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WTF WPS?

with 4 comments

WTF?Imagine a bad breakup with someone you shouldn’t have hooked up with in the first place, someone who seemed perfect for you but who belittled you to your friends, was a slob, didn’t pay their half of the rent and utilities and criticized your sexual performance. Now imagine having to have that person spend one weekend a month at your house for the next two years. That’s what’s happening to WPS right now.

Rather than deal with protracted litigation over WPS’ revoking of Dan Borislow‘s magicJack franchise last October (which a Florida circuit court judge said last week had been done improperly), WPS and Borislow have reached a compromise: magicJack will play exhibition games against WPS teams for the next two years, but won’t “really” be a part of the league. This shows you how desperate the other WPS owners were to be rid of this guy – they’re currently playing under another USSF waiver because they have just five teams instead of the mandated eight. MagicJack would at least give them six, but Borislow has alienated his fellow owners and even his own players to the point where the league’s new CEO said she feared the owners might prefer to fold rather than let him back in.

So the team once described as “the Barcelona of women’s soccer” (Distaff Barça, by the way, finished third in the league and lost in the playoff semifinal) is kindasorta back, for seven or eight friendlies (at least a couple in Boca Raton) in each of the next two years. Which means two more seasons of drama for a league that needs drama less than it needs investors.

Written by admin

January 19th, 2012 at 10:35 am

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Taking Attendance, 5/31/2011

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Might be the last one for a while, but here’s the latest list of attendance figures for the prominent leagues (if a team’s not listed, either they haven’t had a home game yet or I have no figures for them).

THE MLS G Total Avg.
Seattle Sounders FC 7 253,864 36,266
Los Angeles Galaxy 6 136,938 22,823
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 7 140,923 20,132
Toronto FC 8 157,020 19,628
Portland Timbers 6 111,762 18,627
Philadelphia Union 6 108,596 18,099
Houston Dynamo 7 122,414 17,488
New York Red Bulls 6 104,036 17,339
Chivas USA 5 85,592 17,118
DC United 6 98,063 16,344
Real Salt Lake 5 81,360 16,272
Colorado Rapids 6 83,007 13,835
FC Dallas 7 96,099 13,728
Chicago Fire 5 66,439 13,288
New England Revolution 7 87,146 12,449
Columbus Crew 6 60,427 10,071
San Jose Earthquakes 6 59,132 9,855
TMLS TOTAL 106 1,852,818 17,479
 
NASL G Total Avg.
Montreal Impact 2 23,967 11,984
Ft. Lauderdale Strikers 3 15,599 5,200
FC Tampa Bay 6 18,538 3,090
Atlanta Silverbacks 5 15,128 3,026
Puerto Rico Islanders 2 5,374 2,687
FC Edmonton 2 4,891 2,446
Carolina RailHawks 6 13,038 2,173
NSC Minnesota Stars 5 7,115 1,423
NASL TOTAL 31 103,650 3,344
 
USL-PRO G Total Avg.
Orlando City 4 25,605 6,401
Rochester Rhinos 4 17,185 4,296
Charleston Battery 5 17,666 3,533
Wilmington Hammerheads 4 13,919 3,480
Antigua Barracuda FC 3 9,200 3,067
Richmond Kickers 6 11,468 1,911
FC New York 2 3,041 1,521
Harrisburg City Islanders 3 3,738 1,246
Charlotte Eagles 4 3,831 958
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 5 4,779 956
Dayton Dutch Lions 4 2,719 680
Los Angeles Blues 2 1,319 660
River Plate Puerto Rico 2 442 221
Puerto Rico United 2 210 105
USL PRO TOTALS 50 115,122 2,302
 
WPS G Total Avg.
Boston Breakers 3 13,075 4,358
Atlanta Beat 4 16,582 4,146
Western New York Flash 4 13,316 3,329
Philadelphia Independence 2 5,335 2,668
Sky Blue FC 3 7,769 2,590
magicJack 4 4,048 1,012
WPS TOTAL 20 60,125 3,006
 
PDL G Total Avg.
Fresno Fuego 2 11,965 5,983
Des Moines Menace 2 6,464 3,232
Carolina Dynamo 2 4,998 2,499
West Texas United Sockers 3 5,756 1,919
Ventura County Fusion 4 4,662 1,166
Portland Timbers U23 3 3,285 1,095
Victoria Highlanders 1 1,027 1,027
FC Jax Destroyers 2 1,967 984
Laredo Heat 3 2,822 941
Michigan Bucks 2 1,804 902
Mississippi Brilla 2 1,447 724
Real Maryland Monarchs 1 721 721
Chivas El Paso Patriots 3 1,970 657
St. Louis Lions 2 1,212 606
RGV Grandes FC 3 1,800 600
Jersey Express 2 1,125 563
BYU Cougars 2 1,080 540
Nashville Metros 2 1,050 525
Cincinnati Kings 1 506 506
Kitsap Pumas 3 1,375 458
WSA Winnipeg 2 850 425
New Hampshire Phantoms 2 800 400
River City Rovers 2 725 363
Long Island Rough Riders 3 1,079 360
MPS Portland Phoenix 2 717 359
Ocean City Nor’easters 1 357 357
Virginia Beach Piranhas 2 688 344
Central Florida Kraze 3 995 332
Reading United AC 2 655 328
Indiana Invaders 2 625 313
Los Angeles Legends 3 900 300
Ogden Outlaws 2 552 276
Vermont Voltage 2 550 275
Tacoma Tide 2 522 261
North Sound SeaWolves 1 250 250
Fredericksburg Hotspur 3 664 221
Real Colorado Foxes 2 420 210
Toronto Lynx 2 400 200
Akron Summit Assault 2 393 197
IMG Bradenton Academics 2 375 188
Springfield Demize 2 372 186
Vancouver Whitecaps Residency 2 327 164
West Virginia Chaos 3 423 141
Chicago Fire 2 259 130
Abbotsford Mariners 1 118 118
Southern California Seahorses 1 117 117
Orange County Blue Star 3 303 101
Bermuda Hogges 2 200 100
LA Blues 23 2 190 95
New Jersey Rangers 2 143 72
Fort Lauderdale Schulz Academy 4 255 64
Westchester Flames 2 120 60
Washington Crossfire 2 118 59
PDL TOTAL 115 72,498 630
 
