Taking Attendance: Final Unofficial PDL Attendance Numbers

With the USL’s PDL regular season just completed and the playoffs underway, here’s a look at the final (unofficial) numbers for the league (as always, additions and corrections are welcome):

Rk Team G Total Average Median High Low
1 Des Moines Menace 8 27,790 3,474 3,497 3,961 2,929
2 Fresno Fuego #5 15,237 3,047 2,743 4,361 1,723
3 Portland Timbers 8 23,079 2,885 1,444 8,174 349
4 Carolina Dynamo 8 13,620 1,703 1,710 2,741 945
5 Austin Aztex 8 11,157 1,395 1,235 2,507 808
6 Ventura Co.Fusion 8 10,417 1,302 1,023 3,165 749
7 West Texas Sockers 8 10,202 1,275 1,182 1,917 972
8 Victoria Highlanders *7 7,116 1,017 1,078 1,253 720
9 W. Mass Pioneers **6 5,376 896 881 1,491 411
10 BYU Cougars *7 6,151 879 944 2,026 207
11 Laredo Heat 8 5,747 718 682 1,123 526
12 Tucson *7 4,769 681 686 827 513
13 Ocean City *7 4,384 626 481 1,175 298
14 Michigan Bucks *7 4,050 579 419 1,342 285
15 Palmetto Bantams 8 4,324 541 509 1,031 216
16 Thunder Bay Chill 8 4,311 539 536 583 509
17 Forest City London *7 3,550 507 400 1,000 200
18 Mississippi Brilla 8 4,014 502 550 667 223
19 New Orleans Jesters &2 1,000 500 500 500 500
20 Panama City #5 2,420 484 455 598 407
21 WSA Winnipeg 8 3,750 469 375 1,200 250
22 Vermont Voltage *7 3,176 454 241 1,340 135
23 El Paso Patriots 8 3,551 444 476 816 180
24 Kitsap Pumas *7 3,069 438 438 691 228
25 Sounders U23 **6 2,523 421 282 968 68
26 Baltimore Bohemians 8 3,198 400 349 753 131
27 LI Rough Riders 8 2,913 364 330 612 103
28 CFC Azul 8 2,853 357 365 457 235
29 Kansas City Brass *7 2,379 340 358 398 213
30 Va. Beach Piranhas 8 2,691 336 304 558 258
31 Fredericksburg 8 2,660 333 271 537 202
32 Worcester Hydra 8 2,589 324 300 531 250
33 Reading United AC 8 2,389 299 292 416 220
34 Orlando City U23 %4 1,183 296 308 468 100
35 Ocala Stampede 8 2,325 291 275 500 150
36 GPS Portland Phoenix 8 2,176 272 274 500 125
37 Real Colorado Foxes *7 1,875 268 200 450 150
38 St. Louis Lions 8 2,088 261 277 423 100
39 Jersey Express 8 1,863 233 205 526 100
40 No. Virginia Royals 8 1,856 232 230 375 68
41 So. Calif. Seahorses 8 1,783 223 200 356 145
42 FtL Schulz Academy *6 1,236 206 231 300 100
43 Seacoast United 8 1,585 198 100 610 100
44 Cincinnati Kings 8 1,508 189 144 501 55
45 Ottawa Fury 8 1,505 188 175 305 100
46 Cen. Jersey Spartans %4 749 187 90 504 65
47 SWV King’s Warriors 8 1,485 186 193 305 95
48 Ogden Outlaws 8 1,452 182 189 253 109
49 Jax Destroyers 8 1,449 181 187 325 70
50 Boston Victory 8 1,365 171 118 546 52
51 VSI Tampa Flames 8 1,342 168 140 365 105
52 River City Rovers 8 1,303 163 136 325 100
53 N. Snd. Seawolves *7 946 135 130 280 50
54 West Virginia Chaos 8 1,072 134 107 310 20
55 Hamilton Rage **6 795 133 110 200 75
56 Nashville Metros 8 1,051 131 118 227 83
57 Chicago Inferno @3 385 128 107 174 104
58 LA Misioneros *7 894 128 120 184 100
59 OC Blue Star 8 970 121 133 157 75
60 Pali Blues **6 686 114 100 192 71
61 Springfield Demize 8 878 110 98 245 40
62 Vancouver Whitecaps 8 862 108 77 203 77
63 Toronto Lynx 8 850 106 100 200 25
64 Washington Crossfire 8 819 102 85 250 50
65 Westchester Flames 8 794 99 95 95 140
66 Bradenton **7 665 95 75 150 50
67 Texas Dutch Lions %4 360 90 90 150 30
68 Brooklyn Knights 8 642 80 86 103 42
69 Fraser Vall.Mariners 8 605 76 75 85 65
70 New Jersey Rangers **6 414 69 66 115 44
71 Chicago Fire **6 410 68 45 200 0
72 Bermuda Hogges 8 473 59 45 108 20
73 Real Maryland !0 0 0 0 0 0
  PDL TOTAL 520 251,154 483 250 8,174 0


* Missing 1 game
**Missing 2 games
# Missing 3 games
% Missing 4 games
@ Missing 5 games
& Missing 6 games
! Missing 8 games

NOTES:

  • It’s based on incomplete information, obviously, but the league average dropped slightly from last year, when it was 542. These are all small sample sizes (and incomplete ones in some cases), so it’s hard to pinpoint the reasons, but the expansion teams collectively averaged just over 400 a game (led by Austin’s 1,395), while more than half the returning teams saw a decrease from 2011, from 6% for the Michigan Bucks to 58% for the El Paso Patriots).
  • Portland was the big success story, growing its average by 88%, helped by a pair of league-record 8k+ crowds. The teams that had bigger percentage increases went from minuscule crowds to (mostly) small crowds.
  • Des Moines led the league (again) for the 10th time in 13 years, and they were second the other three times. Fresno, which has routinely been among the leaders, was again, but dropped by a third (in the five games I have figures for). Fresno’s tickets are all free through a local media sponsorship.
  • Austin’s return to the field (after the original Aztex moved to Orlando) was a success, with a fifth-place standing.
  • A fairly standard eight clubs averaged more than 1,000 a game (last year it was nine), but there were 31 who averaged fewer than 200 and eight who were under 100 (not including Real Maryland, who didn’t announce any figures all year).

