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Seattle Sounders draw world-class crowds
by Mike Woitalla, July 17th, 2012 12:33AM
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[MLS ATTENDANCE] The Seattle Sounders, who lead MLS in attendance for the fourth straight year, dating back to their inaugural 2009 season, are  averaging nearly 40,000 fans. To see how Seattle's attendance compares to some major European leagues and for MLS team attendance rankings ...

* After 10 games, the Seattle Sounders are averaging 39,537 fans.

Here's how Seattle's current attendance average would rank in some major European leagues if compared to 2011-12 figures:

3rd in 18-team Dutch Eredivisie (League-wide: 19,516; No. 1, Ajax Amsterdam 50,044; No. 20, Excelsior 3,091).

3rd in 20-team French Ligue 1 (League-wide: 18,665; No. 1, Paris SG 41,921; No. 20, AC Ajaccio 6,918).

4th in 20-team Italian Serie A (League-wide: 23,459; No. 1, AC Milan 51,442; No. 20, Cagliari 9,692).

6th in 20-team Spain La Liga (League-wide: 30,272; No. 1, Barcelona 84,119; No. 20, Getafe 10,736)

8th in 20-team English Premier League (League-wide: 34,601; No. 1, Manchester United 75,387; No. 20, QPR 17,295).

13th in 18-team German Bundesliga (League-wide: 44,294; No. 1, Borussia Dortmund 80,521; No. 18, Freiburg 22,676).

* MLS league-wide attendance this season after 181 games is 18,736. MLS's highest season attendance averages were 17,872 in 2011 and 17,406 in its inaugural season of 1996.

* Seattle has set the all-time MLS attendance record in each of its first three MLS seasons: 2011 -- 38,496; 2010 -- 36,173; 2009 -- 30,897.


Club (2012 Rank)
Week 19
Home Games
2012 Home
2011 Home
Average (Final)
Chicago (13)  16,820  15,543  14,273
Chivas USA (18)  --  13,127  14,830
Colorado (14)  13,284  15,184  14,838
Columbus (15)  17,588  14,572  12,185
Dallas (17)  --  13,722  12,861
D.C. United (16)  --  14,132  15,196
Houston (4)  18,871  21,287  17,694
Kansas City (6)  --  19,348  17,810
Los Angeles (3)  --  22,483  23,335
Montreal (2)  --  25,357  --
New England (19)  12,180  12,455  13,222
New York (11)  19,414  17,443  19,749
Philadelphia (10)  18,544  18,398  18,259
Portland (5)  20,438  20,438  18,827
Real Salt Lake (9)  --  18,604  17,591
San Jose (12)  10,744  15,868  11,858
Seattle (1)  --  39,537  38,496
Toronto FC (8)  19,821  19,123  20,267
Vancouver (7)  --  19,123  20,406
Leaguewide  16,770  18,736  17,872

 * Attendance figures, provided by MLS, reflect tickets sold and distributed.

  1. Ernest Irelan
    commented on: July 17, 2012 at 8:34 a.m.
    need to take a look at Seattle an see what they are doing right...I love to watch the games there, they have first rate facility an the fans are really great it appears on tv...for sure, it can not be the weather unless one loves rain....
  1. Margaret Manning
    commented on: July 17, 2012 at 11:31 a.m.
    Actually, the weather for most of the season is fine--Seattle is pretty sunny from June-October. Of course, we have had some pretty wet spring games and pretty cold late season games. As for what the club is doing right, there are several things going on: a fan-oriented FO; heavy fan participation in FO decisions, from naming the club down to issues like banning plastic horns; a huge population of people who know and love soccer (that's not the FO's doing; but they must have known there was potential). Now, for the same level of fan devotion--a supporter group operating years before the team even stepped on the field--Philly has suffered through what seemes like tone-deaf management.
  1. John Soares
    commented on: July 17, 2012 at 1:25 p.m.
    The rain, the beer? It don't matter. What ever it is the league itself should be paying attention. Seattle is in the top 40 teams (attendance) IN THE WORLD. Considering the numbers in the other teams. It is a near phenomena. All this when many critics were saying the Sounders could not succeed in a, Too large CenturyLink Field with artificial turf.
  1. Cristian Tane
    commented on: July 17, 2012 at 5:14 p.m.
    All these MLS vs The World attendance stats are entirely irrelevant. In Europe, they count actual people attending the game. In the MLS, they count "tickets distributed". The actual MLS average is a lot lower than what they make it out to be. Hell, I'm attending every game in Toronto, there's always 12-14K at the stadium, and yet they claim 18-19K. This isn't done in Europe. Over there, attendance is actually "butts in seats".
  1. Duncan Kunkel-Patterson
    commented on: July 17, 2012 at 5:34 p.m.
    Cristain Tane: Have you seen a sounder's crowd? IT is full. You can't see the Loge of a flag like in Toronto. And as for counting butts in seats... There would be like 100 at a SSFC game. Because we stand.
  1. Ray Shines
    commented on: July 17, 2012 at 7:08 p.m.
    Obviously, someone needs to do something to make Christian feel better about an article he just read on the internet.
  1. Andres Yturralde
    commented on: July 17, 2012 at 11:07 p.m.
    I met a dude from Seattle a couple of days ago. He definitely knew his soccer--at least more than the average fan I meet. Seems to me something good is going on up there in Seattle. They absolutely love their Sounders.
  1. Patrick Davis
    commented on: July 18, 2012 at 3:31 p.m.
    Washington State, at least previously, had the highest number of USSF registered adult players per capita in the US. Seattle does have a very knowledgeable soccer community. As noted previously the FO does a great job of incorporating the ticket holders and making the match a most enjoyable experience. They have made watching the game better by bringing in talent on their way up as opposed to overaged superstars. Will it work? Seems to so far. Join us sometime for the "March to the Match."

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