W-LEAGUE G Total Avg.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 2,470 1,235
Atlanta Silverbacks 1 612 612
Long Island Rough Riders 1 496 496
Charlotte Lady Eagles 1 470 470
Virginia Beach Piranhas 2 747 374
Fredericksburg Impact 1 346 346
Victoria Highlanders 3 895 298
LA Strikers 2 575 288
Colorado Rush 1 235 235
Rochester Ravens 1 200 200
Colorado Force 1 128 128
Pali Blues 3 337 112
London Gryphons 1 107 107
New Jersey Rangers 1 89 89
Toronto Lady Lynx 2 150 75
W-LEAGUE TOTAL 23 7,857 342

Written by admin

May 31st, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Taking Attendance, 5/2/2011

with 20 comments

Thanks to those of you who pointed out some typos and transpositions in last week’s tables. Here’s the latest offering, through games of yesterday:

THE MLS G Total Avg. Median High Low
Seattle 4 145,147 36,287 36,255 36,433 36,204
Los Angeles 3 75,717 25,239 24,998 27,000 23,719
DC United 3 62,806 20,935 18,132 26,622 18,052
Vancouver 5 104,315 20,863 20,809 22,592 19,396
Toronto 5 97,965 19,593 20,086 22,453 16,313
Portland 3 55,881 18,627 18,627 18,627 18,627
Salt Lake 2 36,020 18,010 18,010 20,507 15,513
Philadelphia 4 71,046 17,762 18,435 19,027 15,149
New York 4 69,590 17,398 17,472 20,982 13,664
Houston 4 67,185 16,796 17,281 20,577 12,047
Dallas 4 65,295 16,324 16,203 21,867 11,022
Chivas USA 4 58,592 14,648 13,722 18,122 13,027
Chicago 3 42,833 14,278 12,473 18,203 12,157
Colorado 4 52,970 13,243 12,987 17,139 9,857
Columbus 4 43,848 10,962 10,802 14,549 7,695
San Jose 4 40,254 10,064 10,401 10,525 8,928
New England 4 39,412 9,853 9,692 12,914 7,114
Kansas City 0 0 0 0 0 0
MLS TOTAL 64 1,128,876 17,639 18,127 36,433 7,114
 
NASL G Total Avg. Median High Low
Montreal 1 12,060 12,060 12,060 12,060 12,060
Ft. Lauderdale 2 10,844 5,422 5,422 6,402 4,442
Tampa Bay 3 10,095 3,365 3,021 4,161 2,913
Atlanta 3 9,931 3,310 3,227 3,543 3,161
Puerto Rico 2 5,374 2,687 2,687 2,692 2,682
Edmonton 1 2,631 2,631 2,631 2,631 2,631
Carolina 3 4,416 1,472 1,219 2,016 1,181
Minnesota 1 1,431 1,431 1,431 1,431 1,431
NASL TOTAL 16 56,782 3,549 2,967 12,060 1,181
 
USL-Pro G Total Avg. Median High Low
Orlando 2 15,212 7,606 7,606 7,933 7,279
Antigua *1 6,000 6,000 6,000 6,000 6,000
Charleston 2 8,162 4,081 4,081 4,083 4,079
Wilmington 2 4,908 2,454 2,454 2,984 1,924
New York 1 2,011 2,011 2,011 2,011 2,011
Richmond 4 6,917 1,729 1,742 2,049 1,385
Pittsburgh 1 1,004 1,004 1,004 1,004 1,004
Charlotte 3 2,868 956 938 1,076 854
Dayton 3 2,269 756 625 1,044 600
Los Angeles 1 696 696 696 696 696
River Plate PR 3 570 190 128 315 127
Puerto Rico Utd *2 210 105 105 105 105
Sevilla FC PR #0 0 0 0 0 0
Harrisburg 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rochester 0 0 0 0 0 0
USL PRO TOTALS 25 50,827 2,033 1,076 7,933 105
*Missing two games
#Missing one game
 
WPS G Total Avg. Median High Low
Atlanta 3 10,457 3,486 3,380 4,002 3,075
Boston 2 6,947 3,474 3,474 4,158 2,789
Sky Blue FC 1 2,910 2,910 2,910 2,910 2,910
Western NY 1 2,164 2,164 2,164 2,164 2,164
magicJack 2 2,232 1,116 1,116 1,224 1,008
Philadelphia 0 0 0 0 0 0
WPS TOTAL 9 24,710 2,746 2,910 4,158 1,008

NOTES:

