Posts Tagged ‘attendance’

Final MISL Attendance Numbers 2013-2014

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

The Major Indoor Soccer League Championship will match the Baltimore Blast and Missouri Comets for the second straight year. (The Blast won last year’s series in two games.) Here are the final attendance numbers for the league for the 2013-2014 season:

Team G Total Average Median High Low
Rochester Lancers 10 73,471 7,347 7,532 8,910 5,169
Baltimore Blast 10 61,234 6,123 6,135 8,780 4,030
St. Louis Ambush 10 56,361 5,636 5,673 7,347 3,247
Milwaukee Wave 10 49,065 4,907 5,098 5,632 4,149
Missouri Comets 10 41,803 4,180 4,164 5,893 3,102
Syracuse Silver Knights 10 28,697 2,870 2,757 3,779 1,989
Pennsylvania Roar 10 15,492 1,549 1,088 4,632 922
MISL TOTAL 70 326,123 4,659 4,609 8,910 922

NOTES:

  • Rochester led the league for the second straight year, and saw an increase of about 16% in its announced average attendance for the year. Their 7,347 average marked the first time a team has cracked the 7,000 average barrier since Baltimore five years ago.
  • Baltimore was also up, just over 10%, while the rest of the league was either basically flat (Milwaukee was down 3%, Missouri just over 1%) or saw a big drop off (Syracuse, down 16%). The league itself was up 7% over last year, thanks to a strong showing (third in the league) by the expansion St. Louis Steamers.
  • Pennsylvania’s announced 1,549 average (boosted by a crowd of 4,632 for their only win of the season) wasn’t the lowest in recent years, but it was close. Rockford (1,112 in 2009-2010 and 1,242 in 2008-2009), the Chicago Riot (1,083 in their only season of 2010-2011), Chicago Storm (1,530 in 2005-2006) and, of course, the Massachusetts Twisters (459 in 2008-2009) were all worse at the gate. They weren’t all as terrible on the field as the Roar were, though.

As, seemingly, with every indoor offseason, this one will bring change. With renewed rumors of a merger with the PASL, the Milwaukee Wave’s owner being sued (not a problem, she says), no talk of expansion teams and an uncertain future for the MISL-USL relationship, there will be no lack of drama between now and next fall.

Taking Attendance 1/1/2014: The Indoor Leagues

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014


With an eye towards blogging more in 2014, I give you now the first look at indoor soccer attendance numbers for the 2013-2014 season. With the PASL much better these days at providing numbers, I’m able to include them along with the MISL figures. As always, corrections and additions are welcomed.

MAJOR INDOOR SOCCER LEAGUE
Team G Total Average Median High Low
Rochester Lancers *4 27,432 6,858 7,026 8,212 5,169
Baltimore Blast 3 20,441 6,814 6,023 8,780 5,638
St. Louis Ambush 4 23,372 5,843 5,673 7,109 4,918
Milwaukee Wave 3 14,340 4,780 4,559 5,632 4,149
Missouri Comets 4 16,686 4,172 3,846 5,893 3,102
Syracuse Silver Knights 3 8,315 2,772 2,837 3,489 1,989
Pennsylvania Roar #3 3,266 1,089 1,088 1,241 937
MISL TOTAL 24 113,852 4,744 5,027 8,780 937
 
PROFESSIONAL ARENA SOCCER LEAGUE
Team G Total Average Median High Low
Monterrey Flash 4 24,577 6,144 5,081 9,627 4,788
San Diego Sockers 4 16,679 4,170 3,803 5,658 3,416
Dallas Sidekicks 4 16,368 4,092 4,231 4,514 3,392
Hidalgo La Fiera 4 7,829 1,957 1,152 4,500 1,025
Ontario Fury 4 7,055 1,764 1,910 2,026 1,210
Wichita B-52s 3 5,116 1,705 1,691 1,943 1,482
Harrisburg Heat 5 7,284 1,457 1,581 1,605 1,050
Tulsa Revolution 4 3,554 889 882 1,007 783
Las Vegas Legends 5 4,228 846 618 1,836 324
Chicago Mustangs 5 3,811 762 627 1,216 565
Detroit Waza 4 2,541 635 664 1,011 203
Cleveland Freeze *3 1,851 617 700 703 448
Saltillo Rancho Seco 3 1,739 580 550 652 537
Turlock Express 5 2,579 516 550 730 320
Bay Area Rosal *4 1,584 396 376 652 180
Illinois Piasa 4 1,544 386 432 538 142
Texas Strikers 4 1,429 357 384 422 239
Cincinnati Saints 5 1,375 275 250 426 114
Sacramento Surge 4 970 243 260 300 150
Toros Mexico 3 725 242 218 300 207
PASL TOTAL 81 112,838 1,393 700 9627 114
*=Missing 1 game
#=Missing 2 games

NOTES:

  • Rochester – which broke Baltimore’s stranglehold on the top spot in the MISL attendance standings last year – continues to lead the league this year (though I’m missing the crowd figure for their December 14 game against St. Louis). Given that game apparently was played during a snowstorm, it’s likely including the number would drop the Lancers back into second place, as Baltimore’s current average isn’t too far behind Rochester’s. In either case, those continue to be the two best teams in the league at selling tickets.
  • In terms of percent of capacity, the Missouri Comets (who play in the 5,800-seat Independence Events Center, the league’s smallest venue) lead at about 72%. Since their founding four years ago (making them the third-longest-running team we have), the Comets have consistently pulled in about 4,000+ a game.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, we have the (Reading) Pennsylvania Roar, whose most recent home crowd (announced at 937) you see pictured above. The Roar were shut out for the second time this season (24-0 by Baltimore) and are 0-9. They can’t play, can’t win, can’t draw and have all the earmarks of a one-and-done club (as four of the last seven expansion teams have been).
  • In Monterrey (where the old Fury led the second MISL in attendance in 2003-2004) the new Flash leads the PASL with 6,144 per game, including a league-record 9,627 crowd for their home opener. San Diego and Dallas are neck and neck for the second and third spots, and four others are over 1,000 per game. Of course, 65% of the league draws under 1,000 a game, with a handful attracting little more than friends and family. But the PASL has built a handful of successful franchises and after a near-merger with the MISL last year, shows some positive signs.
  • The old saw has always been that indoor soccer attendance picks up after the first of the year. We actually do see something like that when looking at the numbers, but it’s influenced largely by the fact that December is such a bad month to draw fans that the effect appears more pronounced than it actually is. Here is a chart that shows average attendance by month in what is now MISL 3 going back to the 2001-2002 season:


    (It’s worth noting that there have only been two September games, but they’re included for the sake of completeness.)

    So you see a nearly perfect decline that bottoms out in December and then an uptick after that. But overall, the averages on either side of December are nearly identical.

    Timeframe
    G
    Total
    Average
    September-November 242 1,179,074 4,872
    January-April 749 3,654,038 4,879


    So while post-January 1 average indoor soccer attendance is about 9% higher than the pre-January 1 average, it’s December that bolsters the effect.

Taking Attendance: 8/12/2013 (Everybody)

Monday, August 12th, 2013

I haven’t done a full update of every team’s attendance in a month and a half, so here’s a look at all the main leagues north of the Rio Grande through this past weekend’s games. You’ll see I’m still missing several figures in USL Pro, the PDL and W-League, so if you have those numbers (or are actually with one of the teams, like Robin Waite of the Kitsap Pumas, who graciously sent me what I was missing), send them my way or leave them in the comments. Standard disclaimer on all of these, and (once again) I actually did start an NPSL spreadsheet but tracking down numbers was so tough that I’m at the mercy of you, the loyal readers. If you have NPSL attendance numbers, send them to me or leave them in the comments and I’ll endeavor to include them in a future update.

