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Crowds falling in New England and Columbus
by Paul Kennedy, April 25th, 2011 12:27AM

TAGS:  mls


[MLS ATTENDANCE] Thanks in part to expansion teams Portland and Vancouver both drawing capacity crowds, MLS average attendance is up more than 1,300 fans a game over the final 2010 average, though several teams that date back to the launch of MLS in 1996 are struggling at the gate.

* Columbus is averaging only 10,850 fans a game at Crew Stadium. Its 15-year low was 12,275 fans a game in 1998, its last season at Ohio Stadium.

* New England is averaging only 9,853 fans a game. Average attendance at Gillette Stadium has fallen in each of the last four years to a low of 10,041 in 2010.


Club (2011 Rank)
Week 6
Home Games
2011 Home

2010 Home
Average (Final)

Chicago (11)
Chivas USA (12)
-- 14,845 14,576
Colorado (14)
13,727 13,329
Columbus (15)
-- 10,850
D.C. United (4)
18,052 20,935 14,532
FC Dallas (13)
14,476 10,815
Houston (10)
-- 15,536 17,310
Kansas City (-)
-- --
Los Angeles (2)
25,239 21,437
New England (17)
New York (9)
-- 16,318 18,441
Philadelphia (7)
Portland (8)


18,627  --
Real Salt Lake (5)
-- 18,010
San Jose (16)
Seattle (1)
36,290 36,173
Toronto FC (6)
Vancouver (3)
20,843 --
16,518 17,370 16,037

  1. Ken Jamieson
    commented on: April 25, 2011 at 10:37 a.m.
    For years MLS ignored the Pacific Northwest to its own detriment. It was only when it brought Seattle into the league that it realized the untapped potential of this region. Since its inception in 1996, MLS has done everything possible to distance itself from the NASL and its legacy, while this may have served it well in some respects, by ignoring the success the NASL had in the Pacific Northwest, MLS did itself a major disservice. Despite its long history of soccer, New England has always been luke warm to the professional game. The Rovers, Minutemen and Tea Men all had moderately good teams without catching the fancy of the local fans. Perhaps the biggest disappointment of all is Dallas, following an appearance in MLS Cup, this franchise continues to be one of the worst-supported in the league. San Jose and Kansas City have been limited by capacities around 10,000, Dallas however rarely fills its 20,000 seat stadium. Even with a soccer-specific stadium, they are out-drawn by their cross-state rivals who play out of an old college football stadium. Finally, the failure of MLS in Florida was directly related to the refusal of MLS to allow the use of the "Rowdies" and "Strikers" names. Do you honestly believe Seattle, Portland and Vancouver would be as successful if they didn't use their NASL monikers. Vancouver reverted from the 86ers to Whitecaps in 2001 and it saved their franchise. There was some good in the old NASL.
  1. David Sirias
    commented on: April 25, 2011 at 1:38 p.m.
    Some markets are ok with an ownership group that at least tries to compete in its own way. Other markets demand winners and star power. New England is not the Pacific Northwest. The Revs are saddled with a bad facility for soccer. They had semi decent attendance in the past decade when they were conistent winners. But the coach's decision to play anti-football in the championship games (and consistently lose) probably drove away some fans. Then the owners became complacent with the roster. If NER's owners wont sell, and NER must stay in Gillette, their only hope to draw good crowds is to win, and to win with flair. Benny Feilhaber was a stroke of good luck. But he is not enough. The owners need to put out a product that matches NYRB, on paper at least. Until that's done New England will remain an ugly patch of eczema on the body MLS. Except for the stadia problem, you could say all of the above for Colorado. Dallas tries to play attractive soccer NOW. But for years it was ugly and they were losers. Their market demands pretty and winning soccer........ Then there is Columbus. I frankly think the league is going to throw in the towel before this decade is over. It has been given its chance. There are better MLS markets, So it would not surpise me to see CBUS relocated at some point.
  1. Ken Jamieson
    commented on: April 25, 2011 at 1:53 p.m.
    Move Columbus to Rochester!

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