MLS Attendance Analysis after 100% Games Complete

Discussion in 'MLS: News & Analysis' started by Andy_B, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. Andy_B

    Andy_B Member+

    Feb 2, 1999
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    MLS Attendance Comparison

    Final MLS Average Attendance
    1996 17,406
    1997 14,619
    1998 14,312
    1999 14,282
    2000 13,756
    2001 14,962
    2002 15,821
    2003 14,898
    2004 15,549
    2005 15,108
    2006 15,504
    2007 16,770

    Final MLS Median Attendance
    1996 15,093
    1997 12,733
    1998 11,871
    1999 12,973
    2000 12,690
    2001 13,431
    2002 14,108
    2003 13,641
    2004 13,285
    2005 12,619
    2006 14,175
    2007 15,353

    % of games Under 10,000 after all games complete
    1996 21.9%
    1997 25.0%
    1998 26.6%
    1999 32.3%
    2000 34.4%
    2001 26.6%
    2002 17.1%
    2003 23.3%
    2004 24.7%
    2005 27.1%
    2006 18.8%
    2007 8.2%

    % of games Over 20,000 after all games complete
    1996 26.3%
    1997 16.3%
    1998 161%
    1999 15.1%
    2000 12.5%
    2001 17.7%
    2002 18.6%
    2003 18.0%
    2004 25.3%
    2005 17.7%
    2006 18.8%
    2007 29.7%

    I am willing to call this best best year ever. Who is with me?

    And MLSnet has now fixed the attendance stats. MLSnet's final average now matches mine for the first time in long time.

  2. paladius

    paladius Member

    Sep 27, 2003
    Frisco, Texas
    FC Dallas
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    If this doesn't get investors to line up to talk with The Don, nothing will!

  3. Kingston

    Kingston Member+

    Oct 6, 2005
    Thanks very much for all of your effort in doing these numbers.

    And the numbers look great!
  4. WC2010Champs!

    WC2010Champs! New Member

    Sep 4, 2004
    Charlotte, NC
    i also believe we had less double headers than last year
  5. kinsellagem

    kinsellagem Member

    Apr 27, 2004
    Interesting stats, good work!

    You get my vote for best season ever
  6. Sachin

    Sachin New Member

    Jan 14, 2000
    La Norte
    DC United
    Investors have been lining up to talk to the Don.

    But this is the best year ever, thanks to the Blanco Rule.
  7. tab5g

    tab5g Member+

    May 17, 2002
    the DP's (their attendance draws), a new team in Toronto, and some other things all helped this year's attendance for the league.

    will anyone be doing a "playoff attendance" tracker?
  8. Dignan

    Dignan Member+

    Nov 29, 1999
    FC Dallas
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    As a long time attendance watcher, I have to say that this season exceeded by optimistic expectations.

    Yes best season ever... attendance wise.

    Next year will be interesting. We should continue to see good things out of LA, Toronto, Chicago, Houston, and DC.

    Salt Lake gets the new stadium, but their attendance has been always been good.

    Dallas and Colorado should hold steady.

    Hopefully we will see some residula effects in New England and New Jersey.

    The big question marks in my opinion are Chivas with their poor year attendance wise, Columbus with another lackluster season under their belts and no apparent help in sight, and then SJ and KC playing in smaller stadiums with an unsettled future home situation.

    So attendance could go down abit, but I don't think by much. In the end we are looking good.
  9. joehooligan0303

    joehooligan0303 Member+

    Dec 16, 2001
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I definitely would call it the best year ever as far as attendance.

    I really feel confident that this year was one of the least padding attendance number years also. I am usually one of the ones on BS crying about the fake attendance numbers, but I personally only saw 2 or 3 games the whole year that looked like they announced padded numbers (I watch almost every game live or highlights). That is the biggest improvement that I have seen this year. When you know the capacity of the stadium it is very easy to eyeball it and get a very rough idea of how many are at the game.

    Not only do I think the teams didn't pad their numbers, but that means that people with tickets are actually going to the games, which hasn't always been true in past seasons.

    I am very optimistic after this season.
  10. VioletCrown

    VioletCrown Member+

    FC Dallas
    United States
    Aug 30, 2000
    Austin, Texas
    Austin Aztex
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  11. FireFanInPackerLand

    Dec 8, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Chicago Fire
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  12. Rooney20

    Rooney20 Member+

    Jan 8, 2007
    New York
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The most telling stat is % of games under 10k and % of games over 20k they both changed for the better
  13. NebraskaAddick

    Aug 26, 2005
    Omaha, NE
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'd like to also see a team-by-team breakdown of attendance.

    Chicago especially impressed me this year with their attendance ever since bringing Blanco on board. They have found a recipe for success in the turnstiles. Rather than brand yourselves as a second-rate version of a popular Mexican club, how about sign a real life Mexican star? That seems to work better.