  • Now every team in the NASL has had at least one home game. The real surprise is Ft. Lauderdale, where, if they can keep up the type of boost their rebranding has apparently played a part in, they might be the flagship franchise. The others are about what you’d expect. Montreal is going to lead the league. I don’t know why people are crowing about Atlanta drawing at least 3k to their first three games – that’s better than Atlanta got before their hiatus, but it’s still below the historical average for Division II (3,434 from 1994-2010). And the Silverbacks are being outdrawn by the WPS team that plays 27 miles away. Edmonton drew 2,631 to their home league opener at 3,500-seat Foote Field, but their 5-0 defeat won’t help them sell tickets going forward. And Tampa Bay’s average attendance is off 41 percent from a year ago when they were playing on the other side of the Bay. Which is odd, because I was assured they’d be huge in St. Petersburg and sell out every game.
  • Speaking of the NASL, now that every team has had a home game, we can look at something I’m trying out: projecting the league attendance based on the number of remaining home games for each club and their projected totals. Basically, it asks the question, “if every team in the league keeps its current average for the remainder of its home games, what would the league attendance be?” As different teams have different numbers of games left at any given point in the season, it’s a way to look at where we are and how outlier teams like Montreal can impact the sample. The NASL projects out to a total of 397,474, an average of 3,312. Which would be the lowest for a DII league since 2002. I’ll keep an eye on this as the season goes along and project for the other leagues once everybody has a home game.
  • Despite what you might have heard somewhere, D3 numbers aren’t particularly harder to come by this year than in previous years. The only missing games are from the Caribbean teams, which comes as no surprise to anyone who understands that, infrastructurally, those teams are going to be behind the times. Charleston continues to draw well (4,079 this weekend), showing there are places where the level of play is less important than just having an established team. FC New York, which many (including me) doubted would ever play a game, announced 2,011 (could have been a deliberately made-up number) for its home opener. Wilmington drew 2,984 for its second home game. And Los Angeles drew 696 for its home debut. Obviously, that’s a tough market.
  • WPS had a rough weekend, with the new Western New York Flash drawing just 2,164 for its home inaugural in Rochester. It’s time for us now to admit that Marta, as great as she is, does not resonate. She does not sell tickets. It’s not happening. And magicJack drew just 1,008 (The Sun-Sentinel’s Jeff Rusnak said the actual crowd was about half that, right after he was denied the opportunity to interview players and coaches). More on magicJack later, but that’s not a good sign. At all.
  • MLS passed the one million mark in attendance for the season as of the Columbus game Saturday (which drew just 11,298 to Crew Stadium – Massive Club, right?) and is averaging 17,639. Final numbers for April show an average of 16,858 – down quite a bit from March’s 19,225. Still, the league is going to draw over four million when all is said and done.
  • Dallas announced a season-high 21,867 for its rain-interrupted match against the Galaxy last night. It’s the Hoops’ second announced crowd over 20k for the season, and in neither case did they have anything like 20k in the building.
  • And here’s an interesting note from the PDL, which began its season with two games this past weekend (not enough to do a chart on): the Fresno Fuego, which has been near the top of the PDL attendance standings in recent years, will charge no admission price for its tickets this season. A sponsor is picking up the cost, meaning the club is getting something out of the deal. You used to see this done on an occasional basis throughout a minor-league baseball season, but I’ve never heard of a team doing it for an entire season (though it’s only eight games). The Fuego announced a crowd of 7,853 for a 0-0 draw against LA Blues 23. Overall, I’m not a fan of this strategy, because sponsors come and go. People who care about your team should care enough to pay to watch it play. I think they’re conditioning their market to pay nothing for their tickets. We’ll see how it plays out.

Written by admin

May 2nd, 2011 at 9:57 am

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Taking Attendance: 4/25/2011

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Here’s the first full rundown of attendance figures for the various levels for 2011. Not every team has had a home game yet, so there are some zeros and there are a few games for which attendance figures aren’t available (yet).

THE MLS G Total Average Median High Low
Seattle 3 108,870 36,290 36,223 36,443 36,204
Los Angeles 3 75,717 25,239 24,998 27,000 23,719
DC United 3 62,806 20,935 18,132 26,622 18,052
Vancouver 5 104,315 20,863 20,809 22,592 19,396
Toronto 5 97,965 19,593 20,086 22,453 16,313
Portland 2 37,254 18,627 18,627 18,627 18,627
Salt Lake 2 36,020 18,010 18,010 20,507 15,513
Philadelphia 3 52,767 17,589 18,591 19,027 15,149
New York 3 48,954 16,318 14,308 20,982 13,664
Houston 3 46,608 15,536 15,176 19,385 12,047
Chivas USA 3 44,534 14,845 13,385 18,122 13,027
Dallas 3 43,428 14,476 12,261 20,145 11,022
Chicago 3 42,833 14,278 12,473 18,203 12,157
Colorado 3 41,181 13,727 14,185 17,139 9,857
Columbus 3 32,550 10,850 10,306 14,549 7,695
San Jose 4 40,254 10,064 10,401 10,525 8,928
New England 4 39,412 9,853 9,692 12,914 7,114
Kansas City 0 0 0 0 0 0
MLS TOTAL 55 955,468 17,372 18,052 36,443 7,114
 
