The indoor soccer season officially ended Saturday night with the Baltimore Blast’s 8-6 win over the Missouri Comets in the second game of the Major Indoor Soccer League finals. It’s Baltimore’s seventh championship (including one by the original Blast in 1984), second only to San Diego’s 10 among top-flight indoor leagues.
The 2012-2013 season saw the MISL average 4,329 fans per game, up about eight percent from last year, but the number would likely drop a bit had Chicago reported its last three attendance figures. Anyway, here are the numbers we have:
A few notes:
- For the first time since 2003-2004, Baltimore didn’t lead its league in average announced attendance (Monterrey was the last team to out-draw the Blast). Rochester did, thanks in part to a crowd of 10,320 on January 27 (a game that almost didn’t happen), a record for this iteration of the MISL. But the second-year Lancers were a fairly consistent draw throughout the season and raised their average by 12 percent over last year. They appear to be a franchise on solid footing.
- Their upstate New York rivals, however, are a puzzler. While Syracuse’s numbers were 15 percent above last year’s, their team president publicly stated the Silver Knights were “getting about 2,000 a game this year,” the same as last year (when they announced 2,951 per game). They’re going to need to show growth in year three for there to be a year four, it seems.
- Milwaukee made a big jump, boosting their average 28 percent year-over-year to their highest levels since they moved out of the Bradley Center in 2004. The Wave are the longest continuously-playing soccer team in the country, and would play their 30th season in 2013-2014.
- Missouri, in its third season, showed modest growth (<4 percent) but did a great job nearly packing its building on short notice for the first game of the finals (5,279). While they're not going to match the original Comets’ impact on the market, they appear to be a solid franchise. With Wichita just over 200 miles away and rumors of the St. Louis Ambush returning for next season, the league could have begun rebuilding critical mass in the Midwest.
- Speaking of Wichita, I can’t figure them out, can you? They have what appears to be a terrific building for this sport, the original Wings were beloved, yet these Wings can’t draw and saw their average drop 25 percent from last year. Obviously, they’ve not been a very good team (LeBaron Hollimon has to be on the hot seat going into next year), but they’ve only averaged 3,321 per game in two years since they were resurrected. Luckily, their owner owns the building, so they may be doing better financially than other teams that struggle at the gate. (EDIT: Wings owner Wink Hartman announced this morning that the team is for sale, so evidently they’re not doing better financially than other struggling teams. Unless Hartman cuts a new owner a break on the rent, new ownership is going to be even farther behind the 8-ball.)
- Then we have Chicago, about which perhaps the less said, the better. Their announced average of 2,366 per game (for 10 games, we’re missing the last three) is below that of the last Chicago team to play in the Sears Center (the Storm in its final season in the XSL four years ago). But most of their crowds looked like this, or this, or this (or, in the playoffs, this). That doesn’t bode well, especially given their optimism about filling the place. The next few months will be very interesting as we see whether or not the Soul joins the Riot, the Storm, the Sting, the Horizon, the Shoccers and the Vultures on the scrap heap of Chicago indoor soccer franchises.
With less than two weeks to go before Phoenix FC plays its inaugural USL Pro home match, workers have begun installing the additional seating that will bring Sun Devil Soccer Stadium’s capacity close to 5,000. The seats, purchased from the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament that was played in Scottsdale in early February, are being erected on the East and North ends of the stadium to augment the existing West side stands. More photos after the jump.
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It’s cool that Phoenix FC got some play on CBS5 news here in Phoenix this morning.
It’s not so cool that CBS5 used a(n outdated) W-League logo as part of the graphic.
(Not surprising…just over a year ago, CBS5 used an NFL logo that was four years out of date.)
This recent article in the Arizona Republic quotes the owner of Phoenix’s new USL Pro team as saying the combined number of people who had put down money for season ticket deposits and those who had purchased season tickets is “a little over 740.” That wouldn’t be a bad start, considering it’s a first year team in a third-division league and they only announced three months ago where they would be playing, but if your stated goal is to “sell out every time,” it leaves you with some work to do.
It’s been just over a month since I wrote about the strange statistical totals coming out of the Major Indoor Soccer League’s teams in Chicago and Syracuse, where their goalkeepers – particularly Chicago’s Jeff Richey – were being credited with record-breaking (and near-historic) numbers of saves.
At that time, a league official told me they would have a talk with the teams to remind them of statistical standards. Based on numbers over the last month, it looks like Syracuse got the message, while Chicago ignored it.
In contrast to the process of filling out my National Soccer Hall of Fame ballot, my Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame ballot was a breeze. It’s only the second time we’ve made selections – the inaugural class of 12 was inducted two years ago. With so many deserving candidates and so few already in, the first few stabs at this will consist of Level I guys (the absolute best players ever). So I just went through the long ballot and picked the best six players and one coach who I felt were the best who didn’t get in the first class. (We were limited to a total of seven between players, coaches and administrators.) My picks are after the jump.
Maybe Yahoo! Answers wasn’t the very best place to ask this question.
But instead of the usual quick comments about each nominee and my final list, I felt this year I should address the question, “What IS a Hall of Famer?” It seems as though there are many different standards and definitions of what constitutes a player worthy of induction. I’ll tell you what I think, and reveal my selections, after the jump.
Syracuse Silver Knights president Tommy Tanner, who famously said his MISL team would “sell out every game” before it played one, is perplexed about why they haven’t actually sold out every game. Or come close, even.
“We’re still not where we need to be,” said Tanner, who vowed there will be, at least, a third campaign for his bunch. “We got about 2,000 a game last year and we’re getting about 2,000 a game this year. It’s almost exactly the same. And I can’t explain that. I really can’t.”
Well, I can explain it: you seem to think tickets just sell themselves. You seem to have two people charged with selling group tickets, which is great, but you need a lot more people selling all sorts of tickets if you’re going to average more than the 3,424 announced that is ahead of only Wichita and Chicago in the seven-team MISL.
|Syracuse Silver Knights||11||37,664||3,424||3,376||4,567||2,617|
|*=Missing one game|
What’s really strange is Tanner’s assertion that they were getting “about 2,000 a game last year and… about 2,000 a game this year.” The Silver Knights announced an average of 2,951 per game (sixth out of seven teams) last year and have announced an average of 3,424 this year (an increase of 16 percent). So they appear to be growing.
Unless you’re going to tell me that indoor soccer teams aren’t entirely truthful about their attendance figures. Which, come on.
(All this said…I don’t know who he is, but Syracuse’s play-by-play announcer is really good. REALLY good. Great description of the game, just the right amount of enthusiasm, knows the terminology, keeps up with the action, good voice. I don’t know how he got good, but he’s good.)