2019 Attendance

Discussion in 'NWSL' started by cpthomas, Mar 31, 2019.

  1. McSkillz

    McSkillz Member+

    UCLA Bruins
    United States
    Nov 22, 2014
    Los Angeles
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Unfortunately I know the homer says otherwise but Chicago is not a good soccer city. It's gotten to the point where the organization behind the Chicago Fire is going through a very large rebranding of the franchise due to the dismal attendance records which includes moving the team back to Soldier Field with hopes of building a new soccer specific stadium in Chicago city.

    I suspect the successful fanbase/culture of newly downtown located clubs like LAFC and Atlanta United FC have something to do with the desire to have the team play in the city itself. The city provides more accessibility for fans to attend games and the club is treated as part of Chicago rather than some suburban team.

    Whether this works well or not will be left up to the Chicago Fire fans ultimately and hopefully new fans.

    As far as the NWSL goes, any city that has a problem with their MLS club will have attendance problems with their NWSL club as well. You want successful attendance for NWSL clubs? Go to where there's already a beautiful fan culture for their MLS clubs. That's why LAFC one of a few organizations that is very high on my list for organizing a successful NWSL side, similar to Portland Timbers/Thorns fanbase/culture.
     
  2. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    I'm still holding out judgement to see if LAFC (and, yes, even ATL) will keep their numbers up through the years. ORL jumped into NWSL just a year after making the jump to MLS, and the "shiny new team" feeling faded quickly for both squads (despite the fact that the "fan culture" was amazing during ORL's USL years).

    Not that I don't want LAFC in - they're still at the top of my expansion list - but I won't hold my breath that the MLS squad will sustain at where it currently is.
     
  3. holden

    holden Member+

    Dundee FC, Yeovil Town LFC, Girondins de Bordeaux
    Oct 20, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Club:
    Dundee FC
    Um... so what are these market characteristics that Portland, SLC, Austin, and the Triangle have that Orlando doesn't?

    Of course it is, I wasn't saying it wasn't. I was saying it seems there's more to these attendance numbers than just that unless there's something I haven't heard about Orlando's leadership and marketing that is lacking.

    Well, Orlando might have lost that "shiny new team" feeling (aka playing in a stadium that holds 60,000+), but their MLS team is still 5th in attendance (averaging 22,943 or 90% of capacity) and two of the teams ahead of them are ones with the shiny new team feeling (Atlanta and Cincinnati). For comparison, RSL is 12th (averaging 17,538 or 87% of capacity) and LAFC is 7th (22,137 or over 100% of capacity). So I think the MLS side is doing fine. So why has the NWSL team's average been dropping every year (even if you take out the outlier first ever Pride game)? One could point to performance, although Orlando City came in last place in the eastern conference last year, 2nd to last the year before, and 3rd to last the year before that and they are still drawing well. So is it all due to the marketing, or are WoSo fans more fickle depending on team performance than BroSo fans, or is it something else completely?
     
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  4. cpthomas

    cpthomas BigSoccer Supporter

    Portland Thorns
    United States
    Jan 10, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Spoken like a true homer.:p
     
  5. cpthomas

    cpthomas BigSoccer Supporter

    Portland Thorns
    United States
    Jan 10, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Maybe you know more about Orlando than I do. Does it have a progressive elitist edge?
     
  6. holden

    holden Member+

    Dundee FC, Yeovil Town LFC, Girondins de Bordeaux
    Oct 20, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Club:
    Dundee FC
    #56 holden, May 14, 2019
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
    Well, I certainly wouldn't describe SLC that way, so I didn't realize that is what you were trying to say.

    I know it isn't the end-all-be-all of progressiveness, but if you look at the last Presidential election by county, I think you'll see Orlando is generally more progressive than SLC, and even more than Raleigh: (and, of course Portland is the most)
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  7. cpthomas

    cpthomas BigSoccer Supporter

    Portland Thorns
    United States
    Jan 10, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Thanks, Holden, good info. I'll have to modify my attitude about Orlando.