NASL G Total Average Median High Low
Montreal 1 12,060 12,060 12,060 12,060 12,060
Ft. Lauderdale 2 10,844 5,422 5,422 6,402 4,442
Tampa Bay 2 7,074 3,537 3,537 4,161 2,913
Atlanta 3 9,931 3,310 3,227 3,543 3,161
Carolina 3 4,416 1,472 1,219 2,016 1,181
FC Edmonton 0 0 0 0 0 0
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 0
Puerto Rico 0 0 0 0 0 0
NASL TOTAL 11 44,325 4,030 3,227 12,060 1,181
 
USL-Pro G Total Average Median High Low
Orlando 2 15,212 7,606 7,606 7,933 7,279
Antigua #1 6,000 6,000 6,000 6,000 6,000
Charleston 1 4,083 4,083 4,083 4,083 4,083
Wilmington 1 1,924 1,924 1,924 1,924 1,924
Richmond 4 6,917 1,729 1,742 2,049 1,385
Pittsburgh 1 1,004 1,004 1,004 1,004 1,004
Charlotte 2 1,930 965 965 1,076 854
Dayton 2 1,669 835 835 1,044 625
Sevilla PR &1 315 315 315 315 315
River Plate PR 1 128 128 128 128 128
Puerto Rico United 2 210 105 105 105 105
Harrisburg 0 0 0 0 0 0
Los Angeles 0 0 0 0 0 0
New York 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rochester 0 0 0 0 0 0
USL PRO TOTALS 18 39,392 2,188 1,231 7,933 105
#Missing two games
&Missing one game
 
WPS G Total Average Median High Low
Boston 1 4,158 4,158 4,158 4,158 4,158
Atlanta *2 7,382 3,691 3,691 4,002 3,380
Sky Blue FC 1 2,910 2,910 2,910 2,910 2,910
magicJack 1 1,224 1,224 1,224 1,224 1,224
Philadelphia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Western NY 0 0 0 0 0 0
WPS TOTAL 5 15,674 3,135 3,380 4,158 1,224
*Missing one game

NOTES:

  • MLS has four teams averaging more than 20,000 a game and Toronto is just under that. It seems likely Toronto will finish above 20k (they historically do) but it seems unlikely that DC United will, so four is probably about what can be expected.
  • WPS’ Atlanta Beat, playing on the same weekend as their NASL counterparts, outdrew the Silverbacks each of the first two weeks. Yesterday’s figure for the Beat is unavailable, but probably didn’t beat the ‘Backs’ announced 3,227.
  • Montreal set a new NASL record with an announced crowd of 12,060 (tix distributed, I’m guessing) for its home opener against Tampa Bay. It was the earliest home opener in the Impact’s 19-year history. They’ll absolutely lead the league in attendance. The three teams that have yet to have home matches aren’t likely to help much (Edmonton, Minnesota and Puerto Rico).
  • Until someone changes it, Antigua Barracuda FC’s home opener crowd will be listed as 6,000. for consistency’s sake, I go with what’s on the USL website unless there’s compelling evidence to the contrary. The local newspaper said “about 3,500,” and someone who I know who was there said “about 4,500.” The Sticky Wicket Stadium (great name) supposedly seats 5,000 in the main stand. BFC hasn’t announced an attendance figure for its last two games yet.
  • The former Washington Freedom, who moved to Boca Raton and are now called “magicJack,” drew an all-time WPS/WUSA low of 1,224 for their home opener. Supposedly there were only 500 available seats in the “grandstand” at Florida Atlantic University because they took the rest of the bleachers across campus to the FAU spring football game.
  • Western New York has their home opener in Rochester this Sunday. And magicJack will be back at it again, hosting Philadelphia. I’m not optimistic.
  • The PDL season starts this weekend, with Fresno hosting the new LA Blues 23 on Friday in the first match. The W-League doesn’t start until May 14.

Written by admin

April 25th, 2011 at 9:25 am

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The Weekend That Was

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Just so people don’t keep commenting in the post from two weeks ago, here are this weekend’s soccer scores and crowds for reflection and dissection:

MLS
Friday
Seattle 1, COLORADO 0 (14,185)
Saturday
Chivas USA 2, SAN JOSE 1 (10,525)
Columbus 1, TORONTO 1 (20,145)
Dallas 2, VANCOUVER 1 (21,000)
NEW ENGLAND 3, Kansas City 2 (11,414)
Houston 1, CHICAGO 1 (12,473)
LOS ANGELES 3, Portland 0 (23,719)

NASL
Saturday
Tampa Bay 0, MONTREAL 0 (12,060)
Fort Lauderdale 2, ATLANTA 1 (3,227)

USL-Pro
Thursday
Sevilla Puerto Rico 1, ANTIGUA 0
Friday
Puerto Rico United 2, ORLANDO 2 (7,279)

Saturday
RICHMOND 2, Charleston 1 (1,833)
New York 0, CHARLOTTE 0 (1,076)
PITTSBURGH 1, Harrisburg 0 (1,004)
Rochester 3, DAYTON 2 (625)
Los Angeles 1, RIVER PLATE PUERTO RICO 1 (128)
ANTIGUA 3, Sevilla Puerto Rico 2

WPS
Saturday
MAGICJACK 1, Boston 0 (1,224)

Sunday
Western New York 2, ATLANTA 2

Written by admin

April 24th, 2011 at 1:23 pm

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Okay, WPS Is….

with 28 comments

TOAST

I’m sorry, there’s just no way to spin it anymore. With the apparent folding of the Washington Freedom and FC Gold Pride (the latter only the league champions, with The World’s Best PlayerTM), Women’s Professional Soccer is down to just six teams, none west of Chicago.

