News: Why MLS thrives in PNW ....

Discussion in 'MLS: News & Analysis' started by Fiosfan, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. Potowmack

    Potowmack Member+

    Apr 2, 2010
    Washington, DC
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Football is different from other sports. Since there are only 8 home games per team (not counting exhibition and playoff games) the supply of tickets is much lower than the demand in pretty much every NFL market. Many NFL teams could probably sell out 200,000 seat stadiums.
     
  2. carnifex2005

    carnifex2005 Member+

    Jul 1, 2008
    Club:
    Vancouver Whitecaps
    True but what at price point? NFL owners would rather have a smaller stadium with higher price points, than a lot of fans with cheap seats. In fact, the Washington Redskins owner is doing just that at Fed-Ex Field. He's tearing out 10,000 seats to reduce capacity and this is from one of the most popular teams in the NFL.
     
  3. Skypilot

    Skypilot Member

    Sep 29, 2007
    Olympia

    The Redskins have one of the most hated owners in sports who has chased away much of the fanbase. Snyder is just trying to cover his butt to protect from blackouts. The Redskins have had empty seats the last few years. Eventually the fraud of the sellout streak will end and they will lose local TV coverage of home games. The Redskins would have over 100,000 fans a game, if they had a semi-competent owner.
     
  4. asdf2

    asdf2 Member+

    Oct 11, 2004
    San Francisco
    I've been to each of the stadiums and some other MLS stadiums and in my opinion #2 is vastly underrated. They have downtown stadiums. Put the stadium where the people are (and where those that aren't can easily get to with transit) and - surprise - you have good attendance.

    A second comment is more of a word of warning: let's see how your doing in 5 years if your team is mediocre or lousy. There are only so many wins to go around so eventually some of these teams will have bad stretches and won't be the new thing in town any more so let's see how they are doing then. My prediction is that they'll continue to do well and I hope so but it not for certain.

    Last item is I don't think Vancouver should be so quickly lumped in with the other 2 cities. Seriously everybody in Portland and Seattle talks about their teams and how cool they are even my totally non soccer friends follow them. In Vancouver most people I talked to didn't even know where the stadium was and the crowds at the temporary stadium was just so so. I wish them the best but it doesn't seem anything like Portland or Seattle.
     
  5. WhiteStar Warriors

    Mar 25, 2007
    St.Pete/Krakow
    Club:
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    because they had roots since 1970's.
     
  6. Fenerbace

    Fenerbace Member

    Oct 8, 2008
    Club:
    Portland Timbers
    Nat'l Team:
    Turkey
    Amazing how often this comes up. Not only have the Timbers been lousy, but they have been lousy in the second division maybe 5 of the last 10 years and attendance has grown pretty much year after year.

    We don't have to worry or speculate about what will happen in Portland because we have 10 years of good data to look at which shows moderate but growing crowds - up to 10k on average and spiking in the 15-16k range - despite team results (granted you can't conclude much from Seattle's USL attendance).

    People will stop going to Timbers games when they stop being great experiences and results are just a part of that.
     
  7. Shopping Cart Man

    Sep 21, 2006
    Jacksonville, FL
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    ^ He said that.
     
  8. Fenerbace

    Fenerbace Member

    Oct 8, 2008
    Club:
    Portland Timbers
    Nat'l Team:
    Turkey
    Nope.

    Just because he expressed some optimism doesn't mean he isn't casting doubt at the same time. Kinda like saying: "I am not sure if DC United is going to fold before season's end. I suppose it could happen given the tenuous stadium situation, but I predict the team will finish out the season."

    Asdf2 suggested that the team was a "new thing" and therefore we can't tell if poor results will affect attendance (even though he personally feels confident).

    With the Timbers is no reason to suddenly start worrying about this. The fans are not new to this team nor unfamiliar with shitty seasons, and yet more of them have come out year after year.

    I'm just saying, feel free to laugh anytime questions whether Timbers fans will stop showing up if the team continues to underachieve.
     
  9. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Though the only time you broke 10K in average was after it was announced that the Timbers would be joining MLS. Before that averages were between 5-7K.
     
