MLS attendance takes big jump

MLS average attendance is on course to smash the league record set last year and top the 20,000 mark for the first time.

Through Week 7, MLS is averaging 20,873 fans a game, up almost 16 percent from the average after Week 7 a year ago. The final league average was 19,145.

2015 MLS Attendance:
42,135 Orlando City (-)
39,606 Seattle (+2%)
28,328 New York City FC (-)
25,245 Montreal (-7%)
23,276 LA Galaxy (+15%)
21,144 Portland (+2%)
20,821 Houston (-.005%)
20,646 Vancouver (-2%)
20,496 Real Salt Lake (+3%)
20,066 Sporting KC (+2%)
18,751 NY Red Bulls (+5%)
18,000 San Jose (+71%)
17,691 Philadelphia (+2%)
16,605 Columbus (+20%)
15,365 FC Dallas (-9%)
14,121 Chicago (-5%)
14,092 Colorado (+7%)
13,841 D.C. United (+20%)
12,650 New England (-10%)
0 *Toronto FC
20,873 LEAGUE (+16%)
Note: Change is difference vs. average over same dates in 2014.
*Won't open at BMO Field until May 10 because of renovation.

The addition of expansion teams Orlando City and New York City FC, first and third overall in attendance, and demise of Chivas USA, which averaged only 7,063 fans in 2014, have been big factors in the jump, but 11 of the 17 returning teams that have opened their home schedules are up as compared to their average after the same dates in 2014.

Most impressively, the average attendance of the 17 returning teams is up almost 5 percent compared to last year through the same number of dates.

With the opening of Avaya Stadium, the San Jose Earthquakes are up 71 percent after three home games, all announced sellouts. Columbus and D.C. United are both up 20 percent. The biggest drops so far are at New England (down 10 percent) and FC Dallas (down 9 percent).
6 comments about "MLS attendance takes big jump".
  1. JCR 3, April 20, 2015 at 9:51 p.m.

    This is encouraging, but MLS has also reduced the amount of mid-week games which is partially accounting for the increase plus of course the normal excitement with new teams but more encouraging is seeing the increase in the existing team's increase. Nonetheless more of the attention has to be on TV ratings and other measurements on the media's coverage of MLS in cities such as NYC, LA, Chicago and Boston which is which will be ultimate determinant as to whether MLS will make it's goal as one of the big leagues in soccer/football.

  2. Mike Jacome, April 21, 2015 at 1:43 a.m.

    I believe attendance will reach 20k average this year, but barely so. The average is dropping from 25k on week one to 20k on week 7. Good thing that seattle hasn't played yet any of their 4 scheduled full house games. I believe it should be against Portland in August, Galaxy, RSL and Vancouver. All of them by the end of the season.

  3. Glenn Maddock, April 21, 2015 at 6:59 p.m.

    Good news, but also skewed by Seattle, as always, and the novelty factor of Yankee Stadium and Orlando. The test of those markets will be during the long, hot summer when they have losing records. Do fans still show up.

    I'm afraid the TV ratings is the real dilemma. The average MLS fan is not a TV sports watcher. They are hipsters who want to be out doing things, not watching TV. Mexicans & Euros love watching their teams on TV, but American soccer fans do not. It's a different generation. Many of my younger friends, who love going to matches, don't even have TV's.

  4. steve chamberland, April 22, 2015 at 8:01 a.m.

    I think people confuse MLS ratings with the growth of soccer in the USA I love soccer and want the MLS to keep growing but more USA soccer fans get up Saturday morning and watch the EPL then watch MLS games the kids wear EPL and LA Liga shirts its just beter soccer

  5. Phil Hardy, April 22, 2015 at 11:46 a.m.

    I guess it's only me, but when I have watched several MLS games so far this year, I have seen major league empty seats: Red Bulls, Dallas, Colorado. What I see on TV does not match up to what is listed in this article. There is no worse buzz kill for a casual fan than to turn on a match and see massive amounts of empty seats in what are already small custom built stadiums. I am calling bullshit on some of these numbers. MLS needs to stop programming TV slots for teams that can't fill their stadiums and create the excitement casual fans need to feel in order to follow the sport on the couch.

  6. Mike Jacome, April 22, 2015 at 10:05 p.m.

    Phil Hardy, in fact, out of the 20 MLS teams the only ones that their sold out crowds mean really sold out ( people attending and not just tickets sold) are only 5. Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake and Kansas. I would put Orlando as a sixth one but at 42,000 average in three games boosted by a 64,000 opening game although impressive I'm still not bought. I hope they can keep up with at least 30,000 per game, that would be awesome. The next teams following closely to this 5 teams are LA, San Jose, and NYRB, yes last game it started with a almost empty stadium but during the first half many fans were still struggling with NJ traffic, but the actual attendance was closer to 20,000. Outside of these 8, maybe 9 teams...the remaining MLS teams have number in the USL pro or NASL level. (12,000 to 15,000 average per game)

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