They can say they’ll play with six teams in 2011, and they very well might. But they’re dead women walking and I don’t see a reprieve coming.

When it comes to Washington – a WUSA original that kept playing through the interim years and into WPS – my man Beau Dure asks, “Why now?” I ask, “Why not now?” Why does anything happen when it happens? If John Hendricks has had enough, he’s had enough. If someone decides that their money is only going to be lit on fire long-term, why should they waste any more time after reaching that conclusion? So that other people can have a hobby?

Fake Sigi makes a good point in that if they’re going to require you to put the entire year’s operating expenses in escrow (which Beau refers to as “one escrow payment” – well, yeah, Beau, but it’s a pretty frigging big one) you might very well say, “Well, you know what? I don’t have it on me right now. You can’t get blood from a turnip, goodbye.”

This goes back to the exact same thing I said about WUSA ten years ago: there is a market for this product. Unfortunately, it’s either not as big a market as some would like or expect or it’s too expensive to reach that market in a meaningful way.

WUSA went big: big stars, big salaries, big budgets. “Look at us, we’re big!” they shouted. WPS learned from that: smaller salaries, smaller budgets, fewer big names. “Please look @us,” they tweeted.

Neither strategy worked. Not because of sexism or anything like that, but because the market decided it isn’t interested in ponying up enough in ticket dollars, television eyeballs and merchandise sales – in short, investing in caring – to make a professional women’s soccer league viable at this point in time. Maybe at any point in time, but definitely not at this one.

Should there be professional women’s soccer? I think there should be as much or as little of anything as the free market decides. Should .260-hitting shortstops make $5 million a year? Hell, I don’t know. That’s the going rate; who am I to decide? But it seems as if we’ve tried it and it ain’t happening.

Written by admin

November 1st, 2010 at 11:21 am

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Final WPS Attendance Numbers

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The regular season is over, and the second year of Women’s Professional Soccer saw a 23% drop in overall average league attendance. Only the Boston Breakers were able to improve on their average from year one, going from 4,183 per game to a league-leading 4,490. The league average went from 4,684 to 3,588, a drop of more than a thousand per game.

TEAM G Total Avg. Median 2009 Change
Boston 12 53,878 4,490 4,560 4,183 +7.3%
Chicago 12 48,296 4,025 3,955 4,673 -13.9%
Washington 12 45,904 3,825 3,645 4,817 -20.6%
Atlanta 12 44,284 3,690 3,291 0 N/A
Sky Blue FC 11 36,521 3,320 3,412 3,375 -1.6%
FC Gold Pride 13 40,117 3,086 3,153 3,139 -1.7%
Saint Louis 4 12,109 3,027 3,204 3,793 -20.2%
Philadelphia 13 38,190 2,938 2,585 0 N/A
WPS TOTAL 89 319,299 3,588 3,356 4,684 -23.4%

Losing Los Angeles obviously didn’t help, but The Stadium That Will Change Women’s SoccerTM in Atlanta couldn’t overcome a bad team. Saint Louis folded while their numbers were down 20% in a small sample, while Washington also saw a 21% drop and Chicago fell 14%. Sky Blue FC and FC Gold Pride (with far and away the league’s best team and the world’s best player) were only down slightly.

Other tidbits:

  • League-wide, attendance was basically stable from month-to-month, peaking in May for the second straight year.
  • For the second year in a row, we saw a dropoff from the first half of the schedule to the second half, but it was much smaller in 2010. In 2009, the difference between the first 35 games and the last 35 games was about 1,300 per game. This year, the difference between the first 45 games and the last 44 (there were only 89 games because of the St. Louis affair) was just over 300 per game.
  • World Cup BumpTM? Nope. not here. WPS games prior to the World Cup averaged 4,010. During the World Cup, 3,219. Aftewards, 3,412.
  • In two years, the league has drawn an announced 647,177 to 159 regular-season games, for an average of 4,070. In its first two years, WUSA averaged 7,536 (obviously while burning through a lot more money). WUSA’s drop from year one to year two was only 14%, but they weren’t battling the worst recession in memory.
  • Philadelphia’s going to host the first playoff game, this Sunday. That should be a treat. The Independence had only drawn over 3,000 once since their opener before getting 4,011 for their home finale two weeks ago. The winner of the Philadelphia-Washington game goes to Boston, where they draw well, but it’s on a Thursday night and at a smaller facility. FC Gold Pride will host the final and they will have had a few weeks to sell it. If they can’t, that doesn’t bode well. Last year’s playoffs (with a 7,218 crowd for the final in LA) averaged 5,500. They’re going to struggle to get there this year, it looks like.
  • Though they’re gone, the LA Sol still holds the title of best overall attendance for the two years at 6,298 for their only season. Washington is next at 4,699 with Philadelphia’s 2,938 bringing up the rear. In fact, Philly’s average is lower than any WUSA team averaged over its three-year run.

EDIT: I missed this, but Commissioner Tonya Antonucci is stepping down (Steve Goff broke the story), meaning there aren’t many folks left who started this rebirth of the pro women’s game. And while apparently a western New York team (the W-League’s Buffalo Flash entry) may join the league next year, unless someone convinces the investors there’s a future for this, I’m not sure WPS survives. Hope Solo may be right when she says she’s done playing in (this) league, but it might or might not be her choice.