  10. Potowmack

    Potowmack Member+

    Apr 2, 2010
    Washington, DC
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well, it certainly helps that the Sounders and Timbers are competing against only two and one other professional teams, respectively, in their markets. Neither one of those cities is a four-sport town where MLS is trying to break in and draw fans from fanbases with a long history of supporting their teams.

    I doubt the PNW teams would be doing anywhere near as well if they had to compete against nine other pro teams like the Red Bulls do.
     
  11. Kejsare

    Kejsare Member+

    Mar 10, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Club:
    Portland Timbers
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Knight and Reser want a word with you.
     
  12. Fenerbace

    Fenerbace Member

    Oct 8, 2008
    Club:
    Portland Timbers
    Nat'l Team:
    Turkey
    Myth #2: Timbers USL attendance skyrocketed after the MLS announcement.

    Fact: the timbers averaged about 9000 in 2008 (a shitty season) before the announcement and about 10000 after. The Timbers USL league match high of 15833 was in 2007 before the sounders were even announced in MLS and four years before the Timbers MLS entry.

    There was a blog that looked at the 2001-2010 attendance trend and found no statistical relationship between end of season records, seattle's MLS announcement or the Timbers MLS announcement.
     
  13. KnucklesBuchanan

    Jul 12, 2007
    Section 149
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    The Red Bulls might also be doing better if they were actually in NYC. I've been to Harrison. That facility is the ONLY reason to go to Harrison.
     
  14. christhestud

    christhestud Member

    Jun 4, 2004
    No no no no no no no. On BS we understand that a stadium's location has nothing to do with attendance of events held in the stadium. But don't take our word for it! This will be conclusively re-demonstrated next time there's a big crowd for a RBNY game (you see, this is impossible unless the stadium actually moves closer to NYC).

    Sincerely,

    Bigsoccer
     
  15. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

    Mar 20, 2000
    Arvada, CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portland_Timbers

    So in the fall of 2007 MLS was supporting Paulson's plans to get the Timbers into MLS in a remodeled/refurbished PGE Park.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portland_Timbers_(2001–2010)

    Average attendances:
    2007: 6,851
    2008: 8,567
    2009: 9,734 (Official announcement of MLS made on March 20th, 2009)
    2010: 10,727

    Prior to fall of 2007 (before MLS supported Paulson's plan) the Portland Timbers averaged between 5-7K, steadily rising after that point.

    Now just because the numbers rose at the same time as the MLS plans were being pushed doesn't meant he latter caused the former, but there does seem to be a pretty big coincidence if it didn't.
     
  16. whiteisthecolour

    whiteisthecolour Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 10, 2007
    Miyazaki, Japan
    Club:
    Vancouver Whitecaps
    Nat'l Team:
    Canada
    I (sadly) agree with this. The Whitecaps are on the radar of sports fans here, largely because of excellent media coverage and historical brand recognition, but that doesn't mean there is the passionate love-affair with the club that Seattle and Portland seem to enjoy where the brand is very big. Having said that, the way the soccer community is taking to the Caps is heartening to me. Despite our shitty record, we get good attendances and I would bet we will continue to do so. We might not get as much city-wide hype support, but our support is solid, very real, and will likely enjoy steady growth. Especially if we at least get a .500 club on the field.
     
  17. bgix

    bgix Bad Penny

    Jun 29, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    I detect enough Montreal directed bile from my Vancouver acquaintances generally (admittedly a soccer friendly crowd) that I have hopes that Vancouver might be able to sustain passion long term, with two Canadian rivals that perhaps Seattle and Portland do not inspire. I think the whole "Canadian thing" might be one of their keys to long term success, since besides Hockey, they don't have another outlet for their angst.

    That said, I will always look forward to our local derbies.
     
  18. bgix

    bgix Bad Penny

    Jun 29, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    I suspect you will be rapidly shouted down by the Timbers contingent, but that is the generally accepted narrative in Seattle.
     
  19. Ganapper

    Ganapper Member

    Apr 5, 2009
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I've never seen someone say "there was a blog" as an appeal to authority before. Thanks for showing me something new!
     
