Attendance Project: MLS

About fourteen years ago now, I started fiddling with attendance figures for Major League Soccer, and published breakdowns of how teams and the league did during certain months, days of the week, vs. certain opponents, etc. I added to it and maintained it over the years and became something of a go-to guy for MLS attendance numbers and analysis.

Then Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote a really in-depth piece about how the numbers the league announces weren’t entirely accurate (which followed his original story – complete with quote from yours truly – four months earlier about how the practice is widespread). I think we all knew the numbers weren’t entirely accurate, but Zeigler’s reporting showed us all just how wide the gap was between announced and actual attendance (or announced and even remotely believable paid attendance).

So it seemed less and less important to study the issue from week-to-week and season-to-season. I didn’t keep tabs on things as closely in 2007 as I had before. I didn’t update the analysis, which had been a staple of my website for a long time. I found I had less and less patience for the weekly bitchfests about attendance on Bigsoccer.com, which came with the standard misinformation, faulty analysis and whining. And now that I’ve moved to Arizona and don’t work in the league any more, I’m even less interested in the numbers than I was before.

I’m sorry for those of you who have come here looking for the numbers. I appreciate those of you who enjoyed the data and the analysis and stuff. I do have all the numbers, but unless I get into a situation where I get re-invigorated and go full-bore after the project again, I can’t see myself putting Humpty back together again.

Maybe, someday. But not now.

Oh, and I don’t care about your college project, your vanity project, your economics project or the Alan Parsons project. There are people I’ve known to varying degrees for years with whom I wouldn’t share the raw data, I’m certainly not sharing it with people I don’t know at all. Sorry.

But, because there doesn’t seem to be a good clearinghouse for the simple lists of year-by-year team attendance in MLS (I can’t even find it on the league’s website), here is that list, at least. These are numbers from the league, and I’ve had my issues with conflicts between published numbers and their numbers (not to mention their math) from time to time, so I don’t have 100% confidence in every one of these digits. But for most people’s purposes, these should work fine.

ALL-TIME MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER ATTENDANCE
1996
Team G Total Avg.
Los Angeles 16 462,650 28,916
MetroStars 16 382,360 23,898
New England 16 304,392 19,025
Columbus 16 303,202 18,950
San Jose 16 275,712 17,232
Dallas 16 256,173 16,011
DC United 16 244,199 15,262
Kansas City 16 206,044 12,878
Tampa Bay 16 186,856 11,679
Colorado 16 163,413 10,213
MLS TOTAL 160 2,785,001 17,406
 
1997
Team G Total Avg.
New England 16 340,762 21,298
Los Angeles 16 330,015 20,626
MetroStars 16 270,288 16,893
DC United 16 267,171 16,698
Columbus 16 240,650 15,041
San Jose 16 217,546 13,597
Colorado 16 189,355 11,835
Tampa Bay 16 180,962 11,310
Dallas 16 154,845 9,678
Kansas City 16 144,935 9,058
MLS TOTAL 160 2,336,529 14,603
 
1998
Team G Total Avg.
Los Angeles 16 348,549 21,784
New England 16 307,004 19,188
Chicago 16 286,190 17,887
MetroStars 16 264,316 16,520
DC United 16 256,127 16,008
Colorado 16 236,995 14,812
San Jose 16 218,450 13,653
Columbus 16 196,394 12,275
Dallas 16 175,162 10,948
Tampa Bay 16 164,999 10,312
Miami 16 164,548 10,284
Kansas City 16 129,163 8,073
MLS TOTAL 192 2,747,897 14,312
 
1999
Team G Total Avg.
Columbus 16 283,129 17,696
Los Angeles 16 282,113 17,632
DC United 16 278,711 17,419
New England 16 267,752 16,735
Chicago 16 256,261 16,016
San Jose 16 239,350 14,959
MetroStars 16 235,301 14,706
Colorado 16 224,459 14,029
Tampa Bay 16 209,700 13,106
Dallas 16 195,381 12,211
Miami 16 139,021 8,689
Kansas City 16 130,924 8,183
MLS TOTAL 192 2,742,102 14,282
 