Written by admin

September 13th, 2010 at 8:53 am

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Taking Attendance, 9/8/2010

with 4 comments

We’re going to focus on the leagues that are still playing this time around (if you are keen on them, the final numbers for the W-League and PDL are here) and give you a little extra data that I keep but don’t normally put into these posts because, quite frankly, it screws up the formatting.

MLS G Total Average Median High Low
Seattle 12 434,087 36,174 36,183 36,386 35,924
Toronto 12 248,252 20,688 20,860 22,108 18,394
Los Angeles 10 202,983 20,298 20,228 27,000 15,453
Philadelphia 10 200,294 20,029 17,875 34,870 16,128
New York 11 196,108 17,828 17,900 25,000 11,462
Salt Lake 12 203,425 16,952 17,313 19,970 12,659
Houston 12 202,741 16,895 15,558 24,750 13,231
Chicago 10 160,438 16,044 14,357 21,868 11,312
Columbus 12 172,611 14,384 14,350 18,139 10,197
DC United 12 171,257 14,271 13,307 20,664 10,038
Chivas USA 10 140,930 14,093 14,006 18,653 12,517
Colorado 11 140,243 12,749 11,641 18,363 9,882
New England 12 144,841 12,070 12,262 20,155 5,990
Dallas 11 118,922 10,811 10,323 15,993 8,016
Kansas City 11 111,202 10,109 10,385 10,385 8,155
San Jose 10 96,376 9,638 9,963 10,799 8,033
MLS TOTAL 178 2,944,710 16,543 14,434 36,386 5,990
 
WPS G Total Average Median High Low
Boston 12 53,878 4,490 4,560 6,108 3,052
Chicago 12 48,296 4,025 3,955 6,089 2,173
Washington 11 42,359 3,851 3,744 8,261 2,118
Atlanta 12 44,284 3,690 3,291 7,248 2,267
Sky Blue FC 10 32,711 3,271 3,387 4,440 2,491
Saint Louis 4 12,109 3,027 3,204 3,356 2,346
FC Gold Pride 12 36,114 3,010 3,078 3,757 2,431
Philadelphia 13 38,190 2,938 2,585 6,028 2,053
WPS TOTAL 86 307,941 3,581 3,334 8,261 2,053
 
USSFD2 G Total Average Median High Low
Montreal 13 160,310 12,332 12,355 13,034 10,864
Portland 15 160,899 10,727 9,017 15,418 5,808
Rochester 13 81,974 6,306 6,978 9,157 1,447
Vancouver 13 66,514 5,116 5,177 5,387 4,815
Tampa Bay 12 48,944 4,079 3,884 8,082 1,825
Austin 14 50,107 3,579 3,620 6,051 2,143
St. Louis 12 32,841 2,737 2,358 5,695 2,037
Puerto Rico 12 27,428 2,286 2,110 5,077 1,069
Carolina 12 25,900 2,158 2,198 2,821 1,426
Minnesota 13 18,067 1,390 1,429 2,310 627
Miami 11 14,151 1,286 1,148 1,855 1,004
Baltimore 12 12,509 1,042 989 2,348 507
USSF2 TOTAL 152 699,644 4,603 3,104 15,418 507
 
USL-2 G Total Average Median High Low
Charleston 10 36,412 3,641 3,469 4,735 2,787
Richmond 10 20,440 2,044 1,910 3,044 1,279
Harrisburg 10 16,659 1,666 1,618 2,389 1,373
Pittsburgh 10 9,409 941 887 1,657 651
Charlotte 10 9,107 911 880 1,262 590
Maryland 7 4,259 608 560 1,100 206
USL-2 TOTAL 57 96,286 1,689 1,385 4,735 206

Notes:

  • The Portland Timbers are only the third D2 franchise to average over 10k for a season (Montreal and Rochester are the others) thanks to a late surge that saw them pack PGE Park three times in the last month. Those guys should be in TMLS!
  • In WPS, everybody but Sky Blue FC, FC Gold Pride and the Washington Freedom have finished their home schedules, so don’t expect a big bump on the last weekend. FCGP simply can’t draw (I’ve said it before, having Marta in the East Bay is like Pavarotti at a dinner theater in Jupiter, Florida) so an 11:30 am start for the WPS final in a couple of weeks should be fun.
  • Stadium renderings usually aren’t indicative of how a stadium finally turns out, but these first looks at the proposed new Earthquakes stadium are pretty nice. They’d better get it sorted, because continuing to play at Buck Shaw is just a feeding tube at this point.
  • I’m missing three game attendances for Real Maryland in USL-2, but only my OCD-like sense of completeness compels me to hope I’ll get them. There may not be anybody there to ask before too long.
  • Finally, there are 12 teams in USSFD2. Montreal is off to TMLS in 2011, with Portland and Vancouver moving up next year. That’ll leave Rochester as the flagship franchise again, but it’s the bottom of the attendance ladder that’s really troubling. St. Louis has supposedly found a new investor, but Carolina and Minnesota are still looking and Baltimore is broke. Miami can re-brand as the Strikers all they want, they still have Traffic running them. And Puerto Rico has reportedly jumped ship from What’s Left of USL to the NASL. I can’t for the life of me see how the NASL gets USSF sanctioning. Or, at this point, how anybody does.

Written by admin

September 8th, 2010 at 4:33 am

WPS Attendance Down 23%

with 4 comments

Women’s Professional Soccer‘s second season is building to a….conclusion, and its sophomore year has been an interesting one. On the field, FC Gold Pride (with The World’s Best PlayerTM) has already clinched the regular-season championship and will host the final on September 26, Marta’s 15 goals lead the league, two expansion teams joined the fold and one of them opened a fabulous new stadium.

