The fourth season for USL Pro is now complete and here are the final unofficial attendance numbers for the Division III league. (As always, additions, corrections and comments are welcomed.)
|Sacramento Republic FC||14||158,107||11,293||8,000||20,231||8,000|
|Orlando City SC||14||66,402||4,743||4,818||5,029||4,206|
|OKC Energy FC||14||52,975||3,784||3,819||4,722||2,813|
|Arizona United SC||14||33,528||2,395||2,225||3,588||1,482|
|Harrisburg City Islanders||14||27,289||1,949||1,934||2,518||1,417|
|Orange County Blues FC||14||10,719||766||714||1,226||431|
|LA Galaxy II||14||8,359||597||530||1,259||127|
|Dayton Dutch Lions||14||7,455||533||488||1,026||213|
|MLS Reserve Teams||6||12,668||2,111||358||11,202||100|
|USL PRO TOTAL||202||623,019||3,084||2,367||20,231||100|
- Division III cracked the 3,000 per game barrier for the first time (beating the 2012 mark of 2,658), thanks in part to Sacramento’s record-breaking season. Without the Republic, the other 13 teams averaged 2,485 per game.
- Sacramento became the first Division III team to ever break the 10,000 per game barrier and joined Rochester, Montreal and Portland as the only lower-level clubs to ever accomplish it. (Indianapolis will join that group at the conclusion of the NASL season.)
- The biggest gainer year-over-year was Arizona United (which technically is a new franchise and not a continuation of 2013’s Phoenix FC, but just for comparison’s sake), which finished up 56% from a year ago. Harrisburg was up 34% (though they’re still under the 2,000 line), Orange County was up 7% (though still under the 1,000 line) and Richmond and Charleston both finished up about 6%.
- On the flip side, Charlotte (in their final professional season before dropping to the PDL) fell about 8%, Rochester was down about 10%, Pittsburgh (which declared bankruptcy several months back) finished down 18%, Wilmington was down an alarming 26%, and Dayton (still a mystery) was down 29%. Then we have annual attendance leader Orlando, which was down 41%, but that was because they moved to a much smaller venue while Citrus Bowl renovations are ongoing. The Lions still played to 86% capacity, one of the top marks in the league. (Sacramento 98%, OKC 95%, Harrisburg 89%).
- May was the best month for the league overall, with a 3,474 average for 36 matches. April (2,712) was the worst.
- Thursdays beat out Saturdays (3,937 to 3,261) for the best day of the week, but that’s a bit misleading because there were only nine Thursday matches and three of them were in Sacramento. In all, weekends (Friday-Sunday) beat weekdays (Monday-Thursday) by about 20%.
- It’s hard to discern a true “World Cup Bounce,” if you were looking for one. USL Pro averaged 3,167 for 85 matches prior to the World Cup, 2,901 for 37 matches during it and 3,081 for 80 matches after it.
- I only have data for five of the 14 league matches hosted by MLS Reserve teams this year, and outside of Real Salt Lake’s 11,202 for their July 25 match against Pittsburgh, they were nothing to write home about.
- Next year, we will see a bevy of new teams, many of them owned and operated by MLS clubs. If the LA Galaxy II experiment is any indication, some of these secondary teams may struggle to find an audience (not that that is their raison d’etre). Real Salt Lake, Montreal and possibly Seattle and Dallas will have their own teams in the league in 2015, to be joined by clubs in Louisville, Colorado Springs, Austin, Tulsa and St. Louis. Going forward, league numbers are probably going to require a bit of deeper analysis when comparing them to prior years because a situation is developing where a third or more of the league’s teams may eventually be focused primarily on player development and not operating as a ticket-selling business.