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Seattle turnstiles are still spinning
September 12th, 2010 11:06PM

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TAGS:  mls, seattle sounders

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[MLS] The Seattle Sounders continue to amaze in their ability to draw a crowd. While most team's suffer major attendance decreases for midweek games, the Sounders drew 36,078 last Wednesday. Unfortunately, they could only serve up a scoreless tie against defending champion Real Salt Lake.

During their first season, the Sounders led the league last year in attendance average at 30,942. They are averaging 36,167 this season, in which the leaguewide attendance average is up by nearly 4 percent from last season's final average.

Seattle is one of seven returning clubs whose average attendance at this point of the season is higher than their final attendance average of 2009.

Expansion club Philadelphia is averaging 18,563 fans per game.

MLS ATTENDANCE:

Club

Weekend 24
Home Game

2010 Home
Average

2009 Home
Average (Final)

Chicago
 12,891 15,757 14,688
Chivas USA
 10,783 13,793 15,091
Colorado  -- 12,749 12,330
Columbus
 -- 14,384 14,446
D.C. United
 -- 14,271 16,088
FC Dallas
 -- 10,811 12,440
Houston
 -- 16,895 17,047
Kansas City
 -- 10,109 10,053
Los Angeles
 19,482 20,224 20,416
New England
 -- 12,070 13,731
New York
 19,014 17,927 12,490
Philadelphia
 18,563 19,896   --
Real Salt Lake
 -- 16,952 16,375
San Jose
 10,342
9,702 14,114
Seattle
 36,078 36,167 30,942
Toronto FC
 20,395 20,665
20,344
Leaguewide
 18,443 16,625 16,037
35,953
20,672
18,379


0 comments
  1. Christopher Wimmer
    commented on: September 13, 2010 at 7:49 a.m.
    Why and how? Maybe WPS owners and GM's should schedule a sit down with the Sounders PR firm.

  1. Ted Westervelt
    commented on: September 13, 2010 at 9:45 a.m.
    Popularity is public enemy #1 for MLS. Sounders continue to challenge anemic MLS growth curve, despite the league and NFL owners going to great lengths to rein them in - most notably by pulling back on season ticket sales in January. Sounders are dangerous, because MLS is predicated on soccer as a small niche sport. What if MLS pre-ordainment of meager US club soccer popularity is way off? What if their small, out of the way stadiums are not enough? MLS will continue to try to limit the Sounders, because in their bizarro world Cosmos popularity sank NASL, not our OCD attempts to install the US closed league model on soccer.

  1. Margaret Manning
    commented on: September 13, 2010 at 1:09 p.m.
    They could only serve up a scoreless tie? What is this, the NFL page? It was a great game (with the exception of some dumb officiating). Ties are part of soccer.

  1. Jeff Gingold
    commented on: September 13, 2010 at 1:12 p.m.
    Having been a NY Cosmos fan in the 70s and now a Seattle Sounders FC season ticket holder, they really don't seem to have that much in common. Cosmos played at (demolished) Giants Stadium in what was then known as Secaucus, NJ primarily famous for being an aromatic toxic swamp near the Pulaski Skyway, home of perenial presidential candidate/ pig farmer Henry Krycjzeski(probably misspelled). Cosmos attendance often outdrew the NY Giants (77,691 for one match) primarily because of the area's huge population and diverse nationalities fanatical about soccer, Huge player names didn't hurt. The stadium was out-of-the-way and required several hours getting in and out. Without stars, they could not have drawn that kind of attendance. Sounders FC play in a great stadium you can walk to from anywhere in downtown Seattle, get a bus, train or ferry to get there. No superstars but several young and promising prospects. Maybe Montero compares with the Cosmos' Portuguese player, Seninho. The Sounders FC fans also include a diverse cross-section of nationalities, but there also is a huge base of families with kids that attend Sounders matches,and new fans who are drawn to a hot ticket which is much more affordable than a pro baseball or football ticket. It's also a predictable investment of time: you know when the game will end. Seattle tends to tolerate losing sports teams longer and better than most places. Unfortunately, we have plenty of experience in this area. So, when a new team like the Sounders immediately delivers success right out of the gate, that helps drive attendance and make it a draw beyond the usual suspects. Hopefully, this will continue. On the other hand, the Mariners also are a good example of a Seattle franchise that took a good thing for granted, squandered its support with consistently miserable teams and finally is suffering at the gate. Interestingly, because the Sounders' home season is roughly double the Seahawks', it's possible that the Sounders could outdraw the Seahawks for season attendance. It's difficult to imagine Sounders FC ownership going the way of the Mariners or the Cosmos. Attendance will continue to stay strong, and very likely will grow next season with the re-introduction of historical rivalries against Vancouver and Portland. I would be surprised to see Sounders FC attendance drop in the short term or disappear completely in a blink like the Cosmos. But it certainly could fade over time if the team loses its focus on doing very well or keep the roster fresh. This is very unlikely (knock wood) given current ownership and management.

  1. Margaret Manning
    commented on: September 13, 2010 at 1:18 p.m.
    It looks like Sounders are going the way of other MLS teams and announcing as "attendance" the tickets sold. That turned out to be a bad joke in Los Angeles, especially in the "Beckham years," when many glam fans bought tickets then found out it was to a sporting event they did not understand. In Seattle, for the first time in a very long time, there were empty seats at Qwest for this game, but it was a school night, and for many kids the first week of school. I think the actual was probably a solid 30,000.


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