Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Make BeLieve Soccer
September 27th, 2006 4:32PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential



The league is being called to task once again for its attendance figures and this time, the evidence is unquestioned.

San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Mark Zeigler's story appears in Wednesday's edition of the newspaper. Confirmed by sources and backed by an MLS internal document, it tells a tale of grossly inflated crowd figures.

The league uses "tickets distributed" as its official attendance figures and for years has used this as a camouflage for announced figures far in excess of the number of people in the stadium. "Tickets distributed" includes tickets sold as well as those simply given away, and whether or not they are actually used for admission.

Unused tickets aren't unique to MLS, and the league counts in its attendances season tickets and tickets sold as part of corporate packages or sponsorships as well as complimentary tickets.

Since it began operations in 1996, the league has refused to officially disclose season-ticket numbers, salaries or salary-cap data, minimum and maximum salaries, revenue details, monetary values of allocations, etc.

Accurate numbers emerge only by the diligence of legitimate journalists amid a blizzard of wild guesses and blatant errors, and as a result, whatever numbers the league does release - such as the supposed $5 million offered by Benfica last year for Eddie Johnson - must be regarded skeptically.

The league is riding on a few waves of good news: stadium projects in several cities, an exciting expansion prospect in Toronto, lucrative TV deals, increased TV ratings, partnerships with foreign teams.

But it isn't getting enough fans to its games, and whether that requires greater resources and staff at the team level and/or better players on the field, solving this dilemma must be its next objective. Scheduling regular competitions against Mexican teams, as is proposed for next season, is just putting the same old bandage on the same ugly wound.

No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Confidential
MLS Awards: Giovinco leads list of MVP candidates    
Voting closed Monday for the MLS individual awards and without knowing who the three finalists will ...
Whitecaps own up to their shortcomings in 2016    
The plight of defending champion Portland has been a running saga all season yet its foe ...
Drogba and Saputo show the power of 'big personalities'    
Players on big salaries often bring along big egos as well. Montreal owner Joey Saputo has ...
What was the value of the USA's bumpy win in Cuba?    
The USA's 2-0 win in a friendly over Cuba on Friday marked its first return to ...
Paul Arriola takes advantage of opportunities for USA    
On and off the field, fast starts are normal for Paul Arriola. He scored a goal ...
Options could lead to makeover of U.S. midfield    
Strong performances by several players in friendlies against Cuba and New Zealand could create a logjam ...
Bob Bradley steps into a tough new world    
Last season, 11 of 20 Premier League clubs changed managers, including major stars such as Louis ...
New NASL owner expects to see difference in how league operates    
The interlocking and overlapping elements of North American pro soccer are among the issues facing owners ...
So far, Jordan Morris' decisions have been the right ones    
U.S. forward Jordan Morris turned down a move to German club Werder Bremen, which is rooted ...
MLS Playoff Watch: Breaking down the Eastern Conference's battle of bubble teams    
With a month of the regular season to be played, no Eastern Conference team has clinched ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives