are back to drawing hundreds.
- The PDL season is fully underway, with Des Moines and Fresno once again up top (all of Fresno’s tickets are free through a sponsorship deal) and the league so far running almost 100% ahead of its normal average (I’m missing six games worth of attendance figures here early). Carolina also drew well for its home opener this weekend (2,741). As you can see, many PDL teams put development ahead of everything else, and their attendance figures reflect that.
- Though it’s too early to do a full chart on it, the WPSL Elite season (featuring the remnants of WPS and a few other ambitious clubs) opened this past weekend, with Chesapeake drawing an estimated 400 to their opener on Thursday and last year’s WPS champions, Western New York, getting 1,304 to theirs. Obviously, it helps to have Alex Morgan. The W-League season is also underway and also too early to chart, but Charlotte drew 559 to its Friday opener, while Tampa (playing in Brandon) drew 90 to its Sunday opener.
- As always, standard disclaimers about announced figures apply. If I had drop counts, you’d get those, too, but I don’t, so these numbers are the ones we have. YMMV.