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MLS attendance rise, thanks to Northwest trio
SportsBusiness Journal, July 26th, 2011 2:11AM

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Through this season's 177 games, the MLS's average crowd increased by 6.3 percent from its 2010 midseason mark, to 17,526. Fred Dreier points out the increase is thanks to sellout crowds in the Pacific Northwest combined with a new stadium and rebranding effort in Kansas City.

The expansion Portland Timbers have sold out all 10 home games at Jeld-Wen Field, which after a $31 million renovation seats 18,627. Fellow newcomer Vancouver has sold 95.3 percent of its capacity and averaged 20,008 fans a game at its temporary home, Empire Field, while its permanent home, BC Place Stadium, undergoes construction. The Northwest’s third team, the Seattle Sounders, which has topped MLS in attendance since it entered the league in 2009, has also posted its best midseason mark, 37,189.

Outside the Pacific Northwest region, the New York Red Bulls, FC Dallas, San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City have all posted double-digit percentage increases in attendance, with Sporting Kansas City growing the most at 81 percent and San Jose following at 36.7 percent. The team formerly known as the Wizards rebranded itself Sporting Kansas City in November 2010 in the lead-up to the completion of its $200 million soccer-specific facility, Livestrong Sporting Park, which opened June 9.

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