With that said, here are the numbers through August 11:

MLS G Total Average
Seattle Sounders 10 405,208 40,521
Los Angeles Galaxy 10 214,944 21,494
Montreal Impact 11 230,531 20,957
Portland Timbers 10 206,740 20,674
Houston Dynamo 11 219,073 19,916
Vancouver Whitecaps 12 238,583 19,882
Sporting KC 13 258,093 19,853
Toronto FC 12 232,676 19,390
Real Salt Lake 12 226,610 18,884
New York Red Bulls 11 201,455 18,314
Philadelphia Union 13 229,178 17,629
FC Dallas 12 192,296 16,025
Colorado Rapids 13 197,125 15,163
Columbus Crew 11 166,638 15,149
Chicago Fire 12 168,821 14,068
San Jose Earthquakes 12 164,875 13,740
DC United 12 162,926 13,577
New England Revolution 11 148,988 13,544
Chivas USA 11 95,371 8,670
MLS TOTAL 219 3,960,131 18,083
 
NASL G Total Average
New York Cosmos 1 11,929 11,929
San Antonio Scorpions 7 50,093 7,156
Minnesota United FC 7 37,912 5,416
Atlanta Silverbacks 7 35,018 5,003
Carolina RailHawks 7 32,730 4,676
Tampa Bay Rowdies 7 31,252 4,465
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 7 29,177 4,168
FC Edmonton 7 14,101 2,014
NASL TOTAL 50 242,212 4,844
 
USL Pro G Total Average
Orlando City SC 13 102,533 7,887
Rochester Rhinos * 13 75,900 5,838
Charleston Battery 13 46,259 3,558
Pittsburgh Riverhounds # 11 36,554 3,323
Wilmington Hammerheads 12 39,187 3,266
Richmond Kickers 13 30,460 2,343
Phoenix FC Wolves 13 20,941 1,611
Harrisburg City Islanders 14 20,386 1,456
Charlotte Eagles 14 11,297 807
Dayton Dutch Lions 13 9,669 744
Los Angeles Blues & 10 7,150 715
VSI Tampa Bay FC )( 8 3,770 471
MLS Reserve Teams $ 10 15,116 1,512
USL PRO TOTAL 157 419,222 2,670
 
PDL G Total Average
Des Moines Menace 7 21,961 3,137
Fresno Fuego 7 19,785 2,826
Portland Timbers U-23s 7 17,106 2,444
Carolina Dynamo # 5 8,897 1,779
Victoria Highlanders FC 7 11,462 1,637
Austin Aztex 7 10,063 1,438
Ventura County Fusion 7 9,474 1,353
Oklahoma City 7 8,499 1,214
Forest City London 7 8,024 1,146
BYU Cougars 7 7,952 1,136
Western Mass Pioneers 7 7,404 1,058
West Texas Sockers 7 6,765 966
Long Island Rough Riders * 6 4,941 824
FC Tucson 7 5,599 800
Thunder Bay Chill 7 5,595 799
Michigan Bucks 7 4,808 687
Laredo Heat 7 4,306 615
Kitsap Pumas 7 4,232 605
K-W United FC $ 3 1,810 603
Mississippi Brilla 7 3,945 564
Virginia Beach Piranhas 7 3,877 554
Sounders FC U23 7 3,769 538
Ocean City Nor’easters * 6 3,199 533
Panama City Beach Pirates 7 3,201 457
SW Florida Adrenaline # 5 1,998 400
Reading United AC 7 2,703 386
Houston Dutch Lions 7 2,650 379
St. Louis Lions 7 2,511 359
SC United Bantams * 6 1,950 325
CFC Azul 7 2,196 314
El Paso Patriots 7 2,150 307
Northern Virginia Royals # 5 1,475 295
Ocala Stampede * 6 1,685 281
Ottawa Fury 7 1,793 256
WSA Winnipeg 7 1,730 247
North Sound SeaWolves FC 7 1,640 234
Vermont Voltage )( 2 411 206
Southern California Seahorses $ 3 600 200
NJ LUSO Rangers FC & 4 795 199
Kansas City Brass # 5 942 188
Real Boston Rams 7 1,301 186
Baltimore Bohemians 7 1,249 178
Real Colorado Foxes 7 1,150 164
Jersey Express 7 1,127 161
Southern West Virginia King’s Warriors 7 1,068 153
New York Magic – F.A. Euro # 5 730 146
GPS Portland Phoenix # 5 725 145
Toronto Lynx 7 1,000 143
VSI Tampa Bay FC )( 2 278 139
West Virginia Chaos 7 965 138
Washington Crossfire 7 897 128
Orlando City U23 ** 1 127 127
Chicago Inferno # 5 527 105
OC Blues Strikers FC # 5 525 105
Springfield Demize 7 719 103
River City Rovers 7 638 91
Seacoast United Phantoms 7 580 83
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 7 569 81
Westchester Flames 7 465 66
LA Misioneros FC * 6 325 54
Chicago Fire # 5 206 41
Central Jersey Spartans 7 245 35
IMG Academy Bradenton * 6 160 27
Fort Lauderdale Schulz Academy )( 1 15 15
PDL TOTAL 391 229,494 587
 
NWSL G Total Average
Portland Thorns FC 11 146,521 13,320
FC Kansas City 10 45,974 4,597
Western New York Flash 10 43,023 4,302
Washington Spirit 10 35,575 3,558
Boston Breakers 11 26,697 2,427
Seattle Reign FC 10 21,510 2,151
Chicago Red Stars 11 18,817 1,711
Sky Blue FC 11 18,309 1,664
NWSL TOTAL 84 356,426 4,243
 
W-League G Total Average
Washington Spirit Reserves 6 12,194 2,032
Seattle Sounders Women * 5 5,417 1,083
Long Island Rough Riders 6 3,913 652
Virginia Beach Piranhas 6 3,245 541
Charlotte Lady Eagles 5 2,701 540
Atlanta Silverbacks 5 1,875 375
Ottawa Fury 6 1,979 330
Colorado Rapids Women & 3 960 320
Carolina Elite Cobras * 4 1,215 304
K-W United FC & 3 770 257
New Jersey Wildcats * 5 1,274 255
LA Strikers # 4 1,017 254
Dayton Dutch Lions 5 1,137 227
New York Magic – F.A. Euro 6 1,348 225
Colorado Rush * 5 1,040 208
North Jersey Valkyries 6 1,224 204
Fredericksburg Impact 6 1,204 201
Bay Area Breeze 6 1,149 192
Pali Blues 6 1,142 190
Laval Comets 6 1,019 170
Santa Clarita Blue Heat & 3 476 159
Quebec City Amiral * 5 685 137
London Gryphons * 5 640 128
VSI Tampa Bay FC * 4 387 97
Toronto Lady Lynx * 5 391 78
W-LEAGUE TOTAL 126 48,402 384
*=Missing 1 game
#=Missing 2 games
&=Missing 3 games
$=Missing 4 games
)(=Missing 5 games
**=Missing 6 games

NOTES:

  • Once upon a time, the heart of the summer was a really bad time for MLS attendance. In fact, if you took out the Independence Day holiday boost, you got a graph that was smile shaped, with the high points for monthly averages at the beginning and end of the season. MLS has turned that around, with July its high point (43 games averaged 19,323, a league-record for the month) and June and August (so far) both averaging over 18k. With a Portland at Seattle match coming up in two weeks that will likely draw 65k+, this August might be one of the highest-attended months in league history.
  • Right now, MLS projects to draw about 5.8 million, down a shade from 2012′s high-water mark (thanks, Chivas).
  • The New York Cosmos have returned, and in drawing a season-high (and near league-record) 11,929 for their home opener, have gone to the top of the NASL charts. With five of their six remaining home games on Saturdays and with nostalgia still having not worn off, they should draw strong crowds the rest of the way. Their presence in St. Petersburg contributed to an Al Lang Stadium-record sellout crowd of 7,032 Saturday for what was a pretty spirited 0-0 draw. The Spring champions, Atlanta, were just under capacity for their Fall home opener that was plagued by lightning, Ft. Lauderdale drew an ehhh 3,295 for Minnesota and Edmonton got 1,745 for its first Fall home match. Glad they put those extra seats in up there.
  • Orlando’s 10,697 crowd for its match on Sunday against the Seattle Sounders Reserves was a team regular-season record and (near as I can tell) the second-highest attendance for a regular-season third division match ever (Minnesota drew 11,255 for a match against Milwaukee in 1995). The Lions have already drawn about 10 times as many fans as Dayton, Los Angeles and Charlotte and they have one home match left. And with their stadium funding having cleared another hurdle, it appears their dreams of moving to a higher level might become reality.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, Phoenix FC drew an announced 420 for its penultimate home match, which is appropriate, given you’d have to be high to believe what their chairman is saying.
  • Only four games remain in the inaugural NWSL season and the good news is the league’s average crowd is about 21% higher than in the final year of WPS in 2011. The bad news is that every market that had a team in the old league is down (some substantially) from their former averages, while Portland and Kansas City are thriving. Chicago’s down 58% from 2010 (their last year in WPS), Boston’s off 45%, Western New York is down 12% and Sky Blue FC (one of the best teams in the league) finished with a home average of 1,664 (down 23% from 2011). I’m sorry, those are trouble spots that need to be addressed, even if USSF, CSA and FMF are paying the freight for the star players. Forty-one percent of the people who have attended NWSL matches this year have done so in one city (Portland) and the Thorns might not even get a home playoff game.
  • And it happened over a week ago, but the Austin Aztex drew 3,062 and 4,253 for their semifinal and final in the PDL as they won the title.

Taking Attendance 7/22/2013: (More Or Less) Final PDL Numbers

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

The Premier Development League season ended yesterday and the playoffs begin tomorrow evening. With about 87% of precincts reporting, here are the attendance figures for the amateur league regarded by some as the fourth level of the unofficial North American soccer pyramid for 2013 (as always, standard disclaimers apply and additions/corrections are always welcome):

Team G Total Avg. Med. High Low
Des Moines Menace 7 21,961 3,137 2,971 3,544 2,877
Fresno Fuego 7 19,785 2,826 2,572 4,617 1,859
Portland Timbers U-23s 7 17,106 2,444 2,028 5,897 364
Carolina Dynamo #5 8,897 1,779 1,867 1,889 1,432
Victoria Highlanders FC 7 11,462 1,637 1,379 2,347 1,206
Austin Aztex 7 10,063 1,438 1,272 2,111 1,097
Ventura County Fusion 7 9,474 1,353 1,117 2,645 817
Oklahoma City 7 8,499 1,214 1,177 1,578 896
Forest City London 7 8,024 1,146 1,060 1,697 527
BYU Cougars 7 7,952 1,136 976 1,751 681
Western Mass Pioneers 7 7,404 1,058 1,011 1,743 150
West Texas Sockers 7 6,765 966 925 1,458 485
Long Island Rough Riders *6 4,941 824 548 1,842 407
FC Tucson 7 5,599 800 874 1,061 227
Thunder Bay Chill 7 5,595 799 763 973 644
Michigan Bucks 7 4,808 687 612 1,286 374
Laredo Heat 7 4,306 615 549 1,024 197
Kitsap Pumas #5 3,061 612 502 986 420
K-W United FC ^3 1,810 603 400 1,080 330
Mississippi Brilla 7 3,945 564 592 882 361
Virginia Beach Piranhas 7 3,877 554 574 806 263
Sounders FC U23 7 3,769 538 248 1,311 173
Ocean City Nor’easters *6 3,199 533 528 609 463
Panama City Beach Pirates 7 3,201 457 431 811 228
SW Florida Adrenaline #5 1,998 400 382 536 316
Reading United AC 7 2,703 386 312 607 147
Houston Dutch Lions 7 2,650 379 400 450 300
St. Louis Lions 7 2,511 359 321 652 210
SC United Bantams *6 1,950 325 300 500 200
CFC Azul 7 2,196 314 342 434 142
El Paso Patriots 7 2,150 307 210 630 100
Northern Virginia Royals #5 1,475 295 315 365 210
Ocala Stampede *6 1,685 281 299 365 186
Ottawa Fury 7 1,793 256 222 528 100
WSA Winnipeg 7 1,730 247 150 650 50
North Sound SeaWolves FC 7 1,640 234 75 645 65
Vermont Voltage &2 411 206 206 300 111
So. Cal. Seahorses ^3 600 200 200 200 200
Kansas City Brass #5 942 188 183 257 128
Real Boston Rams 7 1,301 186 205 268 74
NJ LUSO Rangers FC ^3 545 182 180 300 65
Baltimore Bohemians 7 1,249 178 153 304 100
Real Colorado Foxes 7 1,150 164 150 300 100
Jersey Express 7 1,127 161 125 277 95
SWVa King’s Warriors 7 1,068 153 128 285 70
NY Magic – F.A. Euro #5 730 146 130 250 100
GPS Portland Phoenix #5 725 145 125 200 125
Toronto Lynx 7 1,000 143 150 250 50
VSI Tampa Bay FC &2 278 139 139 200 78
West Virginia Chaos 7 965 138 120 250 50
Washington Crossfire 7 897 128 110 259 75
Orlando City U23 $1 127 127 127 127 127
Chicago Inferno #5 527 105 100 161 79
OC Blues Strikers FC #5 525 105 45 200 40
Springfield Demize 7 719 103 98 136 86
River City Rovers 7 638 91 103 126 50
Seacoast United Phantoms 7 580 83 75 125 50
Vancouver Whitecaps U-23 7 569 81 77 117 53
Westchester Flames 7 465 66 60 85 50
LA Misioneros FC *6 325 54 50 100 25
Chicago Fire #5 206 41 30 100 6
Central Jersey Spartans 7 245 35 32 55 25
IMG Academy Bradenton 6 160 27 20 60 15
Ft.L Schulz Academy &1 15 15 15 15 15
PDL TOTAL 388 228,073 588 300 5,897 6


* = missing 1 game
# = missing 2 games
^ = missing 4 games
& = missing 5 games
$ = missing 6 games

NOTES:

  • I’m missing 59 data points, or about 14% of the league’s games, so these numbers may change a bit by the time I am able to track the rest down (if that’s possible, which it likely isn’t). But most won’t change significantly.
  • Des Moines again edged Fresno for the PDL attendance crown, though both were down in average from a year ago. The Menace and Fuego have each been in the top three (and have often traded off the top couple of spots) since 2007. Fresno’s tickets are free through a sponsorship by a local radio station.
  • The biggest gainers, percentage-wise, were K-W United FC (formerly the Hamilton FC Rage), which went from 133 a game in 2012 to 603 a game this year (in a limited sample – I’m missing several of their games), the Houston Dutch Lions (nee Texas Dutch Lions), who went from 90 a game to 379 a game, the NJ LUSO Rangers FC (last yea’rs New Jersey Rangers), up from 69 a game to 182 (with several missing games) and Forest City London, who saw their crowds go from 507 a game last year to 1,146 a game this year.
  • Big drops included the Central Jersey Spartans (down 81%), Seacoast United Phantoms (down 58%) and the Baltimore Bohemians down 55%.
  • On a side note, I would love to see the Seacoast United Phantoms play the SC United Bantams, wouldn’t you?
  • The Chicago Fire announced what is probably the lowest-ever PDL attendance figure of 6 on July 17 when the Michigan Bucks played a 10:00 am match at Toyota Park. I can’t imagine anyone actually bothering to announce an attendance figure of 6, but they did it, so, kudos.
  • The best debut by a new PDL team was Oklahoma City (the site of a skirmish between USL Pro and the NASL which is just heating up), who averaged 1,214 per game in their inaugural season.
  • Big crowds this season occurred in Portland (where the Timbers drew 5,897 for a school day game against North Sound on May 31) and Fresno (4,617 for BYU on May 9), but Des Moines had all of its crowds in the top 12 for the league this year, with a high of 3,544 and a low of 2,877.
  • FC Tucson drew a team-record 1,022 on July 13 for LA Misioneros, then beat that a week later with a 1,061 crowd against BYU. Tucson actually came close to outdrawing their USL Pro cousins, Phoenix FC, who played Friday night in newly-downsized Sun Devil Soccer Stadium against Richmond and drew 1,084. Tucson moves into a soccer-specific stadium of its own next May.
  • Canadian teams had slightly a slightly higher overall average than US-based teams (615 to 584), but the difference isn’t much to get worked up about. London (1,146) is the best draw among Canadian teams, with Thunder Bay second at just under 800 a game.
  • The league itself was up about 100 people a game (a pretty significant percentage), but the 588 average for the games I have ( a ) would probably drop a bit with the missing games plugged in and ( b ) is right around the historical average. This is what the PDL draws, folks.

Taking Attendance: 7/1/2013 (Everybody)

Monday, July 1st, 2013

The year 2013 is half-over and all the various outdoor soccer leagues are in full swing, so we can now look at attendance numbers for everybody in MLS, the NASL, USL Pro and the PDL on the men’s side and the NWSL and W-League on the women’s side. Additions and corrections are always welcome.

THE MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER G Total Average Median
Seattle Sounders 6 249,009 41,502 38,989
Los Angeles Galaxy 7 153,642 21,949 20,124
Montreal Impact 8 170,271 21,284 18,734
Portland Timbers 8 165,392 20,674 20,674
Sporting KC 9 175,538 19,504 19,470
Houston Dynamo 8 155,725 19,466 19,422
Toronto FC 8 154,779 19,347 18,788
Vancouver Whitecaps 8 154,726 19,341 19,895
Real Salt Lake 9 166,931 18,548 18,962
New York Red Bulls 9 165,616 18,402 18,029
Philadelphia Union 9 158,319 17,591 18,160
FC Dallas 9 135,541 15,060 15,063
San Jose Earthquakes 9 133,300 14,811 10,525
Colorado Rapids 8 117,615 14,702 15,070
Columbus Crew 8 113,184 14,148 13,055
New England Revolution 8 109,356 13,670 13,189
DC United 10 136,450 13,645 13,381
Chicago Fire 8 101,784 12,723 12,685
Chivas USA 9 79,299 8,811 8,219
MLS TOTAL 158 2,796,477 17,699 17,675
 
NORTH AMERICAN SOCCER LG G Total Average Median
San Antonio Scorpions 5 34,975 6,995 6,889
Minnesota United FC 5 25,521 5,104 4,825
Atlanta Silverbacks 6 30,251 5,042 5,000
Carolina RailHawks 6 28,242 4,707 4,560
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 6 25,882 4,314 4,393
Tampa Bay Rowdies 5 19,186 3,837 3,575
FC Edmonton 6 12,356 2,059 2,207
NASL TOTAL 39 176,413 4,523 4,463
 
USL PRO G Total Average Median
Orlando City SC 8 62,549 7,819 7,930
Rochester Rhinos 8 45,030 5,629 5,548
Charleston Battery 8 27,901 3,488 3,294
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 8 25,899 3,237 3,404
Wilmington Hammerheads 7 22,330 3,190 2,898
Phoenix FC Wolves 8 17,670 2,209 2,005
Richmond Kickers 11 23,909 2,174 2,031
Harrisburg City Islanders 9 11,980 1,331 1,179
Dayton Dutch Lions #6 5,646 941 859
Charlotte Eagles 8 6,387 798 718
Los Angeles Blues #6 4,248 708 728
VSI Tampa Bay FC &6 2,767 461 340
MLS Reserve Teams #6 12,960 2,160 1,058
USL PRO TOTAL 99 269,276 2,720 2,031
 
PREMIER DEVELOPMENT LG G Total Average Median
Des Moines Menace 5 15,292 3,058 2,969
Fresno Fuego 5 15,105 3,021 2,736
Portland Timbers U-23s 6 16,394 2,732 2,699
Carolina Dynamo *4 7,008 1,752 1,855
Victoria Highlanders FC 6 9,115 1,519 1,378
Ventura County Fusion 5 7,383 1,477 1,117
Austin Aztex 5 6,664 1,333 1,205
Oklahoma City 6 7,308 1,218 1,157
West Texas Sockers 5 5,077 1,015 925
Forest City London 4 4,027 1,007 979
Western Mass Pioneers 5 4,659 932 1,011
BYU Cougars 4 3,440 860 892
Long Island Rough Riders 6 4,941 824 548
Thunder Bay Chill 5 3,859 772 728
Michigan Bucks 5 3,601 720 612
K-W United FC *2 1,410 705 705
FC Tucson 5 3,516 703 747
Sounders FC U23 6 3,521 587 341
Mississippi Brilla 5 2,896 579 592
Virginia Beach Piranhas 3 1,722 574 641
Kitsap Pumas *3 1,613 538 502
Ocean City Nor’easters 2 1,027 514 514
Laredo Heat 4 1,832 458 493
Reading United AC 5 2,244 449 507
SW Florida Adrenaline *3 1,300 433 386
Panama City Beach Pirates 6 2,390 398 427
Houston Dutch Lions 4 1,500 375 375
El Paso Patriots 5 1,840 368 425
St. Louis Lions 5 1,586 317 321
SC United Bantams *5 1,550 310 300
Vermont Voltage *1 300 300 300
Northern Virginia Royals 3 890 297 315
CFC Azul 6 1,762 294 295
WSA Winnipeg 5 1,330 266 150
Ocala Stampede *2 504 252 252
NJ LUSO Rangers FC &2 480 240 240
North Sound SeaWolves FC 4 855 214 80
Ottawa Fury 5 1,002 200 190
Southern California Seahorses &3 600 200 200
Real Boston Rams 6 1,136 189 210
Real Colorado Foxes 3 550 183 150
New York Magic – F.A. Euro *3 530 177 150
Jersey Express 6 1,032 172 125
Toronto Lynx 5 830 166 150
S.West Va. King’s Warriors 5 813 163 128
Kansas City Brass #2 321 161 161
GPS Portland Phoenix *3 475 158 150
West Virginia Chaos 6 855 143 140
Baltimore Bohemians 5 696 139 135
VSI Tampa Bay FC &2 278 139 139
Washington Crossfire 6 787 131 115
Orlando City U23 ^1 127 127 127
Chicago Inferno 4 427 107 94
OC Blues Strikers FC *5 525 105 45
Springfield Demize 6 621 104 99
River City Rovers 6 527 88 92
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 5 429 86 77
Seacoast United Phantoms 4 280 70 65
Westchester Flames 4 270 68 68
Chicago Fire #3 180 60 50
LA Misioneros FC 6 325 54 50
Central Jersey Spartans 4 161 40 41
IMG Academy Bradenton 5 140 28 20
Fort Lauderdale Schulz Academy &1 15 15 15
PDL TOTAL 276 163,873 594 291
 
