MLS attendance in 2009: Are we going to get hit like the NBA?

Discussion in 'MLS: General' started by yellowbismark, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. yellowbismark

    yellowbismark Member+

    Nov 7, 2000
    San Diego, CA
    Club:
    Club Tijuana
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Our season was mostly over when the markets crumbled last fall, so we have yet to see how the new sucky economy is going to affect attendance at MLS games. So far, I seen bits and pieces of news about unsold suites in Yankee Stadium and Cowboys Stadium.

    Currently there's a thread on N&A about Dallas' poor opening day sales. Is that a product of the economy, or just poor sales and marketing? (I would rather not see this discussion devolve into an argument about central vs suburban stadiums)

    Should we be expecting empty stadiums like we have been seeing in the NBA in places like Minneapolis, Memphis and Atlanta. Or are we going to stay consistent with previous seasons?

    Here's what I will guess.

    Seattle 27,000
    Los Angeles 21,000
    Toronto 20,000
    Salt Lake 17,000
    DC United 17,000
    Chicago 16,000
    Houston 15,000
    New York 14,000
    Columbus 14,000
    Chivas USA 12,000
    Colorado 12,000
    New England 12,000
    Dallas 11,000
    San Jose 10,000
    Kansas City 9,000

    I expect a minor dip in attendance generally across the board, with Seattle and Toronto showing strong. Salt Lake will have a slight bump. Los Angeles will take the biggest dive, because they are the most expensive tickets in the league (+ no Beckham and they kind of suck).
     
  2. mattmanp

    mattmanp Member

    Jul 2, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Club:
    Houston Dynamo
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    From what I have been hearing, MLS has been doing a solid job of adjusting to the market at least in Houston. By making some more affordable ticket packages most teams may be able to at least keep the same attendance as last year.
     
  3. Roehl Sybing

    Roehl Sybing Guest

    Which has but a small effect on the attendance numbers, unless each venue packs in suites by the thousands and I didn't know about it. MLS stadium owners sure want to get the suites sold, but there will be little anecdotal evidence about the turnstile count until the season actually gets underway.

    And there have always been groans about Dallas long before we started blaming the economy for everything.
     
  4. IowaClone

    IowaClone Member

    Jul 22, 2007
    Kc, MO
    Club:
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    i noticed you mentioned Minnieapolis , memphis , and atlanta. Well those 3 teams are Terrible, Atlanta is on the up with a decent core of guys but has been known to have terrible attendance. Minnie and memphis are just awful, So even in a good econ I think you would see these teams suffering for attendance no matter what.
     
  5. njndirish

    njndirish Member

    Jul 14, 2008
    Notre Dame, IN
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The MLS is affordable to the fan, which will make it more attractive in the coming months. For years I've said the MLB and NBA are full of themselves by raising ticket costs. MLB (Red Sox and Cubs are exceptions) and NBA followings aren't as stable as the NHL (As much as the league is downtalked, a large percentage of the arena follow it with gusto) and NFL, and both leagues will finally get their due for not getting the passionate fans. (Collegiate sports are a different matter altogether)

    Also how many NBA teams were in the red this past year? They had a story a few weeks back about the NBA asking for money.
     
  6. kingjackdaniel

    Jul 16, 2004
    Dyer, IN
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well, I don't know about the rest of the league, but the Fire offered $99 season tickets in the upper deck, which runs the sideline. Great sitelines! Great deal. It's a small deck; I'd imagine 1000 seats at the most, but it's sold out.

    How about the Sox and Cubs saying they aren't making adjustments to their ridiculous concession fees.
     
  7. CMeszt

    CMeszt Member+

    Farewell Sweet Prince
    Jan 9, 2004
    Gentrification's Edge.
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    wow...I'd take advantage of something like that in a heartbeat if it happened in philly. That's about the only way tickets would be affordable on my grad student (read: zero) salary.
     
  8. Pibe the kid

    Pibe the kid New Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    Pretty good for the most part. I'd add 3,000-4,000 to Chivas, 4,000-5,000 for the Galaxy, and maybe 1,000-2,000 less to RSL. FC Dallas and Colorado could be higher, but your numbers accurately reflects their actual attendance (as opposed to tickets distributed).

    If activity during the MLS offseason is any indication, (sponsors re-upping, Sounders FC, expansion, the eight figure international broadcasting rights deal, etc.) the league isn't going to have a problem.
     
  9. CACuzcatlan

    CACuzcatlan Member

    Jun 11, 2007
    San Francisco, CA
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I agree regarding LA. We averaged 24k in the years before Beckham arrived, so I think we can match that with him gone half the season.
     
  10. Wile Coyote

    Wile Coyote Red Card

    Sep 21, 2000
    Punta del Este, Uru.
    Club:
    Club Nacional de Football
    I think MLS will get hit due to the economy but it wont be a major disaster.....
    i'll say the numbers will be the same if not just below that but no major major hit....
    i dont see real major changes in numbers...
     
