Taking Attendance 7/22/2014: (Mostly) Final PDL Numbers

The USL Premier Development League regular season is in the books, and here (with some missing data) are the final attendance numbers for the top summer amateur league in the US and Canada. The Des Moines Menace led the league for the fifth time in the last six years, with an average announced attendance of 3,340 for their seven home games this season.

Team G Total Avg. Med. High Low
Des Moines Menace 7 23,377 3,340 3,333 3,711 2,871
Portland Timbers U-23s 7 16,291 2,327 756 8,207 130
Fresno Fuego #6 13,742 2,290 1,874 3,627 1,693
BYU Cougars 7 13,215 1,888 1,609 3,075 885
Carolina Dynamo 7 13,060 1,866 1,975 2,348 1,311
Austin Aztex 7 12,795 1,828 1,823 2,380 1,404
FC Tucson 7 9,717 1,388 1,098 2,983 1,012
Ventura County Fusion 7 9,256 1,322 1,121 2,100 900
Victoria Highlanders FC 7 9,201 1,314 1,378 1,461 1,057
Midland/Odessa Sockers FC 7 7,838 1,120 884 1,969 587
Albuquerque Sol F.C. 7 6,554 936 936 1,520 400
Western Mass Pioneers 7 6,367 910 1,048 1,456 317
Forest City London 7 5,436 777 650 1,307 369
Long Island Rough Riders 7 4,624 661 647 985 276
Thunder Bay Chill #6 3,691 615 615 690 557
Laredo Heat 7 4,273 610 609 746 549
Mississippi Brilla 7 4,182 597 604 890 402
Michigan Bucks 7 4,160 594 402 1,238 252
Kitsap Pumas 7 3,242 463 460 562 370
Lane United FC 7 3,192 456 400 800 300
Sounders FC U23 7 2,895 414 308 1,012 234
Chicago Inferno #2 749 375 375 403 346
Las Vegas Mobsters @3 1,125 375 350 450 325
Ocala Stampede 7 2,600 371 214 1,075 106
SW Florida Adrenaline @3 1,104 368 380 403 321
Ocean City Nor’easters @3 1,097 366 424 521 152
Reading United AC 7 2,546 364 316 609 209
GPS Portland Phoenix 2 650 325 325 400 250
K-W United FC $4 1,225 306 283 437 222
Vermont Voltage 7 2,106 301 300 450 156
Panama City Beach Pirates 7 2,043 292 265 450 215
San Jose Earthquakes @3 871 290 286 400 185
CFC Azul 7 1,950 279 250 450 250
St. Louis Lions 7 1,884 269 280 396 160
Cincinnati Dutch Lions 7 1,754 251 235 352 151
Toronto Lynx #6 1,350 225 175 600 100
Baltimore Bohemians 7 1,523 218 207 393 103
Northern Virginia Royals **5 1,018 204 189 323 126
SoCal Seahorses 7 1,385 198 240 270 105
Real Colorado Foxes #6 1,145 191 175 400 20
WSA Winnipeg 7 1,255 179 200 275 70
SWVa King’s Warriors 7 1,203 172 188 204 125
Seacoast United Phantoms 7 1,200 171 100 350 100
F.A. Euro $4 665 166 170 300 25
LA Misioneros FC #6 980 163 100 400 80
River City Rovers !2 325 163 163 175 150
Real Boston Rams 7 1,114 159 150 224 75
Jersey Express 7 963 138 125 205 88
West Virginia Chaos 7 965 138 135 220 50
Puget Sound Gunners FC @3 400 133 60 300 40
Springfield Demize 6 729 122 132 172 58
Houston Dutch Lions 7 833 119 113 200 80
Washington Crossfire 7 788 113 100 265 70
Pittsburgh Riverhounds U23 #6 660 110 93 175 75
NJ LUSO Parma #6 650 108 100 150 50
IMG Academy Bradenton 7 740 106 100 150 90
Floridians F.C. @2 197 99 99 105 92
Vancouver Whitecaps U-23 7 667 95 77 177 77
Montreal Impact U23 #6 550 92 88 150 25
Westchester Flames 7 520 74 65 135 40
Chicago Fire U-23 **5 353 71 78 116 16
OC Pateadores Blues 7 325 46 50 50 30
Orlando City U23 &0 0 0 0 0 0
SC United Bantams &0 0 0 0 0 0
PDL TOTAL 375 221,315 590 278 8,207 16
# Missing 1 game            
** Missing 2 games            
$ Missing 3 games            
@ Missing 4 games            
! Missing 5 games            
& Missing 7 games            

NOTES:

  • Orlando City U23 and the SC United Bantams did not announce attendance figures for any of their games this season. I am missing 55 other data points for 2014, ranging from one to five missing games for various clubs. I don’t think the missing numbers reasonably impact the conclusions we can draw in most cases.
  • While 10 teams averaged 1,000 or more per game this season, more than half the league can’t get 300 a game on average.
  • If the World Cup raised interest in the sport throughout the country, it wasn’t expressed in PDL attendance. The league averaged 621 per game before the Cup, dropped to 556 during and then rebounded a bit to 585 afterwards.
  • FC Tucson has quietly built something over time. From an average of 681 in their first season (2012), they grew to an 800 average last year and ranked seventh in the PDL this season at 1,388. They’ll host the Western Conference semifinals and final this weekend.
  • Austin (with a game missing – anyone who can help a brother out, it would be appreciated) averaged 1,804 in its final season in the amateur ranks. The Aztex will move up to USL Pro next season, and hopefully it goes better than other PDL clubs that have tried their hand at turning pro.
  • As always, additions and corrections are welcome.