    Salt Lake City is a special case, I think, and "progressive" may not have been the right word. I'm thinking along the lines of an identity as being different and supporting women's sports is one part of it. The first part of that fits Salt Lake City/Utah and I think part of it is a high emphasis on family which seems to include, when it comes to females, a high level of support for female athletics.

    Portland, on the other hand, has a kind of snobby pride in being "weird" -- thus accounting for Keep Portland Weird bumper stickers. That allows it to embrace a women's team like the Thorns in a way that reinforces its self-perception. "Look at us, we're special." It's done in a good humored way, but it's part of the culture -- and has been since the early NASL days when Portland adopted the proud moniker of Soccer City USA before even men's soccer was significant nationally. (This actually may partly account for why Portland has only the Trailblazers and Timbers as a major league men's sport team. There's actually a move going on by some in Portland to bring major league baseball, but there is push back from others who don't want another major league men's sport -- "that's not us.")

    I've been interested in Austin because it seems to exude something of a "we're different and we like it." I think I get a little of that from the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area, but I don't know enough about it to really know. And for Orlando, I guess I don't know at all, I just don't associate that kind of attitude with Florida, which simply may be ignorance on my part.
     
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  8. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    FWIW, I do believe that "Keep Austin Weird" was the original instance of a city embracing its weirdness, and Portland (and a few others - interestingly including Duffy's Louisville) copied that.
     
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  9. stubifier

    stubifier Member

    Real Salt Lake
    United States
    Jan 19, 2018
    Fans at Royals games (and RSL games, for that matter) are a really interesting blend of different social groupings and demographics. There are certainly a lot of families at the games, some very obviously Mormon, some definitely not. Even non-LDS families in Utah tend to have more kids than you'd expect, so the average age at any Royals game must be pretty low. But there are a significant number of childless young adults in attendance as well. Many in this latter group appear to be more "progressive," and I don't expect that even the conservative, middle-aged Mormon parents are surprised by this. The stadium is in a suburb, but it's still an easy drive or train ride away from Salt Lake City, home to a vibrant progressive culture that had already embraced RSL before the Royals came into existence (SLC itself, removed from the rest of the county, is probably just as progressive as Portland). In fact, at least a subset of this type of fan grew up in a Mormon household and played lots of soccer when they were little. And, if anything, girls' soccer in Utah is even more popular than boys', especially among the older kids and teenagers.

    As a stark demonstration of this strange blend of fans, at the Houston game last Saturday I sat three rows down from my old neighbor, who is currently an LDS bishop. He was seated next to six grandchildren, on the one side, and next to his openly lesbian daughter (who plays on my indoor soccer team) and her partner, on the other.

    I've no idea whether URFC can hold these numbers in the long run. I think kenntomasch is probably right about the importance of marketing, and that attendance would suffer significantly without the RSL "engine" helping to drive ticket sales. I also have no idea whether this apparently fertile mix of fans has an analogue in some other city (San Diego and Austin certainly sound like promising ideas, on the face of it). But it makes me really happy to see such different types of people embrace our new team.
     
  10. kolabear

    kolabear Member+

    Nov 10, 2006
    los angeles
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I usually use the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) to compare populations of various women's soccer markets. For Salt Lake City, this means a population of 1,087,873 (2010 census) - which is small, roughly half that of Portland and Orlando. I wondered whether to use, in this case, the Combined Statistical Area (CSA) which includes Provo/Orem - but am I assuming correctly that Provo/Orem is far enough away to keep all but a handful of fans from making the trek to the stadium for most matches?
     
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  11. stubifier

    stubifier Member

    Real Salt Lake
    United States
    Jan 19, 2018
    I think Provo and Orem are probably close enough that significant numbers of fans will make the trek. Rio Tinto Stadium is situated in the south end of the Salt Lake valley, right next to I-15, the major artery between Provo and Salt Lake. At the very least, you would want to include northern Utah County, parts of which are actually closer to the stadium than northern SLC. Davis County, too, might reasonably be included. Anything north of Bountiful, however, and south of Provo, would have to be excluded in a comparison.

