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MLS attendance rises a record 12.7 percent
by Paul Kennedy, October 26th, 2015 2:34PM
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TAGS:  mls, seattle sounders

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MLS shattered its average attendance record, climbing 12.7 percent to 21,574 fans a game in 2015.

It marked the first time MLS surpassed 20,000 fans a game. The jumps of 12.7 percent and 2,427 per game are both league records. MLS's previous highest increase was 8.8 percent in 2001.

The increase is the highest recorded by a major American sports league in more than 20 years. Major League Baseball experienced a year-to-year increase of 16.2 percent from 1992 to 1993 with the introduction of high-drawing Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins.

2015 MLS Attendance:
TEAM AVG. (+/-)
1. Seattle
44,247 (+1.2%)
2. Orlando City 32,847
3. New York City 29,016
4. Toronto FC 23,451 (+6.8%)
5. LA Galaxy 23,392 (+10%)
6. Portland 21,142 (+1.6%)
7. San Jose 20,979 (+40.4%)
8. Houston 20,658 (+2.7%)
9. Vancouver 20,507 (+0.5%)
10. Real Salt Lake 20,160 (-0.9%)
11. Sporting KC 19,687 (-1.6%)
12. NY Red Bulls 19,657 (+1.3%)
13. New England 19,627 (+17.7%)
14. Montreal 17,750 (+1.9%)
15. Philadelphia 17,451 (-1%)
16. Columbus 16,985 (+0.6%)
17. D.C. United 16,244 (-4.6%)
18. FC Dallas 16,013 (-4.6%)
19. Chicago 16,003 (-0.4%)
20. Colorado 15,657  (+3.8%)
LEAGUE AVERAGE: 21,574

MLS's increase involved similar circumstances as expansion teams Orlando City and New York City FC averaged 32,847 and 29,016 fans a game to rank second and third in the league.

Seattle broke its league attendance record for an individual club set two years ago, averaging 44,247 fans a game. They've now recorded 124 consecutive sellouts for their MLS capacity at CenturyLink Field. Portland and Sporting Kansas City follow with sellout streaks of 85 and 70 games, respectively.

The Sounders were one of 12 returning teams to record increases over the 2014 season. The average attendance of the 18 returning teams jumped 3.5 percent. The biggest climbers were San Jose (up 40 percent) and New England (up 18 percent).

FC Dallas and D.C. United (both down 4.6 percent) recorded the biggest drops. D.C. United's 2014 attendance was boosted by a game it played as part of a doubleheader with a Spain-El Salvador friendly at FedEx Field.

-- The Sounders have led MLS in attendance in all of their seven seasons, and their average attendance in the last six seasons rank as the league's six highest average attendance marks.

Highest MLS Attendance:
AVG. TEAM (YEAR)
44,247 1. Seattle (2015)
44,038 2. Seattle (2013)
43,734 3. Seattle (2014)
43,144 4. Seattle (2012)
38,496 5. Seattle (2011)
36,173 6. Seattle (2010)
32,847 7. Orlando City (2015)
30,897 8. Seattle (2009)
29,016 9. New York City (2015)
28,916 10. LA Galaxy (1996)

After dropping in 2008 and 2009, MLS attendance has risen in five of the last six seasons. It is up almost 43 percent in the last decade.

MLS Attendance, Year-By-Year:
YEAR AVG.
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
2012 - 18,807
2013 - 18,594
2014 - 19,147
2015 - 21.574

-- MLS ranks seventh in the world in average attendance. It is one of only nine leagues that average more than 20,000 fans a game.

Soccer Attendance, Top 10 Leagues:
COUNTRY (LEAGUE) AVG.
1. Germany (Bundesliga)
43,177
2. England (Premier League)
36,487
3. Spain (La Liga)
28,773
4. Mexico (Liga MX, Apertura)
24,625
5. Italy (Serie A)
23,893
6. China (Super League)
22,580
7. Major League Soccer
21,574
8. Argentina (Primera A, 2014-15)
21,374
9. France (Ligue 1)
20,904
10. Germany (2. Bundesliga)
19,147
Source: Worldfootball.net


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