With only a week left in the 2013 Major League Soccer Season and only a couple of weeks left in the NASL season, the final numbers are in sight. Here’s where things stand after this weekend’s games:
|THE MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER||G||Total||Average||Median|
|Los Angeles Galaxy||17||373,880||21,993||21,160|
|Real Salt Lake||16||306,252||19,141||19,617|
|New York Red Bulls||16||305,613||19,101||18,317|
|New England Revolution||17||252,346||14,844||14,163|
|San Jose Earthquakes||16||206,484||12,905||10,525|
|San Antonio Scorpions||12||82,476||6,873||6,826|
|New York Cosmos||7||48,011||6,859||6,081|
|Minnesota United FC||12||55,309||4,609||4,480|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||12||51,236||4,270||4,069|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||12||48,259||4,022||3,573|
- MLS (not “the MLS,” please stop) has an outside chance of breaking the six million barrier for the second straight year, but it’s going to be close. Based on the current averages of the 10 teams who have their home finales this week, they’re looking at about a 27,000-person gap that has to be bridged. Luckily, Seattle is supposed to take care of about 25,000 of that with what is expected to be a crowd of 64,000+. Their record is 67,385 (set last year against Portland), and if they can break that and the other teams just hold their current averages, MLS might hit 6 million. (The LA-Seattle game, as it happens, is the final game on the schedule, at 9pm ET on Sunday and is on ESPN, so good scheduling there.)
- Of the nine teams that have completed their home schedules, only Dallas (up 8.3%) and New England (up 6% thanks to a very nice home finale crowd) showed decent improvement over last year’s numbers (though Columbus is poised to have the biggest year-over-year increase depending on how their game against New England goes Sunday afternoon). Meanwhile, Montreal (down about 10%) and Chicago (down about 7%) have seen year-over-year decreases that are significant. (Not as significant as that of Chivas USA, obviously, which is down 37% with a game remaining.)
- Overall, the league is down just under two percent in average announced attendance, but there really aren’t many causes for alarm outside of the red-and-white half of Carson.
- Yes, you are seeing that correctly: the vaunted New York Cosmos do not – and may not – lead the NASL in average attendance. Nostalgia only takes you so far, and even an historic brand name and a winning club haven’t been enough to get DI-type numbers out of the DII club. As long as San Antonio draws more than 6,704 to their game against (coincidence, not irony) the Cosmos this Saturday, they’ll lead the league for the second straight year. The Cosmos’ final average of 6,859 is very solid for a second division club. It’s just not what you would have expected, given all the fanboy hype about the resurrection.
- Want to see another interesting stat? The Cosmos haven’t really boosted the league’s overall crowds at all. The NASL Spring Season (without New York) averaged 4,662. The NASL Fall Season (with New York) has averaged 4,664 so far. That’s consistency. The Twice In A Lifetime Boys have drawn good crowds in former original NASL markets (Tampa Bay and Fort Lauderdale, specifically), but have only played to crowds slightly above the league average overall (5,118 for five games so far) on the road.
- The NASL’s split-season format (in which only the half-season winners advance to a one-game playoff) has resulted in a situation where 10 of the final 13 games on the league’s schedule feature a home team with absolutely nothing to play for (and it could wind up as 11 of the last 13, depending), and six games where neither team had anything to play for. Still hate playoffs?
- Last thing on the split-season bit: Everybody except Edmonton (which expanded its stadium late in the first half) has or had a lower per-game average in the fall than in the spring. They ranged from Tampa Bay being off less than 1 percent to Minnesota being off 27 percent and Atlanta down 16 percent. Edmonton’s crowds were up 24%, but only from 2,059 to 2,543.
- A few NASL teams are going to be struggling next spring, just because of their temporary venues. Neither Virginia’s nor Ottawa’s stadiums will be completed in time for the spring campaign and Minnesota won’t be able to play in the Metrodome. Indianapolis, meanwhile, which will also play in a temporary venue, should not have any problems drawing crowds, based on their season ticket deposit numbers, which are impressive for any level.