  20. Potowmack

    Potowmack Member+

    Apr 2, 2010
    Washington, DC
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    According to the attendance thread, RBNY is averaging 18,310 a game this year. That's a pretty good number, and all indications are that their attendance will continue to grow. Especially if (God forbid) they win an MLS cup sometime soon.
     
  21. OnlyOneTInFootball

    Mar 15, 2011
    Club:
    Portland Timbers
    The latter probably did at least in part cause the former. Given the final few games of the 2010 season were sell-outs, it's easy to say the buzz started before March 2011.

    But also note these are average numbers. If you look at game-by-game numbers, 2009 and 2010's average attendance benefited by a lot of people going to Timbers games at the end of the season. But so did 2007 and 2008. The last game of the 2007 season sold out. So Timbers typically drew bigger crowds at the end of each season which in turn helped the average.

    What changed was the base number - in 2006 an early season crowd of 3,300 would not be completely out of the question, but the Timbers could also draw over 10,000 on a random day as well. In '07, '08, '09, that 'base number' grew. Consider Shortstop became the Timbers owners in 2007 and there's probably correlation there as well.

    Interestingly the worst attendance in 2009 was 1,000 better than the worst attendance in 2010.
     
  22. KnucklesBuchanan

    Jul 12, 2007
    Section 149
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    I didn't simply mean attendance-wise, I meant TV ratings, etc. I've seen RBNY matches on TV that were "sell-outs", but there were many, many empty seats. I'm not a huge fan of the way that organization is run, but you have to admit that while the stadium is fantastic, Harrison is a craphole (and this coming from someone whose girlfriend is from NJ, and actually likes the place).
     
  23. Potowmack

    Potowmack Member+

    Apr 2, 2010
    Washington, DC
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I really can't speak as to the ratings, but it should be noted that RBNY seems to be one of the favorite teams for ESPN to showcase.

    And the New York real estate market is what it is. Trying to build a stadium somewhere within the 5 burroughs would have been prohibitively expensive. Even Hoboken or Jersey City would have been pricey. The Sounders were fortunate that they had an existing stadium that worked well for soccer. Otherwise, your team might well have found itself somewhere more suburban, given the cost of Seattle real estate. DC United has been trying to get an urban stadium for years now, but it's tough finding an affordable piece of property around here without moving out to the far suburbs.

    And the empty seats argument isn't all that great. The fact that the tickets sold in the first place is what's important.
     
  24. DaveH

    DaveH Member

    Jun 10, 2004
    IMO, you're reading too much into the 10/07 date and not enough into the "was told". While it's true Paulson started putting out MLS feelers as early as the 2007 offseason, the process didn't break into the public consciousness until November of 2008, when a task force to determine the merit of the proposal was convened at City Hall. The recommendation to move forward on the *consideration* to renovate PGE Park was not approved until spring of 2009, which was still well before the City had actually negotiated the renovation plan. Maybe it seemed more streamlined outside the city, but the Portland bid was on the rocks multiple times throughout 2009 as City Hall discussion broke down and arguments arose over whether the AAA field should be disconnected from renovation discussions. I was at the council hearing when the task force was first put together (11/08), I was there when Commissioner Saltzman provided the critical 3rd vote to allow discussions to continue (3/09) and I was there when the final deal was agreed (7/09).

    I think it would be premature to chalk up MLS fever to the growth of attendance in 2008, where new ownership only meant MLS could even be considered for the first time instead of thought impossible given the absentee ownership of previous regimes. There was certainly more attention in 2009, although that was split between excitement about the possibility of MLS tempered by more hit pieces regarding "pork", the Paulson family name and the doom of soccer than I care to remember. By the time the MLS bid was finalized and internalized throughout the city, the USL season was already 2/3rds over and the Timbers enjoyed the normal summer nights bump they have always gained.

    I fully agree that the growth in 2010 was due in large part to anticipation for the 2011 MLS season.
     
  25. NorthEnderPDX

    NorthEnderPDX New Member

    Apr 2, 2009
    Not attendance smack again...*sigh*
     

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