17 Responses to “Taking Attendance: Final Unofficial PDL Attendance Numbers”

  1. ERic Says:

    Not that it makes a difference in where the Aztex finished on this table, but the first game had a serious undercount due to inexperienced volunteers. Who knows what the more realistic number was, but at a minimum it matched their season closer. Just figured I’d throw that in there:)

    As far as I’m concerned, the next target is topping the Lone Stars peak of 1650 or so.

  2. KT Says:

    Well, they certainly did themselves proud, and if they really are serious about a jump to the pro level, at least there is one team out this way now (and perhaps two).

  3. ERic Says:

    Yes, they did. “This way” meaning ‘Out West’. Which really isn’t much of a help. They’re still too far away for a bus ride. If the Aztex did decide to go pro, they’d be flying everywhere. I’d feel more comfortable about going pro if they were drawing over 2k.

  4. admin Says:

    I’m always one to believe that you should move up later rather than sooner.

  5. Jim Robertson Says:

    Hey Kenn – I’ve been keeping attendance numbers for the PDL this season too – and discovered your blog after doing that – I noticed some discrepencies I thought I’d point out.

    Austin Aztex – same # matches but I have 1,505 808 946 1,083 1,357 1,162 1,308 1,986 for a total of 10,155
    (does yours account for the difference reported by Eric?)

    I’m missing a FC Tucson matches (6 reported vs 7 for you) but when I checked pdl.uslsoccer.com – I still see no reported numbers for the games vs Orange County 6/23 and BYU 7/6)

    I also have differences on about 12 other teams – most look like you were able to get attendance from an extra match I don’t have.

    Contact me if you want to compare numbers in detail.

  6. admin Says:

    Thanks, Jim.

    I have 2,507 – 808 – 946 – 1,083 – 1,357 – 1,162 – 1,308 – 1,986 for Austin. So our difference appears to be in the home opener, which would be an outlier, obviously. It appears they revised it downward to 1,505 after I originally entered the number. I’ll make that change, thanks.

    Tucson was 513 on 7/6. Sometimes you have to check the local newspaper report or the team Twitter feeds.

  7. ClaytonA Says:

    This is an interesting table and premise of the relative strength of soccer as a spectator activity in different markets.

    To expand on this though, from a business perspective, it means nothing until there is someone who is willing to put their money on the table. ie a table showing the attendance and an estimate of gate receipts would be infinitly more enlightening. Even if they were just average ticket price times attendance with the methodolgy explained or noted.

  8. admin Says:

    Well, feel free. I don’t have any interest in tracking down the average ticket price posted by each of 73 PDL teams and giving you an estimate of how much ticket revenue each club brought in, given that such a chart would (surprise) likely show that Des Moines brings in a lot and Bradenton brings in zippo. And to what end? You know how you know your PDL team’s owners are okay with how it’s going? They’re still around.

    You’re not going to find gate receipts in this country (unless it’s a publicly traded franchise or it comes out in discovery for a legal action), and a club’s posted average ticket price is probably not what their actual average ticket price is, given groups and other discounts.

    But, by all means, knock yourself out.

  9. Jim Says:

    All Boston Victory need to do is move up to USL-Pro. That’s when the big bucks start rolling in.

  10. admin Says:

    Well, they’ll be rolling. I am not sure which way.

  11. ERic Says:

    Regarding Austin’s home opener — I thought the Aztex had modified the attendance to 2505. Interesting that it’s 1505 at the league. That’s the difference that I was talking about. Not that it really matters. As I said, first game inexperience led to a miscount that can’t be recovered. The 2505 number was a ‘reasonable adjustment’ that probably had as much basis in reality as the 1505 number. It’s all good, and will be better from here out.:)

  12. Marc Silverstein Says:

    Kenn: is it your best guess that the top 5 attendance teams listed here might be at a financial break-even? do you think that overall PDL attendance fell since last year?

  13. KT Says:

    You know how you can guesstimate the chances that a given team is in a decent financial position?

    If they’re still around.

    Des Moines has been around for a long time. Fresno, too. Portland’s got an MLS team behind them that sells out every game. Carolina has been around forever, too. And Austin…well, I have no idea, other than that they have ambition.

    And I said above that PDL attendance this year was lower than last year.

  14. Claytona Says:

    Thanks for the response-I suppose it’s much more complicated than I thought and your point about them staying on is right.

    Missing Highlanders game was season opener against Seattle-> 1,253

    http://www.timescolonist.com/sports/seattle-pressed-by-game-highlanders-1.11628

  15. admin Says:

    Thank you for that data point. Much appreciated.

  16. Molly Says:

    Hey what game are you missing for the Kitsap Pumas? I have all the attendance numbers.

  17. admin Says:

    I was missing 6/9/2012 against Portland. I do have the final official PDL numbers for last year and could just do the subtraction, but I am not 100% sure they’re all accurate.