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MLS attendance on the rise
by Mike Woitalla, October 26th, 2010 2:19AM

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[MLS ATTENDANCE] Average attendance for the 2010 regular season, with Seattle on top for the second straight season, was the highest since 2007 and the third highest in league history.

League newcomer Philadelphia had the fourth highest average with 19,254. Among the 15 returning teams, all but six had an increase from 2009.

Those whose attendance dropped included Toronto FC, which after a fourth straight season of missing the playoffs saw only a 0.5 percent decrease.

The San Jose Earthquakes had a lower average than in 2009, but drew 9,659 in its Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara with a capacity of 10,500. Last season, the Quakes played two games at the Oakland Coliseum against the Los Angeles Galaxy (drawing 15,862 and 17,128) and one at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park that was a doubleheader with Chivas Guadalajara-Barcelona that drew 61,572.

Also deceiving is the drop in attendance for FC Dallas, which last season included in its average a crowd of 51,012 when it played a doubleheader at the Cotton Bowl with headliner Mexico-Colombia. In fact, for the first time in years, MLS clubs did not combine doubeheaders with international clubs or national teams in 2010.

Still, FC Dallas’ 2010 average of 10,815 in its soccer-specific Pizza Hut Park is discouraging, especially considering the team’s strong season, which included an MLS record-tying 19-game unbeaten streak.

D.C. United, which finished last in the Eastern Conference, saw a 13 percent drop in attendance after a 19 percent decline in 2009 from its 2008 figure.

Besides Philadelphia’s strong showing and the big bump by Seattle, the New York Red Bulls boosted the league jump by drawing nearly 50 percent more at their new stadium in Harrison, N.J., than they did in 2009 at the Meadowlands.

MLS ATTENDANCE:

Club (2010 Rank)

2010 Home
Average
(Final)

2009 Home
Average (Final)

2010/2009
plus/minus
Seattle (1) 36,173 30,897
+5,276 (+17%)
Los Angeles (2) 21,437 20,416 +1,021 (+5%)
Toronto FC (3) 20,453 20,344 -109 (-0.5%)
Philadelphia (4) 19,254
--
--
New York (5) 18,441 12,490 +5.951 (+47%)
Houston (6)
17,310
17,047 +263  (+1%)
Real Salt Lake (7) 17,095 16,375 +720 (+4%)
Chicago (8)
15,814
14,688 +1,126 (+8%)
Columbus (9)
14,642
14,446 +196 (+1%)
Chivas USA (10)
14,576
15,091 -515 (-3%)
D.C. United (11)
14,532
16,088 -1,556 (-13%)
Colorado (12)
13,329
12,330 +999 (+8%)
New England (13)
12,987
13,731 -744 (-5%)
FC Dallas (14)
10,815
12,440 -1,625 (-13%)
Kansas City (15)
10,287
10,053 +234 (+2%)
San Jose (16) 9,659
14,114 -4,455 (-32%)
Leaguewide
 16,675
16,037 +638 (+4%)
35,953
20,672
18,379


Since joining the league in 2009, the Seattle Sounders have led the league in attendance, ending the Los Angeles Galaxy's five-season run at the top.

TOP MLS ATTENDANCE AVERAGES

2010 Seattle: 36,173
2009 Seattle: 30,897
1996 Los Angeles: 28,916
2008 Los Angeles: 26,009
2007 Los Angeles: 24,252
2005 Los Angeles: 24,204
1996 MetroStars: 23,898
2004 Los Angeles: 23,809
2003: Los Angeles: 21,983
1998 Los Angeles: 21,784
2001: D.C. United 21,518
1997 New England: 21,423
2006 Los Angeles: 20,814
2002: Colorado: 20,687
2000 Los Angeles: 20,400
1999 Columbus: 17,696

The leaguewide attendance average in 2010 was the highest since 2007 and the third-highest in league history.

MLS YEAR-BY-YEAR ATTENDANCE AVERAGE
1996 - 17,406
1997 - 14,603
1998 - 14,312
1999 - 14,282
2000 - 13,756
2001 - 14,961
2002 - 15,821
2003 - 14,898
2004 - 15,559
2005 - 15,108
2006 - 15,504
2007 - 16,770
2008 - 16,460
2009 - 16,037
2010 - 16,675



0 comments
  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: October 26, 2010 at 10:38 p.m.
    Quality of play will dictate the rise in attendance...so far, that quality is visible sporadically...the regular season is overloaded with mediocre games because of the playoff system. Many players have expressed that they don't put out until it matters. That kind of mentality is evident on the pitch and the real futbol public doesn't pay to watch it.

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