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Season 16 sets attendance record
by Mike Woitalla, October 25th, 2011 1:29AM

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TAGS:  mls, seattle sounders

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[MLS ATTENDANCE] The 2011 regular-season attendance of 17,872 marked an all-time high for the 16-year-old league, whose highest attendance average came in its inaugural season of 1996. For MLS team attendance rankings and attendance history ...

* MLS's 17,872 attendance average in 2011 marked a 7 percent increase from 2010's 16,675 and is the league's highest since the 1996 inaugural season's 17,406.

* Total attendance for 306 games was a record 5.47 million.

* Seattle's average of 38,496 makes it the attendance leader for the third straight year and sets a record for all-time highest season attendance average for an MLS team. Seattle averaged 36,173 in 2010 and 30,897 in its inaugural 2009 season when it beat the Galaxy's 1996 high mark of 28,916.

* MLS newcomers Portland and Vancouver drew 18,827 and 20,406, respectively.

* Twelve of the 16 returning clubs saw an increase in attendance over 2010, with Kansas City, in its new Livestrong Sporting Park, enjoying the biggest boost: up 73 percent to 17,810.

* The 10 games in Week 32, the last of the regular season, averaged 20,144 and included season highs at Chicago (20,237) and Houston (30,018).


MLS ATTENDANCE:

Club (2011 Rank)
Week 32
Home Games
2011 Home
Average (Final)
2010 Home
Average (Final)
Chicago (14) 20,237 14,273 15,814
Chivas USA (13) 22,137 14,830 14,576
Colorado (12) -- 14,838 13,329
Columbus (17) -- 12,185 14,642
D.C. United (11) 15,965
14,317
15,196 14,532
FC Dallas (16) -- 12,861 10,815
Houston (9) 30,018 17,694 17,310
Kansas City (8) -- 17,810 10,287
Los Angeles (2) -- 23,335 21,437
New England (15) -- 13,222 12,987
New York (5) 25,044 19,749 18,441
Philadelphia (7) -- 18,259 19,254
Portland (6) -- 18,827  --
Real Salt Lake (10) 20,378 17,591 17,095
San Jose (18) 10,744 11,858 9,659
Seattle (1) -- 38,496 36,173
Toronto FC (4) 21,600 20,267 20,453
Vancouver (3) 17,288 20,406 --
Leaguewide 20,144 17,872 16,675


TOP MLS TEAM ATTENDANCE AVERAGES
2011 Seattle: 38,496
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

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
2011 - 17,872



4 comments
  1. Simon Provan
    commented on: October 25, 2011 at 10:30 a.m.
    Agree 100% Super Man. For those of us who grew up in late 70's/early 80's, this time of soccer prosperity in this country has surpassed our dreams. Those born in the 90's will never be able to fully comprehend how quickly the game has grown in this country since the 90/94 WC's. Unbelievable!

  1. Glenn Maddock
    commented on: October 25, 2011 at 2:14 p.m.
    I agree that the slow, steady growth is good news for MLS future, but its really minimal progress on attendance. Seattle is an anomoly that throws off the reality of MLS attendance. If you remove them from the equation we really havent made any progress in 10 years. Can we survive averaging 18k? Yes. Can we become a great international league at 18k? It will be hard. The problems with soft fan support in San Jose, Dallas, New England, Chivas, Columbus and Colorado need to be fixed, or those clubs need to be moved.

  1. Chris Steers
    commented on: October 25, 2011 at 7:14 p.m.
    Call me Old Man. A soccer fan that remembers Tampa Bay Rowdies, Ft. Lauderdale Strikers and went to a NY Cosmos game. The growth is good and sustainable. Don't be hard on New England, they used to have Great attendance. But they've suffered thru several terrible seasons after losing their best players like Dempsey, Twellman, Ralston, etc.

  1. JODI WILLIAMS
    commented on: October 28, 2011 at 11:17 p.m.
    Yes, it is true that Seattle is an anomoly, but the average is only scewed by about 1200 people when you remove them from the average. That is still a steady improvement. Take a look at the Canadian teams' attendance. We can surmise next year will improve in Montreal as well('course, Vancouver's season this year may create a drop in their neck of the woods). Portland is expanding Piggie park (okay, Geld Wen)too. I think we will see a rise, perhaps exponentially in the next few years!


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