    It would take some work to parse all of that. But I think a slightly better approximation of URFC's "market" than the SLC MSA is a combination of Salt Lake, Utah, and Davis counties, which gives 1,852,698. This number is too high, but it's closer to the real footprint. I'd never really thought about it, but Rio Tinto is in a nearly perfect location, in terms of accessibility for the two most populous counties in Utah.
     
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  12. wingman2468

    wingman2468 Member

    Austin FC
    United States
    May 25, 2018
    It is known.
     
  13. kolabear

    kolabear Member+

    Nov 10, 2006
    los angeles
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Thank you. I'm going to use this number.
    An amalgamation of one county each from three separate MSAs (Metropolitan Statistical Areas)! -
    Salt Lake County from Salt Lake City MSA
    Utah County from Provo-Orem MSA
    Davis County from Ogden-Clearfield MSA

    If anyone questions our tweaking of the MSA - tough!

    (For what it's worth, this estimate of the market population puts Salt Lake City in the same general territory as Portland and Orlando. And Kansas City where NWSL used to have a team).

    List of Metropolitan Statistical Areas on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_metropolitan_statistical_areas
     
  14. McSkillz

    McSkillz Member+

    UCLA Bruins
    United States
    Nov 22, 2014
    Los Angeles
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Interesting ideas about why certain areas in the United States tend to have better success and support for women's soccer. I'm wondering if anyone has ever done research on some scholarship relating to hotbeds of women's sports in the academic fields. It could be an interesting starting topic for a dissertation. I'm currently reading about popular culture theory that's more focused on the legitimization of rock n' roll during the 1960s with Beatlemania but it can be applied to thinking about the legitimization of the USWNT and women's soccer in general, especially around the World Cup every four years. Too bad I did my thesis already last year on something completely different hahah
     
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  15. SiberianThunderT

    Sep 21, 2008
    DC
    Club:
    Saint Louis Athletica
    Nat'l Team:
    Spain
    Following on my previous post, I'll point out two things from this week's EQZ Lowdown:

    1. Most teams have three home games to their credit so far, and only one of those six teams (Sky Blue) is far off their 2018 attendance average; NC is also slightly behind, but the other four are slightly or greatly ahead. The Spirit have two home games so far and, like Sky Blue, are far off their 2018 numbers, while the Regin have just one home game under their belt and are far above their 2018 average so far.

    2. The average attendance between last week's 4 games was under 5k despite the Royals drawing over 10k. Ouch.
     
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  16. Tapas&Fútbol

    Tapas&Fútbol Member

    Real Betis
    Spain
    Apr 11, 2019
    Seville (Spain)
    In my opinion you have hit the nail right on the head. There seem to be more factors than location, marketing, “fan culture”, leadership etc. What about adding quality of play into the equation?.
    Are Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Marta or Carli Lloyd better now than four years ago?.
    Are Morgan, Rapinoe, Lloyd or Naeher better than Wambach, Akers, Hamm or Solo?.
    Are american WoSo fans becoming much more demanding with the product on the field?.
    And finally, is (let’s say) John Smith from Houston willing to attend the Dash-Red Stars game after watching the Liverpool-Barça game on tv a few days earlier?.
     
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  17. cpthomas

    cpthomas BigSoccer Supporter

    Portland Thorns
    United States
    Jan 10, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    In terms of good potential NWSL locales, one of the things you might be looking for is cities where most people consider this a not relevant question.
     