20 comments on “Taking Attendance 7/22/2014: (Mostly) Final PDL Numbers

  1. El Conductor says:

    Just confirming: these don’t include USOC home games or any playoff games, right?

  2. admin says:

    Correct, all my numbers are league matches only. Always have been, for consistency. (And the PDL playoffs don’t start until tonight.)

  3. Chris G says:

    If it’s 7/17 Aztex game vs. Houston that’s missing (I do see the league stats page is missing the attendance figure), this game recap says 1,508.

  4. admin says:

    No, I had that one.

    The one I’m missing is 5/31 against Midland/Odessa.

  5. Chris G says:

    Found it: 1,971.

  6. admin says:

    Thank you!

    The chart has been updated to reflect Austin’s new numbers.

  7. RMc says:

    It just so happens my brother lives in Lake Mary FL, where Orlando U23 plays its home games, and he knows people who’ve gone to a few games. Consensus on attendance? “A few hundred or so.”

    How ’bout if Des Moines plays a home-and-home with Chivas, and the winner gets Chivas’ spot in MLS? ;)

  8. Badger says:

    I know this has been asked brazillions of times, but I’ve never heard a thoughtful response: With Des Moines’ consistent attendance (that would put in square in USL Pro and NASL figures) and kinda-central location, why hasn’t one of the pro leagues made a move to add them?

  9. admin says:

    I think Des Moines considered it once – briefly – when they were going to build their own stadium, but, again, you are asking the wrong question.

    What, exactly, is in it for Des Moines? They are one of the longest-runni PDL teams going. Why should they add additional expense to what must be a reasonable financial equation when there is ( a ) no reasonable expectation they would bring in sufficient extra revenue to keep the equation working and ( b ) the history of amateur teams that have turned pro is, on balance, not positive?

  10. admin says:

    And drawing what would be high USL Pro/Low NASL numbers (announced) is not necessarily indicative of success, given the failure rate of D2/D3 teams historically.

  11. admin says:

    Well, “we aren’t as Podunk as we used to be” and “we could outdraw the Orange County Blues” are not exactly the foundation for rational thought on the issue.

    It’s not like USL Pro is saying, “no, not Des Moines.” My guess is the Menace’s owner is smarter than that.

  12. ClaytonA says:

    FWIW IIRC the educated guesstimates from some former staff on some random blog (how much less credibility can I give this…) and most are probably in the lower end of the following ranges.

    – USL PDL budget ~$2-400,000 depending on division’s geographical size and fan orientation

    – USL Pro budget ~$1.5-5 million

    – NASL budget ~$3-7 million

    – MLS budget ~$8-14 million

    Each step up is roughly an order of magnitude in additional needed revenues. Big organizational and infrastructure-related jumps and remember this has little/no credibility – it’s possibly worse as the numbers are likely outdated and much higher.

    People will only follow D1 teams, others will support local football. It depends what your main reasons for following a team are such as personal connections, local pride, entertainment, prestige, proximity, ability to attend live, &c.

  13. ClaytonA says:

    In Washington State there’s a new one of these USASA elite leagues that are supposedly sanctioned in the ephemeral US soccer pyramid of ether at the same level as USL PDL and NPSL (whatever that means – different allocation or entry point of pre-US Open Cup qualification in the future?) Who knows?

    http://goalwa.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/small-club-attendance-eplwa-makes-mark-in-first-year/

    They are apparently fan orientated and want to build supporter culture. There numbers seem to compare favorably to the USL PDL’s – just goes to show the different goals of the team operators.

    1. SPOKANE SHADOW (EPLWA) – 571*

    2. BELLINGHAM UNITED (EPLWA) – 545

    3. KITSAP PUMAS (PDL) – 463

    4. SOUNDERS U23 (PDL) – 414

    5. VANCOUVER VICTORY FC (EPLWA) – 356

    6. YAKIMA UNITED FC (EPLWA) – 296*

    7. WENATCHEE UNITED FC (EPLWA) – 287

    8. SOUTH SOUND FC (EPLWA) – 165

    9. SEATTLE STARS FC (EPLWA) – 148

    10. WESTSOUND FC (EPLWA) – 135

    11. PUGET SOUND GUNNERS (PDL) – 133^

    12. WASHINGTON CROSSFIRE (PDL) – 113

    13. SEATTLE SPORTING FC (NPSL) – not available

    14. INTER UNITED FC (NPSL) – not available

    * = could be adjusted upwards as 2014 season accounting is completed

    ^ = only announced #’s for first three matches of season

  14. admin says:

    Thanks, Clayton, that’s very helpful.

  15. RMc says:

    Bottom line: if Des Moines gets an owner that *wants* to step up in class and/or gets an SSS built, it’ll happen. If not, the Menace is doing just fine where they are. (Actually, if they “go pro” probably the first thing they’ll do is ditch that 1990s-sounding name. “Des Moines FC”, anyone…?!)

  16. admin says:

    You can say that about any club.

    See, that’s the great thing about America. You’re not held back. Despite what the proles would like you to believe.

  17. RMc says:

    Well, not *any* club. I doubt that, say, the Westchester Flames are going to move up in class drawing 74 fans a game. (Geez, don’t these people have the common *decency* to paper their house…?!)

    Actually, the Menace will change their name to the FC Real Des Moines United Soccer Club 1888. (No significance with that year, I just think it’s a cool-sounding number…)

  18. admin says:

    Westchester already moved up once. It didn’t go well.

  19. Andrew says:

    Thanks for putting together these figures – it’s always neat to see where the club you support stacks up with everyone else on your level!

Comments are closed.