But after 20 weeks and 77 games, league attendance is down about 23 percent from 2009, with every team that returned from 2009 showing average attendance decreases ranging from 4% to 32%. This table ranks the teams by the difference in average from last year to this year.

TEAM G Total Average 09 Avg Diff
Boston Breakers 12 53,878 4,490 4,665 -3.8%
Sky Blue FC 9 29,299 3,255 3,451 -5.7%
Chicago Red Stars 10 42,056 4,206 4,628 -9.1%
FC Gold Pride 11 33,667 3,061 3,667 -16.5%
Saint Louis Athletica 4 12,109 3,027 4,055 -25.4%
Washington Freedom 10 39,216 3,922 5,747 -31.8%
Atlanta Beat 9 32,976 3,664 0 0.0%
Phil.Independence 12 34,179 2,848 0 0.0%
WPS TOTAL 77 277,380 3,602 4,684 -23.1%


(WPS teams played 10 home games in 2009. Because of the longer schedule and the demise of Saint Louis early in the season, they’ll play 12 or 13 this year. The ’09 Average column is based either on the same number of home games as a year ago or 10 home games, whichever is less.)

WPS’ small number of teams (and, therefore, games in a given week) results in a small sample size, so weekly trends might not be that meaningful. But given that my man Rob Penner broached the issue, here’s how each week of the first two WPS seasons has gone from an average attendance standpoint:

(That spike in week 9 last year came from a doubleheader at RFK Stadium that saw a league-record crowd of 16,089.)

As Penner says, though, the trend at the end of last season was upward and they’re trending upward as 2010 approaches the playoffs. A drop of over 1,000 per game overall (based on a lot of factors – the loss of Los Angeles, two new organizations, bad economy, you name it) is not an encouraging sign, but I’ve heard WPS will announce a new expansion team very soon (maybe a return to LA?) and they’ve still got to be losing less money than WUSA did.

EDIT: Oh, yeah, the WPS expansion team might be the W-League’s Buffalo Flash moving up.

Written by admin

August 26th, 2010 at 9:41 am

Taking Attendance, 8/23/2010 (Updated)

with 19 comments

Here are the latest attendance figures from the various soccer leagues around these parts, through yesterday’s games:

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER G Total Average
Seattle Sounders FC 11 397,701 36,155
Toronto FC 11 227,205 20,655
Philadelphia Union 9 183,112 20,346
Los Angeles Galaxy 9 182,871 20,319
New York Red Bulls 10 174,249 17,425
Houston Dynamo 11 187,668 17,061
Real Salt Lake 11 184,310 16,755
Chicago Fire 9 139,370 15,486
DC United 11 159,182 14,471
Chivas USA 9 128,413 14,268
Columbus Crew 11 155,903 14,173
Colorado Rapids 9 118,420 13,158
New England Revolution 10 118,139 11,814
FC Dallas 10 108,889 10,889
Kansas City Wizards 11 111,202 10,109
San Jose Earthquakes 10 96,376 9,638
MLS TOTAL 162 2,673,010 16,500
 
WOMEN’S PROFESSIONAL SOCCER G Total Average
Boston Breakers 12 53,878 4,490
Chicago Red Stars 10 42,056 4,206
Washington Freedom 10 39,216 3,922
Atlanta Beat 9 32,976 3,664
Sky Blue FC 9 29,299 3,255
FC Gold Pride 11 33,667 3,061
Saint Louis Athletica 4 12,109 3,027
Philadelphia Independence 12 34,179 2,848
WPS TOTAL 77 277,380 3,602
 
USSF DIVISION II SOCCER LEAGUE G Total Average
Montreal Impact 12 147,276 12,273
Portland Timbers 12 115,078 9,590
Rochester Rhinos 13 81,974 6,306
Vancouver Whitecaps 11 55,938 5,085
FC Tampa Bay Rowdies 10 43,730 4,373
Austin Aztex 13 46,363 3,566
AC St. Louis 11 30,438 2,767
Puerto Rico Islanders 12 27,428 2,286
Carolina RailHawks 10 21,738 2,174
Minnesota NSC Stars 13 18,067 1,390
Miami FC Blues 11 14,151 1,286
Palace Baltimore 12 12,489 1,041
USSF2 TOTAL 140 614,670 4,391
 
UNITED SOCCER LEAGUES DIVISION II G Total Average
Charleston Battery 10 36,412 3,641
Richmond Kickers 10 20,440 2,044
Harrisburg City Islanders 10 17,109 1,711
Pittsburgh Riverhounds 10 9,409 941
Charlotte Eagles 10 9,107 911
Real Maryland Monarchs 7 4,259 608
USL-2 TOTAL 57 96,736 1,697
 