NATIONAL WOMEN’S SOCCER LG G Total Average Median
Portland Thorns FC 6 77,142 12,857 12,460
FC Kansas City 7 30,648 4,378 4,186
Washington Spirit 5 21,278 4,256 4,569
Western New York Flash 6 21,793 3,632 3,258
Boston Breakers 7 15,692 2,242 2,124
Seattle Reign FC 6 11,694 1,949 1,848
Sky Blue FC 7 12,234 1,748 1,439
Chicago Red Stars 6 8,499 1,417 1,198
NWSL TOTAL 50 198,980 3,980 2,929
 
W-LEAGUE G Total Average Median
Washington Spirit Reserves 5 9,601 1,920 538
Seattle Sounders Women *4 4,045 1,011 999
Long Island Rough Riders 5 3,739 748 532
Charlotte Lady Eagles 3 1,410 470 374
Virginia Beach Piranhas 5 2,343 469 486
Atlanta Silverbacks 3 1,300 433 400
New Jersey Wildcats #1 389 389 389
Colorado Rapids Women #3 960 320 275
Carolina Elite Cobras *4 1,215 304 292
LA Strikers #3 862 287 295
Ottawa Fury 3 794 265 265
Colorado Rush 4 1,040 260 230
New York Magic – F.A. Euro 4 1,033 258 226
North Jersey Valkyries 4 978 245 196
K-W United FC &2 450 225 225
Fredericksburg Impact 6 1,204 201 178
Dayton Dutch Lions 4 799 200 194
Pali Blues 3 581 194 259
Laval Comets 5 924 185 195
Bay Area Breeze 4 581 145 128
London Gryphons 4 517 129 130
Quebec City Amiral *4 436 109 108
VSI Tampa Bay FC *4 387 97 100
Toronto Lady Lynx 4 319 80 80
Santa Clarita Blue Heat &2 126 63 63
W-LEAGUE TOTAL 93 36,033 387 229

^=4 games missing
&=3 games missing
#=2 games missing
*=1 game missing

NOTES:

  • Almost halfway through its season (they’re three games shy of the halfway mark), Major League Soccer is still at a healthy 17,699 per game, even with Chivas USA dragging things down a bit. Eight teams are averaging over 19k per game, which is terrific. Thanks to a 50,028 crowd for their game against the Galaxy at Stanford this past weekend, San Jose is at a robust 14,811 for the season (they won’t be able to keep it, but they’ll wrap up their stay at Buck Shaw Stadium with no doubt that their product resonates with the market again). The quick projection math (seeing what would happen if everyone held their average the rest of the way) puts the league at around 5.7 million for the season, a bit off last year’s record 6 million.
  • Atlanta, Carolina, Edmonton and Ft. Lauderdale all finished their Spring Season home slates in the NASL this past weekend, and all are ahead of last year’s averages through the same number of home games. Minnesota is, too, but will play its first game of the season at its ancestral home, the NSC Stadium in Blaine, on the 4th.
  • Rochester announced a season-high 7,334 for Hall of Fame Night against Phoenix FC on Saturday, but the Rhinos are still a shell of the club that used to average over 10k per game a decade ago. Orlando, which saw its 25-match home unbeaten streak snapped by Richmond, still leads USL Pro with a 7,819 average. The league average is actually being brought down a bit by the MLS Reserve clubs, as the full-time USL Pro teams are averaging a collective 2,756.
  • Des Moines is back on top of the PDL chart, as Portland and Fresno have slipped a bit. First-year Oklahoma City FC is averaging a promising 1,218 (one of ten PDL teams in four figures). The PDL average is about where it has been historically, with some teams (like Bradenton) making no bones about their player development agenda, to the exclusion of worrying about ticket sales.
  • The NWSL is just past its halfway point, and has three teams (including its best team, Sky Blue FC) averaging under 2,000 a game. Portland still sets the pace, with Kansas City and Washington drawing good numbers. It’s odd that Rochester loved Abby Wambach as an opposing player, but has been largely indifferent to the local girl making good now that they can see her every other week.
  • The Washington Spirit Reserves lead the W-League in attendance with numbers that are ( a ) bolstered by a pair of doubleheaders with their NWSL team and ( b ) apparently bollocks anyway, based on a comment from the last update. It’s tempting to say the loss of all the US Women’s National Team stars has hurt the Seattle Sounders Women, but the presence of Hope Solo hasn’t made a big difference to the Seattle Reign (to be fair, she was hurt and the team is terrible).

Taking Attendance 6/10/2013: Almost Everybody

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Now that (nearly) everybody in the six primary outdoor soccer leagues in the US and Canada has had a home match, we can take our first comprehensive look at 2013 at attendance figures. I’ve added medians to the chart this time. (These are through games of Sunday, June 9 and, as always, corrections and additions are welcome.)

THE MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER G Total Average Median
Seattle Sounders 6 249,009 41,502 38,989
Montreal Impact 6 132,194 22,032 18,439
Los Angeles Galaxy 6 129,967 21,661 20,098
Portland Timbers 6 124,044 20,674 20,674
Vancouver Whitecaps 6 118,480 19,747 19,895
Sporting KC 8 155,410 19,426 19,229
Toronto FC 7 133,938 19,134 18,355
Houston Dynamo 7 133,686 19,098 19,004
Real Salt Lake 8 147,083 18,385 18,628
New York Red Bulls 8 140,133 17,517 16,927
Philadelphia Union 7 121,094 17,299 17,182
FC Dallas 8 119,180 14,898 14,701
Colorado Rapids 7 102,598 14,657 15,122
DC United 7 96,333 13,762 13,612
New England Revolution 8 109,356 13,670 13,189
Chicago Fire 7 90,435 12,919 12,813
Columbus Crew 6 75,240 12,540 11,645
San Jose Earthquakes 8 83,272 10,409 10,525
Chivas USA 7 57,405 8,201 8,219
MLS TOTAL 133 2,318,857 17,435 17,415
 
NORTH AMERICAN SOCCER LG G Total Average Median
San Antonio Scorpions 4 28,486 7,122 6,971
Minnesota United FC 5 25,521 5,104 4,825
Atlanta Silverbacks 5 24,540 4,908 5,000
Carolina RailHawks 4 19,588 4,897 4,560
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 4 18,134 4,534 4,443
Tampa Bay Rowdies 4 14,591 3,648 3,494
FC Edmonton 4 6,659 1,665 1,676
NASL TOTAL 30 137,519 4,584 4,493
 