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  18. McSkillz

    McSkillz Member+

    UCLA Bruins
    United States
    Nov 22, 2014
    Los Angeles
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I mean if you are going to ask about Euro snobs would John Smith from Houston who appears to like the highest level men's clubs even be interested in MLS since it's not at the same level as European football? The truth is, if John Smith doesn't enjoy anything less than Liverpool-Barça, we shouldn't be wasting time trying to get him to see a women's game anyways. JMO

    I guess there are some people out there that likes all different levels of football, myself included but that John Smith you alluded to that just enjoys the highest level isn't worth it and honestly, it's fine, women's soccer doesn't have to attract every single type of football fan anyways.
     
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  19. kolabear

    kolabear Member+

    Nov 10, 2006
    los angeles
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Since Jeff Kassouf(EqualizerSoccer) mentioned that LAFC is still a serious expansion possibility, I'll mention that they could be an exception to my general rule that NWSL should avoid expanding to mega-metropolises like NY or LA - just because of Mia Hamm. Would people turn out just to support Mia Hamm's team? I don't know but I seriously think it's possible. She is the one person who I can see making the key difference.

    On the other hand I can see many of those fans losing interest if they didn't become winners very quickly.

    And in Los Angeles we have a very recent example of a team losing its luster despite the front office presence of a beloved star. I'm talking about the Lakers and Magic Johnson.
     
  20. WoSoFan

    WoSoFan Member

    Dec 23, 2017
    My question with the LA market is the location of the stadium with respects to where they would be drawing from. What will the travel time be for the bulk of their proposed fan base, and how often, and when would they be willing to take in a game. Do they have other forms of transportation besides the car they would be willing to utilize that can be more efficient and quicker in getting to the downtown stadium.
     
  21. holden

    holden Member+

    Dundee FC, Yeovil Town LFC, Girondins de Bordeaux
    Oct 20, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Club:
    Dundee FC
    (This thread has really gone off topic, it should probably have some posts moved to the NWSL expansion thread...)

    I don't think fans are going to turn out just to see a team owned by Mia Hamm. That would be a terrible plan for long term success, IMHO.

    This I agree with. LA fans are very fickle. If the team is winning, fans will come out. If they are terrible, fans will find better things to do with their time.

    Banc of California stadium is located very centrally. Should be easy to draw fans from all over LA. And while the Expo line isn't super close, it's not too far either (10-15 min walk), so public transit is possible. It's a much better location than the soccer stadium at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
     
  22. kolabear

    kolabear Member+

    Nov 10, 2006
    los angeles
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It's about 3 or 4 long blocks from an Expo Line stop.
     
  23. kolabear

    kolabear Member+

    Nov 10, 2006
    los angeles
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I really don't know. But just the amount of news coverage the team will get because of Mia Hamm's involvement will be significant, coverage another women's team wouldn't receive that didn't have Hamm for an owner
     
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  24. McSkillz

    McSkillz Member+

    UCLA Bruins
    United States
    Nov 22, 2014
    Los Angeles
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I mean heck, they had a huge tifo of Mia Hamm for the LAFC match tonight honoring the legend so it's safe to say she's an important part of the fanbase here. We can be a fickle bunch but LAFC has generated a very lively supporters culture that might translate well for a sister club. I've talked to a lot of LAFC peeps and they would go to the NWSL games if there was a club here. Also considering a lot of our best players and top 10 woso universities are in California, I don't think we will have a problem generating a good team. But that's just me being a homer before the club actually exists.
     
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  25. holden

    holden Member+

    Dundee FC, Yeovil Town LFC, Girondins de Bordeaux
    Oct 20, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Club:
    Dundee FC
    #75 holden, May 17, 2019
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
    Oh, her involvement will definitely be good for publicity/awareness. But I don't think it will necessarily have any bearing on attendance.

    Due to the draft system, having local colleges has no impact on a team's ability to have a good team. More important is having a GM/Coach/Whoever makes the player personnel decisions that is actually capable at their job (e.g. someone like Charlie Naimo). I'm not so confident that someone with no experience building a roster (like Mia Hamm) will be successful on their first try. I think that would just result in another Houston or Orlando expansion season.
     
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