UNITED SOCCER LEAGUES W-LEAGUE G Total Average
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Women 5 7,565 1,513
New Jersey Wildcats 3 2,085 695
Atlanta Silverbacks 2 1,360 680
Seattle Sounders 5 3,098 620
Colorado Force 4 2,114 529
Charlotte Lady Eagles 4 2,053 513
Long Island Rough Riders 5 2,258 452
Hampton Roads Piranhas 5 2,037 407
Hudson Valley Quickstrike Lady Blues 3 1,097 366
Santa Clarita Blue Heat 3 1,083 361
Rochester Ravens 6 2,101 350
Ottawa Fury 6 1,985 331
Quebec City Amiral 6 1,933 322
Pali Blues 5 1,494 299
Northern Virginia Majestics 4 1,113 278
Laval Comets 6 1,594 266
North Jersey Valkyries 4 1,030 258
Colorado Rush 5 1,185 237
Buffalo Flash 5 1,149 230
Hamilton Avalanche 5 875 175
London Gryphons 3 482 161
Toronto Lady Lynx 5 800 160
Kalamazoo Outrage 5 755 151
New York Magic 4 492 123
Chicago Red Eleven 6 666 111
Tampa Bay Hellenic 3 323 108
NJ Rangers 5 472 94
Washington Freedom Futures 6 455 76
Cleveland Internationals 4 268 67
W-LEAGUE TOTAL 132 43,922 333
 
UNITED SOCCER LEAGUES PDL G Total Average
Des Moines Menace 8 28,413 3,552
West Texas United Sockers 8 20,011 2,501
Fresno Fuego 5 12,214 2,443
Carolina Dynamo 3 5,027 1,676
Victoria Highlanders FC 8 11,973 1,497
Dayton Dutch Lions 8 10,195 1,274
Forest City London 8 9,971 1,246
El Paso Patriots 7 7,485 1,069
New Orleans Jesters 4 4,029 1,007
Laredo Heat 8 7,908 989
Ventura County Fusion 8 6,987 873
BYU Cougars 8 6,862 858
Kitsap Pumas 4 3,301 825
Thunder Bay Chill 8 6,348 794
Los Angeles Legends 5 3,579 716
Cincinnati Kings 7 4,790 684
Mississippi Brilla 7 4,695 671
Western Mass Pioneers 8 5,352 669
Portland Timbers U23’s 8 4,925 616
Vermont Voltage 8 4,765 596
Michigan Bucks 7 4,064 581
Ogden Outlaws 3 1,636 545
Baton Rouge Capitals 1 540 540
Indiana Invaders 6 2,927 488
Hampton Roads Piranhas 7 3,085 441
Toronto Lynx 6 2,560 427
Long Island Rough Riders 7 2,964 423
Ottawa Fury 8 3,034 379
Ironbound Express 8 3,022 378
Central Florida Kraze 7 2,330 333
Ocean City Nor’easters 6 1,936 323
Rochester Thunder 5 1,609 322
St. Louis Lions 8 2,298 287
Reading United 8 2,222 278
Yakima Reds 4 1,020 255
Bermuda Hogges 6 1,524 254
Southern California Seahorses 7 1,634 233
Nashville Metros 7 1,506 215
Tacoma Tide 2 402 201
Rio Grande Valley Bravos 3 590 197
Springfield Demize 8 1,540 193
Albany BWP Highlanders 8 1,478 185
Dallas Fort Worth Tornados 4 716 179
MPS Portland Phoenix 7 1,226 175
Kalamazoo Outrage 8 1,320 165
Washington Crossfire 5 790 158
West Virginia Chaos 8 1,257 157
Atlanta Blackhawks 5 727 145
Hollywood United Hitmen 6 867 145
Abbotsford Mariners 8 1,155 144
Spokane Spiders 4 555 139
IMG Bradenton Academics 6 795 133
Kansas City Brass 6 783 131
Lancaster Rattlers 5 645 129
Vancouver Whitecaps Residency 8 1,029 129
Houston Leones 5 560 112
Brooklyn Knights 8 875 109
New Hampshire Phantoms 7 740 106
Ft. Lauderdale Schultz Academy 4 410 103
New Jersey Rangers FC 6 606 101
Central Jersey Spartans 6 600 100
Orange County Blue Star 8 740 93
Real Colorado Foxes 6 480 80
Westchester Flames 8 640 80
Cleveland Internationals 6 366 61
Chicago Fire 6 318 53
Northern Virginia Royals 0 0 0
PDL TOTAL 420 230,951 550


Quick notes:

  • MLS has four teams averaging over 20,000 per game. The three holdovers from last year have been joined by Philadelphia, but that’s artificial based on a couple of games held at Lincoln Financial Field. The Union’s PPL Park isn’t large enough for them to average 20k for an entire season.
  • On the flip side, USSF D2 has five teams averaging under 2,300 per game, three of them under 1,400. I can’t see how Baltimore, Minnesota and St. Louis return and I’m not optimistic about Puerto Rico.
  • MLS’ average for 45 games played after the World Cup (16,169) is slightly below its average for 93 games prior to the World Cup (16,472). In fact, that’s a trend seen at all levels. Every single league has a lower average attendance in games played since the World Cup than it did in games played before. Things in MLS usually pick back up in the fall, so that effect will be mitigated somewhat, and the second division schedule extends deeper into the fall than ever. We’ll see what the final numbers say, but what we have tends to give credence to the notion that the World Cup Bump isn’t as strong as some would like to think it is.
  • Charleston averaged 3,534 per game in 2009 in the USL First Division. Despite dropping down to USL-2 this year, the Battery averaged 3,641 (they’ll also host the championship game against Richmond this Saturday).
  • The Chicago Red Stars had their biggest crowd of the season Sunday (6,089 to see Marta and FC Gold Pride clinch the regular-season title and berth in the championship game). It was their second-largest crowd ever, trailing only the 7,959 for last year’s home finale against….Marta and the LA Sol.

Written by admin

August 23rd, 2010 at 8:12 am