USL PRO G Total Average Median
Orlando City SC 7 53,707 7,672 7,466
Rochester Rhinos 4 22,522 5,631 5,640
Charleston Battery 7 22,790 3,256 3,262
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 5 15,437 3,087 3,344
Wilmington Hammerheads 5 15,426 3,085 2,898
Phoenix FC Wolves 6 13,831 2,305 2,005
Richmond Kickers 9 19,872 2,208 2,031
Harrisburg City Islanders 6 8,281 1,380 1,402
Dayton Dutch Lions 3 3,528 1,176 1,436
Charlotte Eagles 6 4,310 718 659
Los Angeles Blues 5 3,436 687 657
VSI Tampa Bay FC 5 2,517 503 423
MLS Reserve Teams 5 12,647 2,529 1,055
USL PRO TOTAL 73 198,304 2,716 2,031
 
PREMIER DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE G Total Average Median
Portland Timbers U-23s 3 12,948 4,316 3,681
Fresno Fuego 3 10,767 3,589 3,414
Des Moines Menace 2 5,940 2,970 2,970
Ventura County Fusion 3 5,627 1,876 1,865
Victoria Highlanders FC 5 7,736 1,547 1,376
Carolina Dynamo 1 1,432 1,432 1,432
Oklahoma City 3 3,698 1,233 1,177
Austin Aztex 3 3,574 1,191 1,205
K-W United FC *1 1,080 1,080 1,080
West Texas Sockers 4 4,152 1,038 921
Long Island Rough Riders 3 2,781 927 532
BYU Cougars 3 2,577 859 920
Michigan Bucks 3 2,564 855 904
FC Tucson 3 2,415 805 747
Forest City London 2 1,587 794 794
Virginia Beach Piranhas 1 715 715 715
Kitsap Pumas *1 691 691 691
Thunder Bay Chill 3 2,069 690 697
Sounders FC U23 5 3,276 655 437
Laredo Heat 2 1,198 599 599
Western Mass Pioneers 2 1,161 581 581
Mississippi Brilla 3 1,653 551 592
El Paso Patriots 3 1,580 527 525
Reading United AC 3 1,334 445 507
SW Florida Adrenaline 3 1,300 433 386
Houston Dutch Lions 3 1,150 383 400
St. Louis Lions 2 766 383 383
Panama City Beach Pirates 4 1,448 362 383
SC United Bantams *3 1,050 350 300
North Sound SeaWolves FC 2 695 348 348
WSA Winnipeg 3 1,030 343 330
CFC Azul 2 629 315 315
NJ LUSO Rangers FC *1 300 300 300
Vermont Voltage 1 300 300 300
Real Boston Rams 2 455 228 228
Northern Virginia Royals 1 210 210 210
SWVa King’s Warriors 2 410 205 205
Jersey Express 4 802 201 200
New York Magic – F.A. Euro *2 380 190 130
Real Colorado Foxes 3 550 183 150
Toronto Lynx *3 480 160 150
GPS Portland Phoenix 3 475 158 150
West Virginia Chaos 4 625 156 163
Ottawa Fury 3 445 148 155
Baltimore Bohemians 2 288 144 144
VSI Tampa Bay FC 2 278 139 139
Kansas City Brass 1 138 138 138
Washington Crossfire 3 343 114 120
Springfield Demize 3 282 94 96
River City Rovers 3 270 90 103
Seacoast United Phantoms 2 175 88 88
Chicago Inferno 2 166 83 83
OC Blues Strikers FC 4 325 81 43
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 3 235 78 77
Chicago Fire 2 150 75 75
Westchester Flames 3 210 70 75
LA Misioneros FC 4 250 63 50
Central Jersey Spartans 2 90 45 45
IMG Academy Bradenton 2 75 38 38
Fort Lauderdale Schulz Academy *0 0 0 0
Ocala Stampede 0 0 0 0
Ocean City Nor’easters 0 0 0 0
Orlando City U23 #0 0 0 0
Southern California Seahorses *0 0 0 0
PDL TOTAL 154 99,330 645 300
 
NATIONAL WOMEN’S SOCCER LG G Total Average Median
Portland Thorns FC 5 63,340 12,668 12,446
FC Kansas City 4 19,396 4,849 4,274
Washington Spirit 4 16,709 4,177 4,298
Western New York Flash 4 12,082 3,021 2,945
Boston Breakers 4 9,117 2,279 2,379
Seattle Reign FC 5 9,376 1,875 1,377
Chicago Red Stars 4 6,568 1,642 1,292
Sky Blue FC 5 8,106 1,621 1,439
NWSL TOTAL 35 144,694 4,134 2,855
 
W-LEAGUE G Total Average Median
Washington Spirit Reserves 3 4,701 1,567 538
Long Island Rough Riders 3 3,236 1,079 862
Seattle Sounders Women 2 2,127 1,064 1,064
Charlotte Lady Eagles 1 752 752 752
Colorado Rapids Women 1 535 535 535
North Jersey Valkyries *1 462 462 462
Atlanta Silverbacks *2 750 375 375
Virginia Beach Piranhas *1 346 346 346
Carolina Elite Cobras *2 648 324 324
LA Strikers *1 295 295 295
Fredericksburg Impact 2 510 255 255
Laval Comets 2 469 235 235
K-W United FC #2 450 225 225
Dayton Dutch Lions 2 388 194 194
Pali Blues *2 322 161 161
London Gryphons 3 458 153 134
Bay Area Breeze 3 452 151 127
New York Magic – F.A. Euro 2 236 118 118
Quebec City Amiral 2 220 110 110
VSI Tampa Bay FC #2 173 87 87
Toronto Lady Lynx 3 244 81 85
Santa Clarita Blue Heat 1% 78 78 78
Colorado Rush 0 0 0 0
New Jersey Wildcats #0 0 0 0
Ottawa Fury 0 0 0 0
W-LEAGUE TOTAL 43 17,852 415 200


*=Missing 1 game
#=Missing 2 games
%=Missing 3 games

NOTES:

  • Seattle’s crowd of 53,679 for their home game against Vancouver Saturday was a season high in MLS. (How many tickets did Vancouver fans get, by the way, anybody know? After that whole Cascadia brouhaha?) The Sounders are slightly behind last year’s final average, and league attendance is down. It projects out (if everybody holds their current averages) to a total attendance of about 5.63 million for the season, well off last year’s milestone 6 million plus. The good news is that MLS is playing to about 84% capacity and, at 17,435 a game, is still very healthy.
  • Obviously, there are still issues with Chivas USA, but the Goats are still unlikely to reach the depths of Dragon Stadium Dallas or Miami. The real problems appear to be with established clubs that should do better (Chicago, Columbus and DC, specifically).
  • Every team in the NASL except San Antonio (which would have been hard pressed to, given they moved to a more intimate venue) is up year-over-year in terms of average announced attendance. Carolina (up 57%) is the biggest gainer to this point (though their recent club-record crowd in an Open Cup match doesn’t count in these rankings, which track only league games), but Minnesota is up 43%, Ft. Lauderdale is up 38% and even Tampa Bay is up 20%. There have been smaller gains in Atlanta (where they’re near capacity anyway) and Edmonton (where new seats just went in, to underwhelming reaction so far). The teams, collectively are up about 8% and the league after 30 matches this year is about 22% ahead of last year after the same number of games. No Division II league has ever had all of its teams finish over 2,000 announced per game for an entire season, so if Edmonton can get there by year’s end, this will be a first.
  • Orlando’s still setting the pace in USL Pro, with the Lions drawing 7,466 and 6,187 for a pair of 2-0 wins this weekend. They’re about 10% ahead of last year’s league-leading pace through 7 home games). Dayton drew a near team-record (they haven’t always announced all their crowds, but the Dayton Daily News described it as a record) 1,621 for their match against the Columbus Crew Reserves Saturday night. These MLS crossover games aren’t drawing a ton of interest (averaging just 3,004 for five matches at USL Pro venues) but MLS teams have been going deep into their benches and, in some cases, their academies for players to play in these things. Because the games count in the standings, I’m including the MLS Reserve Teams as one line item in the USL Pro chart, but the league average is actually slightly higher if you take them out of the equation (2,730 to 2,716).
  • Portland is certainly (once again) Soccer City USA. The Timbers’ first team sells out every game, their U-23 team leads the PDL in attendance (thanks in part to some well-attended school/camp day games) and their NWSL team, the Thorns, is far and away the leader in the new women’s league. Most of the rest of the NWSL isn’t much to write home about, with the co-league-leaders Sky Blue FC (who don’t wear sky blue, I’m just sayin’) at the bottom of the attendance table. Three NWSL teams are averaging under 2,000 announced per game and former league leader Boston is just over 2,000. As the American, Canadian and Mexican federations are paying the salaries of their international players, NWSL teams should be doing much better from an expense standpoint, but if they’re not putting those savings into sales and marketing, I’m not sure this league will be any better off than the last two. Their median announced attendance through 35 games (2,855) is only slightly higher than WPS’ was through 35 games in 2011 (2,477).
  • Fresno, Portland and Des Moines, the usual PDL leaders, are there again in the early going. A total of 10 PDL clubs are averaging over 1,000 announced per game, and a couple more are close. Then we have the teams that exist solely to give players an opportunity to develop, as in Bradenton, where IMG Academy announced a crowd of 15 – fifteen – for its May 29 match against Orlando. Meanwhile, FC Tucson had a club-record 1,015 for its showdown against Fresno on Saturday.
  • Lastly, we have the W-League, led by Washington on the strength of a season-opening doubleheader with its big sister club that drew a league-high 4,027. Seattle – which averaged 4,333 last year when they had Hope Solo and Alex Morgan, is still among the league leaders, but at only a quarter of last year’s draw. (Meanwhile, Seattle’s WPS team, with Solo, can’t get 2,000 a game in the same stadium.)

Revisiting the NHL Lockout’s Impact on Minor-League Hockey Attendance

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Several months back, I wondered what effect the NHL lockout was having on attendance at games in the American Hockey League, whose 30 teams are all affiliates of NHL clubs. Now that the AHL season has ended, we can look at how all 78 minor-league clubs fared at the gate from the time the lockout ended until this past weekend.

You’ll see four columns for each team in the table below. The first is each club’s average home announced attendance as of the last day of the lockout (through games of January 18, 2013). Next is the average home announced attendance for all games from that point until the end of each team’s season. Then there’s the team’s final average announced attendance for the entire season. Finally, the percentage in the fourth column is the difference between the average for games during the lockout and for games after the lockout. Teams are ranked here by how big a “hit” they took (how much their average dropped) when the NHL returned to play. A positive number, obviously, indicates an increase in attendance post-lockout.

Team Lg During Post Final Diff.
Hamilton Bulldogs AHL 6,168 4,742 5,342 -23.12%
San Francisco Bulls ECHL 4,635 3,577 4,164 -22.83%
Elmira Jackals ECHL 2,699 2,168 2,478 -19.67%
Williamsport Outlaws FHL 1,076 867 1,069 -19.42%
Rochester Americans AHL 6,770 5,750 6,314 -15.07%
Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL 5,681 5,023 5,300 -11.58%
1000 Islands Privateers FHL 921 815 880 -11.46%
Toronto Marlies AHL 7,138 6,348 6,681 -11.07%
Abbotsford Heat AHL 3,917 3,587 3,778 -8.42%
Danbury Whalers FHL 1,944 1,853 1,907 -4.70%
Allen Americans CHL 4,254 4,066 4,157 -4.43%
Denver Cutthroats CHL 3,025 2,913 2,981 -3.71%
Alaska Aces ECHL 4,831 4,715 4,783 -2.40%
Bloomington Blaze CHL 2,522 2,516 2,520 -0.24%
Colorado Eagles ECHL 5,289 5,289 5,289 0.00%
St. John’s IceCaps AHL 6,287 6,287 6,287 0.00%
Rapid City Rush CHL 4,661 4,663 4,662 0.05%
Binghamton Senators AHL 3,547 3,573 3,559 0.74%
Missouri Mavericks CHL 5,461 5,588 5,523 2.32%
Dayton Demonz FHL 1,136 1,163 1,146 2.39%
Tulsa Oilers CHL 4,114 4,223 4,167 2.64%
Syracuse Crunch AHL 5,309 5,464 5,399 2.93%
Augusta River Hawks SPHL 1,811 1,864 1,830 2.94%
Norfolk Admirals AHL 5,325 5,578 5,451 4.74%
Oklahoma City Barons AHL 3,453 3,619 3,527 4.80%
Houston Aeros AHL 6,656 6,981 6,793 4.88%
Orlando Solar Bears ECHL 6,477 6,821 6,668 5.31%
Albany Devils AHL 3,755 3,956 3,860 5.34%
Idaho Steelheads ECHL 3,884 4,102 3,987 5.61%
Utah Grizzlies ECHL 4,492 4,768 4,622 6.14%
Fort Wayne Komets ECHL 7,402 7,867 7,583 6.28%
Wheeling Nailers ECHL 2,423 2,590 2,488 6.88%
Knoxville Ice Bears SPHL 3,320 3,577 3,449 7.75%
Peoria Rivermen AHL 4,781 5,187 5,027 8.50%
Springfield Falcons AHL 3,707 4,105 3,906 10.75%
Toledo Walleye ECHL 5,975 6,622 6,298 10.83%
Lake Erie Monsters AHL 7,243 8,033 7,680 10.91%
Florida Everblades ECHL 4,829 5,372 5,116 11.24%
Ontario Reign ECHL 7,209 8,033 7,575 11.43%
Las Vegas Wranglers ECHL 4,326 4,824 4,561 11.51%
Bakersfield Condors ECHL 4,400 4,923 4,618 11.89%
Texas Stars AHL 4,866 5,456 5,146 12.12%
Rockford IceHogs AHL 4,309 4,839 4,560 12.30%
Kalamazoo Wings ECHL 3,068 3,483 3,252 13.53%
Arizona Sundogs CHL 2,467 2,820 2,617 14.33%
Hershey Bears AHL 9,503 10,879 10,046 14.48%
Stockton Thunder ECHL 5,049 5,921 5,485 17.27%
Gwinnett Gladiators ECHL 5,022 5,901 5,437 17.51%
Mississippi Surge SPHL 1,900 2,253 2,089 18.58%
Fayetteville FireAntz SPHL 3,175 3,792 3,440 19.42%
Adirondack Phantoms AHL 3,611 4,328 3,988 19.85%
W-B/Scranton Penguins AHL 5,527 6,670 6,038 20.68%
Mississippi RiverKings SPHL 2,305 2,791 2,513 21.08%
Trenton Titans ECHL 3,054 3,702 3,360 21.23%
Fort Worth Brahmas CHL 1,636 1,983 1,763 21.24%
Pensacola Ice Flyers SPHL 2,911 3,572 3,289 22.71%
Portland Pirates AHL 3,949 4,891 4,444 23.84%
Providence Bruins AHL 7,340 9,129 8,188 24.37%
Worcester Sharks AHL 3,857 4,838 4,374 25.45%
Reading Royals ECHL 3,571 4,529 4,023 26.83%
Huntsville Havoc SPHL 3,089 3,939 3,514 27.52%
Grand Rapids Griffins AHL 6,763 8,804 7,676 30.18%
Evansville IceMen ECHL 4,909 6,426 5,415 30.91%
Louisiana IceGators SPHL 2,058 2,702 2,289 31.31%
Chicago Wolves AHL 7,091 9,369 8,230 32.12%
Cincinnati Cyclones ECHL 3,905 5,206 4,447 33.31%
Connecticut Whale AHL 3,850 5,160 4,540 34.03%
Danville Dashers FHL 499 678 566 35.81%
Manchester Monarchs AHL 4,952 6,742 5,706 36.15%
Charlotte Checkers AHL 5,730 7,832 6,781 36.69%
San Antonio Rampage AHL 6,067 8,303 7,067 36.85%
Wichita Thunder CHL 4,795 6,690 5,599 39.52%
South Carolina Stingrays ECHL 2,947 4,176 3,528 41.71%
Quad City Mallards CHL 2,529 3,666 3,080 44.95%
Columbus Cottonmoutsh SPHL 2,307 3,529 2,831 52.97%
Greenville Road Warriors ECHL 3,061 4,693 3,605 53.32%
Milwaukee Admirals AHL 4,250 6,736 5,624 58.49%
New York Bluefins FHL 424 N/A 424 N/A
 
