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Taking Attendance: 7/5/2013 (NASL Final Spring Numbers)

The Spring half of the North American Soccer League’s 2013 season ended last night with high drama. The league’s attendance numbers are on the rise as well, as we step outside the normal all-leagues update for a look at the Division II loop’s figures from the first half (the “Diff” column is the percentage increase or decrease over the same number of home games – 6 – from the 2012 season):

Team G Total Average Median High Low Diff
San Antonio 6 42,442 7,074 6,971 8,177 6,367 -25.22%
Minnesota 6 32,028 5,338 5,290 6,754 4,053 +59.33%
Atlanta 6 30,251 5,042 5,000 5,711 4,422 +7.35%
Carolina 6 28,242 4,707 4,560 6,708 3,350 +51.76%
Ft. Lauderdale 6 25,882 4,314 4,393 5,201 3,285 +37.47%
Tampa Bay 6 24,220 4,037 3,904 5,034 3,372 +35.61%
Edmonton 6 12,356 2,059 2,207 3,474 921 +31.46%
NASL TOTAL 42 195,421 4,653 4,579 8,177 921 +23.36%

The big story is Minnesota, obviously, which was left nearly for dead last year and now is second in the league in attendance (despite being a sixth-place team – so could we please stop with the “If you win, you’ll draw” meme?). They drew 6,507 to their final spring home match (and first this year outdoors at the National Sports Center in Blaine).

But everybody in the league is up significantly (except last year’s leader, San Antonio, for various reasons), even bottom-feeding Edmonton. Carolina was another club thought dead a while back, but they’ve come back nicely. And remember when Atlanta’s fans were so pissed about them selling an Open Cup home match that they were never going to come back? Yeah, good times.

The Fall season will see the New York Cosmos injected into the mix. With six of their seven Fall home games on Saturdays and with a marketing push that is sure to be expensive and ubiquitous, you’d imagine New York will draw very well at home. Some of the nostalgia teams have already started marketing the return of the Cosmos as if it really is 1979 again, so they will likely be a good road draw (at least the first time through; after that, Danny Szetela will have to be the drawing card).

In order to break the all-time record for average announced attendance by a Division II league (5,164, set in 2008 by USL-1), if the seven spring teams hold their averages for the fall campaign, the Cosmos have to average 7,170 at home. That’s just math, but the big takeaway is that, at least at the gate (and having weeded out low-achievers from the past, thanks, USSF), Division II appears as healthy as or healthier than ever. That’s a good thing.

8 Responses to Taking Attendance: 7/5/2013 (NASL Final Spring Numbers)

  1. Nice retro looking ad from the Rowdies The “Al Lang Stadium” line really jerks you back to reality though, huh? Like announcing a Led Zeppelin reunion tour with Rikki Rockett on drums.

  2. Minnesota’s 6,507 at the NSC was the largest attendance since July 15, 2009 when the Minnesota Thunder hosted Burnley, then an English Championship side, in a friendly. That attendance was 7,154, so only 647 off the mark for a league game that United were already eliminated from for the NASL Spring Championship.

  3. Atlanta’s attendance claims are farcical yet again! Averaging 1,000 over capacityReally? Just look at tape of any game & marvel at the empty “Sold Out “seats.If they make 3,000 a game I would be amazed.Giving away tickets & claiming them as “REAL” attendees is just dumb trying to find a buyer.

  4. What are some of the “various reasons” SA is down?

  5. In no particular order:

    A drop off was almost inevitable. Great first seasons are not easy to follow.
    They dumped – for some reason – Ken Hitchcock’s company that was handling their ticket sales, perhaps thinking they could save the commission and sell just as many tickets (proportionally – they have a smaller yard now).
    I believe they raised ticket prices, which may have backfired on them.
    Team form is not as important at this level, usually, but they did not have a great start to the season and let a popular play get away.

    I think they kind of overestimated the impact of things.

  6. [US soccer team owner chorus]”I think they kind of overestimated the impact of things.”[/US soccer team owner chorus]

    On the plus side, teams seem to learn a lot faster than they used to.

  7. San Antonio’s new stadium only holds 8000 fans. Last year’s high school stadium held 11,500 and had over 13,000 with SRO for its first game. Ticket prices are up this year but stadium is taking in extra revenue with 100% concessions and other revenue controls.

    • All true.

      Did they pay cash for the stadium, or is there debt service?


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