2000
Team G Total Avg.
Los Angeles 16 326,392 20,400
DC United 16 297,279 18,580
MetroStars 16 281,938 17,621
New England 16 247,409 15,463
Columbus 16 247,220 15,451
Chicago 16 214,189 13,387
Dallas 16 209,637 13,102
Colorado 16 201,281 12,580
San Jose 16 199,364 12,460
Tampa Bay 16 151,232 9,452
Kansas City 16 145,793 9,112
Miami 16 119,352 7,460
MLS TOTAL 192 2,641,086 13,756
 
2001
Team G Total Avg.
DC United 12 258,213 21,518
MetroStars 13 270,477 20,806
Columbus 13 227,644 17,511
Los Angeles 13 226,035 17,387
Colorado 13 214,249 16,481
Chicago 14 229,438 16,388
New England 13 203,501 15,654
Dallas 13 163,465 12,574
Miami 14 156,481 11,177
Kansas City 13 142,402 10,954
Tampa Bay 14 146,734 10,481
San Jose 13 125,250 9,635
MLS TOTAL 158 2,363,889 14,961
 
2002
Team G Total Avg.
Colorado 14 289,622 20,687
Los Angeles 14 266,664 19,047
MetroStars 14 254,174 18,155
Columbus 14 243,999 17,429
New England 14 236,973 16,927
DC United 14 231,264 16,519
Dallas 14 183,702 13,122
Chicago 14 180,908 12,922
Kansas City 14 171,568 12,255
San Jose 14 156,104 11,150
MLS TOTAL 140 2,214,978 15,821
 
2003
Team G Total Avg.
Los Angeles 15 329,752 21,983
Colorado 15 251,578 16,772
Columbus 15 243,756 16,250
MetroStars 15 237,326 15,822
Kansas City 15 233,594 15,573
DC United 15 233,476 15,565
New England 15 219,611 14,641
Chicago 15 210,080 14,005
San Jose 15 156,989 10,466
Dallas 15 118,585 7,906
MLS TOTAL 150 2,234,747 14,898
 
2004
Team G Total Avg.
Los Angeles 15 357,137 23,809
DC United 15 258,484 17,232
MetroStars 15 257,923 17,195
Chicago 15 257,295 17,153
Columbus 15 253,079 16,872
Kansas City 15 222,235 14,816
Colorado 15 212,925 14,195
San Jose 15 195,015 13,001
New England 15 183,385 12,226
Dallas 15 136,319 9,088
MLS TOTAL 150 2,333,797 15,559
 
2005
Team G Total Avg.
Los Angeles 16 387,256 24,204
Salt Lake 16 288,586 18,037
Chicago 16 275,811 17,238
Chivas USA 16 273,284 17,080
DC United 16 266,617 16,664
MetroStars 16 241,230 15,077
Colorado 16 218,206 13,638
San Jose 16 208,594 13,037
Columbus 16 206,654 12,916
New England 16 200,397 12,525
Dallas 16 179,021 11,189
Kansas City 16 155,060 9,691
MLS TOTAL 192 2,900,716 15,108
 
2006
Team G Total Avg.
Los Angeles 16 333,016 20,814
Chivas USA 16 317,432 19,840
Houston 16 302,957 18,935
DC United 16 291,442 18,215
Salt Lake 16 261,855 16,366
Dallas 16 239,714 14,982
New York 16 233,112 14,570
Chicago 16 225,775 14,111
Columbus 16 212,699 13,294
Colorado 16 192,894 12,056
New England 16 188,569 11,786
Kansas City 16 177,322 11,083
MLS TOTAL 192 2,976,787 15,504
 