    And even though Blanco won't be around for the long haul, as he's near the end of his career, the seeds of loyalty towards the Fire are being gradually sewn. That's one of the rules of making the sale, is first you have to get them in the seats before you can woo them over to your brand. They get excited about the game and the atmosphere and want to come back for more.

    I didn't get to see that Galaxy-Fire game yesterday, because I don't get Telefutura, but watching it on replays, boy, it sure got me excited about the state of MLS today.
  14. Lancaster FC

    Lancaster FC Member+

    Oct 2, 2007
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Best Season YET!!

    With Beckham around all next year (here's hoping to no injuries) we might see a continuation of high attendence for all those still waiting to see him. Plus we might see some more intelligent signings like Blanco (not like Denilson).

    With new stadiums and new teams coming i'm excited about our present not just our future!!

    Ps. Do we have numbers on total attendence? I know # of teams and # of games has slowly changed. We'll also need to think about this over the next couple of years as we add more teams.
  15. Matrim55

    Matrim55 Member+

    Aug 14, 2000
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Plenty of investors want in - as Lew Wolff said, MLS is a good investment because "the worst case scenario isn't that bad, and the best case scenario is an unknown."

    The key now is to get the politicians on board in a few select markets - paging Mayor Fenty, paging Mayor Fenty...
  16. lawrenceterp

    lawrenceterp Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2006
    Well done Andy. Thanks for doing this all year. Can't wait to see how we do in the playoffs and how we follow up next year.
  17. kebzach

    kebzach Member

    Dec 30, 2000
    Greenfield, WI
    Have you heard of this website called
  18. kebzach

    kebzach Member

    Dec 30, 2000
    Greenfield, WI
    Because all investors need to be concerned with is attendance. Of course.
  19. DoctorD

    DoctorD Member+

    Sep 29, 2002
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    MLS does not have a lot of data to support your contention. While I hope the Fire will see an upturn in attendance after Blanco leaves, Hernandez did not have a similar effect.
  20. cleazer

    cleazer Member+

    May 6, 2003
    Toledo, OH
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Great numbers! Thanks for tracking these all season long.

    Yes, this has been the best season ever for MLS attendance!
  21. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Ask, and you shall receive. Knock, and the door shall be opened to you.

    Ranked by percent change in average announced attendance from 2006 to 2007:


    A gain of 8.2% in leaguewide average announced attendance is the highest since the 8.8% jump from 2000 to 2001.

    Also, without getting into in-depth analysis, here's one indicator of the Beckham Effect:

    MLS TOTAL.....195..3,270,210..16,770

    That's a big effect. The league was doing well before that, but leveraging of tickets to Galaxy road games into season tickets and mini-plans seems to have had a bit of a Secondary Beckham Effect (a ripple effect).

    I do think that this was hugely positive year for the league, regardless of Beckham's influence. Toronto was a great addition. New England made great strides. The new stadium in Colorado helped them a bunch, Blanco helped Chicago a bunch (apparently - home and road). Houston's "drop" is probably more due to the lack of a game at Reliant and the inevitable novelty wearing off.

    DC has long been a stalwart MLS market in terms of attendance, but they did a really great job this year (look at their last three games: 25,174 - 25,404 - 23,149). You DC folks tell me - was that return business (forced or unforced) from the Beckham game? In any case, they've done very well.

    Here's what concerns me about the playoffs, now that I've seen the schedule: Chicago, though they've had playoff tickets "on sale" for a bit now, didn't actually announce until last night they were playing at home on Thursday. That's three days from now. They'll have to scramble to get folks there and hope for the best, I think. DC will have a little more time, but their home game is on Thursday as well. And one of the two conference title games will be on Thursday (this a consequence of the ESPN2 deal).

    I don't particularly expect KC or Chivas to draw particularly well for their home playoff games (Chivas was all set to have a Blanco return before John Thorrington found the net), nor do I think New York will do particularly well.

    One of the things of this playoff format that had really helped attendance was giving teams time to sell and decent dates (this format led to much better crowds than the old first-to-five or the best-of-three did). The Thursday night thing kind of hurts that a bit. Hopefully there's enough momentum to help out.

    Last year's pre-MLS Cup playoff average announced attendance: 14,455. There's your number to shoot for.
  22. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Oh, and Dallas-Houston second leg is on a Friday night? Ouch. Because nothing else happens in Texas on a Friday night.
  23. VioletCrown

    VioletCrown Member+

    FC Dallas
    United States
    Aug 30, 2000
    Austin, Texas
    Austin Aztex
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    (insert Friday Night Lights poster here)

  24. Len

    Len Member+

    Club: Dallas Tornado
    Jan 18, 1999
    Everywhere and Nowhere.....I'm the wind, baby.
    I agree here, especially the % of games under 10K. I know it's just an arbitrary number, but when a game draws only 7K, 8K, or even 9999, it just doesn't come across as major league.

    Oh, and great job all season, Andy.
  25. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Like this?


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