With the end of the second official season of the new North American Soccer League, we can (almost) close the book on the Division II and Division III attendance figures for the 2012 campaign. Here are the unofficial numbers as I have them*:
|USL PRO TOTAL||128||343,782||2,686||1,623||8,932||134|
As you can no doubt see, I’m missing a few numbers from USL Pro. A handful of games didn’t have reported attendance figures. It happens.
A few other notes:
- San Antonio became only the fourth lower-level team to average 9,000 or more for a season (the others were Rochester, Montreal and Portland). The Scorpions did tail off a bit after the initial burst, as they averaged 8,541 for the second half of their home schedule after averaging 9,810 for the first half. Still, a tremendous showing.
- Even with San Antonio’s numbers coming in about 20% under those of Montreal (whose slot they took in the league this year), NASL attendance was steady, just under one percent higher than a year ago. Minnesota (helped largely by a big crowd for their Metrodome opener) was up 67%, with Atlanta up 57%. Carolina’s comeback from the dead continued as they were up 16% from a year ago, and drew a club-record (for a league match) 7,310 for their home finale. Tampa Bay was up just under 4%. Puerto Rico’s sixth consecutive year of average attendance decline was largely (but not exclusively) caused by its temporary home while Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium was renovated, but they didn’t draw that well after moving back home (1,893 for four games). And Edmonton, which sorely needs an adequate facility, was off 18% from last year’s (already low) numbers.
- Coming off a stellar freshman campaign, Orlando City bettered its 2011 numbers by some 22%, breaking its own DIII record by averaging 6,604 per game. Rochester was also up 22% (or so they say), while Richmond was up 20%. Los Angeles was a big gainer as well (up 45% with a game missing), but going up to 666 a game…well, I’m sorry, that’s not nearly enough. I’d be surprised to see the Blues return, as I would to see Antigua return now that they’re out of World Cup qualifying and their government has no real impetus to continue to support them.
- USL Pro finished at 2,686 for an average (give or take…the four missing games surely would bring that average down) that is a Division III all-time high, better last year’s 2,261. Even if you zero out all four data points I don’t have, it’s still 2,604.
- Saturdays were the best days for attendance for both leagues, with the NASL getting 4,030 a game and USL Pro 3,364.
- Without their bellwether teams (San Antonio and Orlando, respectively), the NASL averaged 3,038 per game, USL Pro 2,280.
This is just about the last thing I’m going to have to say about soccer for a while. The game and I have decided to take a break (well, it’s been telling me to get out for a while now, I’m finally listening). So I wouldn’t expect to read much more from me on topics like this one for a while, if ever again.
*The NASL’s numbers disagree with mine slightly on Ft. Lauderdale and Edmonton. Anybody who wants to point out the discrepancies, please do so. I like being thorough. (EDIT: We’ve found the Ft. Lauderdale problem, but we’re still off a bit on Edmonton.)