2007
Team G Total Avg.
Los Angeles 15 363,782 24,252
DC United 15 314,506 20,967
Toronto FC 15 301,947 20,130
New England 15 251,812 16,787
New York 15 247,948 16,530
Chicago 15 247,356 16,490
Salt Lake 15 239,395 15,960
Houston 15 238,240 15,883
Columbus 15 228,451 15,230
Dallas 15 227,182 15,145
Colorado 15 221,229 14,749
Chivas USA 15 214,578 14,305
Kansas City 15 173,784 11,586
MLS TOTAL 195 3,270,210 16,770
 
2008
Team G Total Avg.
Los Angeles 15 390,132 26,009
Toronto FC 15 301,793 20,120
DC United 15 297,531 19,835
New England 15 263,706 17,580
Chicago 15 255,511 17,034
Houston 15 254,083 16,939
Salt Lake 15 242,690 16,179
New York 15 238,925 15,928
Chivas USA 15 226,717 15,114
Columbus 15 219,332 14,622
San Jose 15 205,695 13,713
Colorado 15 204,884 13,659
Dallas 15 195,356 13,024
Kansas City 15 160,286 10,686
MLS TOTAL 210 3,456,641 16,460
 
2009
Team G Total Avg.
Seattle 15 463,455 30,897
Los Angeles 15 306,240 20,416
Toronto 15 305,167 20,344
Houston 15 255,712 17,047
Salt Lake 15 245,628 16,375
DC United 15 241,322 16,088
Chivas USA 15 226,375 15,092
Chicago 15 220,331 14,689
Columbus 15 216,699 14,447
San Jose 15 211,717 14,114
New England 15 205,977 13,732
New York 15 187,359 12,491
Dallas 15 186,612 12,441
Colorado 15 184,963 12,331
Kansas City 15 150,802 10,053
MLS TOTAL 225 3,608,359 16,037
 
2010
Team G Total Avg.
Seattle 15 542,600 36,173
Los Angeles 15 321,552 21,437
Toronto 15 306,795 20,453
Philadelphia 15 288,810 19,254
New York 15 276,616 18,441
Houston 15 259,645 17,310
Salt Lake 15 256,418 17,095
Chicago 15 237,216 15,814
Columbus 15 219,628 14,642
Chivas USA 15 218,629 14,575
DC United 15 217,978 14,532
Colorado 15 199,929 13,329
New England 15 194,802 12,987
Dallas 15 162,229 10,815
Kansas City 15 154,306 10,287
San Jose 15 144,886 9,659
MLS TOTAL 240 4,002,039 16,675
 
2011
Team G Total Avg.
Seattle 17 654,431 38,496
Los Angeles 17 396,693 23,335
Vancouver 17 346,909 20,406
Toronto 17 344,535 20,267
New York 17 335,740 19,749
Portland 17 320,051 18,827
Philadelphia 17 310,401 18,259
Kansas City 17 302,776 17,810
Houston 17 300,796 17,694
Salt Lake 17 299,047 17,591
DC United 17 258,332 15,196
Colorado 17 252,248 14,838
Chivas USA 17 252,102 14,830
Chicago 17 242,648 14,273
New England 17 224,770 13,222
Dallas 17 218,636 12,861
Columbus 17 207,147 12,185
San Jose 17 201,587 11,858
MLS TOTAL 306 5,468,849 17,872
 
2012
Team G Total Avg.
Seattle 17 733,441 43,144
Los Angeles 17 393,319 23,136
Montreal 17 387,124 22,772
Houston 17 357,251 21,015
Portland 17 347,446 20,438
Vancouver 17 331,081 19,475
Kansas City 17 329,874 19,404
Salt Lake 17 324,482 19,087
New York 17 310,782 18,281
Toronto 17 308,630 18,155
Philadelphia 17 306,904 18,053
Chicago 17 278,947 16,409
Colorado 17 257,972 15,175
Columbus 17 244,752 14,397
Dallas 17 241,390 14,199
New England 17 238,025 14,001
DC United 17 235,382 13,846
San Jose 17 225,977 13,293
Chivas USA 17 221,950 13,056
MLS TOTAL 323 6,074,729 18,807