League FHL 1,054 1,131 1,078 7.29%
League AHL 5,411 6,013 5,710 11.12%
League ECHL 4,471 5,052 4,730 12.99%
League CHL 3,490 3,983 3,707 14.13%
League SPHL 2,508 3,158 2,805 25.92%

Sixty-one of the seventy-eight minor-league hockey teams saw an increase in their average announced attendance once the NHL lockout was over, ranging from the negligible (Rapid City, two people per game) to the profound (Columbus, Greenville and Milwaukee, all up more than 50%). Every league was also up, from the seven percent of the Federal League to the 26 percent of the SPHL.

Some individual markets saw steep declines, including Hamilton (did the return of the Leafs, and their first trip to the playoffs in nine years, make an impact there?), San Francisco (with the Sharks in nearby San Jose), Elmira and Rochester (both near Buffalo) and Bridgeport (the closest minor-league market to New York) all off by 12 to 23 percent.

I wouldn’t attribute all of this to the return of the NHL, and different markets may react very differently. There could be any number of reasons above and beyond the idea that hockey fans felt better about the game once the lockout was over and wanted to consume it at whatever level was closest to them. But you can’t prove from these numbers that the absence of the NHL was better for the minor-league hockey business.

(Nearly) Final MISL Attendance Numbers (UPDATED)

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

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 4,341 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:

Team
G
Total
Average
Median
High
Low
Rochester 13 82,694 6,361 5,365 10,320 4,191
Baltimore 13 72,083 5,545 6,311 7,060 3,038
Milwaukee 13 65,895 5,069 5,071 8,009 3,733
Missouri 13 55,091 4,238 4,239 5,481 3,026
Syracuse 13 44,221 3,402 3,376 4,567 2,468
Wichita 13 37,318 2,871 2,600 4,500 2,200
Chicago 10 24,738 2,474 2,212 4,382 1,572
MISL TOTAL 88 382,040 4,341 4,123 10,320 1,572

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 2,474 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.
  • UPDATE 12/26/2013: Thanks to a commenter, I’ve revised Chicago’s total and average.

Oooh, I Know This One!

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Syracuse soccer fans
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.

Team G Total Average Median High Low
Rochester Lancers *11 68,546 6,231 5,365 10,320 4,191
Baltimore Blast 12 65,697 5,475 6,248 7,060 3,038
Milwaukee Wave 11 51,303 4,664 4,934 5,602 3,733
Missouri Comets 11 47,204 4,291 4,518 5,481 3,026
Syracuse Silver Knights 11 37,664 3,424 3,376 4,567 2,617
Wichita Wings 13 37,318 2,871 2,600 4,500 2,200
Chicago Soul *10 23,659 2,366 2,212 3,488 1,572
MISL TOTAL 79 331,391 4,195 3,919 10,320 1,572
*=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.)

Taking Attendance: Better Get Indoors 1/28/2013

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Crowd in Wichita
Here’s the first look this season at attendance figures from the Major Indoor Soccer League, now in its second season under the United Soccer Leagues’ umbrella.

Team G Total Average Median High Low
Rochester *9 55,747 6,194 5,365 10,320 4,191
Baltimore 10 52,321 5,232 5,540 6,711 3,038
Milwaukee 9 40,380 4,487 4,307 5,543 3,733
Missouri 8 35,015 4,377 4,548 5,481 3,026
Syracuse 10 34,662 3,466 3,394 4,567 2,617
Wichita 11 30,175 2,743 2,500 4,200 2,200
Chicago #4 9,671 2,418 2,256 3,488 1,671
MISL TOTAL 61 257,971 4,229 3,967 10,320 1,671


*Missing one game.
#Missing four games.

Right away, you’ll notice that the Baltimore Blast is in danger of not leading its league in average announced attendance for the first time since 2003-2004. With Rochester drawing a league-high 10,320 on Sunday against Missouri (the biggest indoor crowd in more than five years), the Lancers put a bit more space between themselves and the second-place Blast. How much space is up for debate, as Rochester’s January 1 game against Baltimore still doesn’t have an official attendance figure attached to it.

The Blast is down just under three percent in average announced attendance compared to the same number of home games as a year ago, but they and the Wichita Wings (whose Hartman Arena is pictured above) are the only clubs looking at a decline year-over-year. The Wings, who used to pack the Kansas Coliseum back in the original MISL days, struggle to get fans to come to their cozy, modern arena (they’re down 26 percent over the same number of home games as a year ago), but when they do come, they usually come in nice, round numbers. The Wings have announced crowds of 2,600, 2,500, 2,200, 4,200, 2,500, 2,800, 3,000, 3,100, 2,300, 2,475 and 2,500. Believe them at your own risk.

But that’s nothing compared to the latest group to try to make a go of it in Chicago, where the Soul is surprisingly winning games (they’re 8-12 with six games to play, even after Sunday’s loss in Milwaukee), but not surprisingly not drawing fans. Despite their owner’s prediction that they’d have three 4,000+ crowds in January, the Soul has stopped announcing crowd figures and by the looks of things, that’s just as well. The four games they have announced crowds for have averaged 2,418, a league low, and the actual numbers are surely south of that. (Though they’d be doing great if the people who estimate their goalkeeper’s saves estimated their crowds.)

Everybody else is up in average attendance year-over-year. Syracuse is up 17 percent, Missouri is up 19 percent and Milwaukee is up 20 percent and riding what is now the longest winning streak in the indoor game at 14. (In case you’re wondering, the longest winning streak by an indoor team actually playing against full-time professionals is 19 by the 1980-81 New York Arrows. The Wave can beat that on February 24 in Rochester if they keep winning.)

If nothing else, the MISL seems to have stabilized, which is a key to at least getting the indoor game some traction. Rochester looks like a great find as a market. Baltimore and Milwaukee are the only clubs that have been around for more than three seasons, but Missouri seems solid, Syracuse is improving and if they can figure out what’s going wrong in Wichita and reverse that trend, they’d have a good base. With St. Louis rumored (as they have been for years) to be potentially getting a new team, perhaps there’s hope.