  11. adam

    adam Member

    Mar 6, 1999
    Minneapolis
    I won't be surprised if it goes down, but how much does it really even matter if all of the other sports leagues are down too?

    Seattle will help, the good draws will probably remain good draws, and the usual suspects will continue to struggle.

    Also, not that it's terribly important, but using the T-wolves as an indicator of the NBA's success is flawed from the beginning. They're a basketball team in a hockey town...unless they have a big name player, nobody here is gonna pay attention regardless of the economy.

    Out of our 4 major league teams, they'd be the only one that wouldn't really be missed if they packed up and left...just give us a 2nd NHL team instead! ;)
     
  12. yellowbismark

    yellowbismark Member+

    Nov 7, 2000
    San Diego, CA
    Club:
    Club Tijuana
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think the economy is having an affect, but it really seems to be compounding on the NBA teams with poor records. There's plenty of cache for basketball in MN--it just so happens the Wolves are absolutely awful and the fans have nothing to look forward to. Combine that with the sticker shock of paying for a family of 4 night out at the Target Center and stale atmosphere and its is enough to turn people away in droves. It's the reason why I expect the Galaxy (who suck, who have the most comparable-to-NBA prices in MLS and whose gameday experience is similarly lame) to have one of the biggest drops in attendance this year.

    Besides, I don't see how being a hockey town has anything to do with how other teams in the same city do. Toronto is a hockey town and the Raptors sell out nearly every game. Dallas is a football town and the Mavericks sell out every game....Yeah, I know the seasons don't compete directly with each other but I can't think of any other hockey-first towns....The Timberwolves posted great attendance their first several seasons (1989 set an NBA record), despite having the North Stars and they had pretty good attendance when they were making the playoffs consistently in the early 2000s while competing with the Wild for attention.


    Well, I'd probably want them to pack up and leave too if I knew they were 20.5 games out of the 8th playoff spot in the west. :eek:
     
  13. charlieblackmouth

    Feb 8, 2009
    South Ward
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I have a tendency to agree with njndirish (might just be the inherent optimist in me). I definitely seem some markets dropping in attendance, but I don't think it will be drastic and I think there's even a chance it will be counteracted by other teams. MLS just isn't pricey enough to ward people away...unless they're in dire straits and completely shutting down to not spend gas money and stuff like that. (1) 99% of season ticket holding ultra types will still be there (2) I like to think that people want some form of entertainment no matter how bad the economy is. And MLS is a great alternative. If you're hurting, going to an MLS game for not much more than a movie ticket instead of shelling out hundreds of dollars for your family to go is pretty attractive. Then throw in the soccer atmosphere
    Fingers crossed
     
  14. SonicDeathMonkey

    Atlanta United
    Jun 24, 2008
    Conyers, Ga.
    Club:
    Fulham FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The Atlanta Hawks have the fourth best record in the Eastern Conference, which would give them a home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. But other than that, yeah they suck. :rolleyes:

    Oh, and they also are averaging more than 2k more than the Timberwolves, and more than 4k more than Memphis. Just sayin'.
     
  15. yellowbismark

    yellowbismark Member+

    Nov 7, 2000
    San Diego, CA
    Club:
    Club Tijuana
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Sacramento has just been awful, they are under 13,000/game now. Back in the early 2000s, it was one of the most intimidating arenas for visiting teams.
     
  16. yellowbismark

    yellowbismark Member+

    Nov 7, 2000
    San Diego, CA
    Club:
    Club Tijuana
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    When I mentioned them in the first post, I may have been hung up on that photo that's been floating around on the internet showing most of the Phillips Arena lower deck being empty. I probably should've used the Kings or Pacers as an example instead.

    This partially supports what I've been saying, the bad teams are the ones getting hurt. The Hawks, having made the playoffs last year and looking to do the same this year, are doing a bit better at the gate than the awful teams.
     
  17. Flyin Ryan

    Flyin Ryan Member

    May 13, 2004
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    So who'll be the awful MLS teams, and will that affect attendance there?
     
  18. Kingston

    Kingston Member+

    Oct 6, 2005
    Seattle - no
    LA - not really
     
  19. KaptPowers

    KaptPowers Member

    Dec 29, 2003
    Arlington, MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    They might not be awful, but barring some player moves (ha!) the Revs are probably going to struggle (again) with core players injured and no real ready-to-go outside help brought in. Attendance will be probably the same owing to the FO's ineptitude and a 13 year history of the same. The first game is this weekend and marketing, as per usual, has been minimal to non-existant. They did trot out a "promo team", the Revs Girls, who were at WSD's live broadcast from the Banshee in Dorchester and are at a Foxboro bar today. However they will not be having a team-sponsored first game viewing party despite hiring a bar/events manager. As far as the local sports media is concerned, Dustin Pedroia got hurt at the WBC and thusly anything international is an evil, al-Qaeda and New York plot to ruin the Sawx. Dood.

    But hey AC vs Inter at Gillette in July, which will probably be proferred by the FO as an example of their commitment to soccer.
     

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