Crowd Count: U.S. friendly attendances plummet

The USA-New Zealand match drew only 9,012 fans, the lowest ever for a men's national team match at Washington's RFK Stadium. It was also the sixth straight U.S. home friendly game to draw fewer than 10,000 fans.

The previous record in the modern era for the longest string of friendly crowds under 10,000 was five in 1993 when the USA barnstormed under Bora Milutinovic and played everyone (Cayman Islands) and everywhere (Bethlehem, Pa., and High Point, N.C.) in preparation for the 1994 World Cup at home.

The drop in support follows a strong run of big crowds. The previous 13 home friendlies in 2014 and 2015 averaged 33,918 fans.

U.S. Men's Friendly Crowds:
9,012 USA-New Zealand in Washington, D.C. (Oct. 11, 2016)
8,894 USA-Bolivia Kansas City, Kansas (May 28, 2016)
9,893 USA-Ecuador in Frisco, Texas (May 25, 2016)
9,274 USA-Canada in Carson, Calif.  (February 5, 2016)
8,803 USA-Iceland in Carson, Calif. (January 31, 2016)
9,214 USA-Costa Rica in Harrison, N.J. (October 13, 2015)

16 comments about "Crowd Count: U.S. friendly attendances plummet".
  1. Paul Estrada, October 12, 2016 at 3:20 a.m.

    The common denominator is the underwhelming quality of opponent in those games. The US perfmormances didn't help much either.

  2. David Mont, October 12, 2016 at 12:33 p.m.

    It's because that this US team under JK is excruciatingly boring to watch. I was really suffering during yesterday's game, and frankly started flipping channels midway through the second half. The team has no flow, no cohesion, no style of its own. Just disjoint, chaotic movement of players and kicking the ball.

  3. Joe Goss, October 12, 2016 at 12:56 p.m.

    It's more complex than that. This doesn't include the WCQs and Copa America matches that the men played in the US during that time. Those matches draw much better (you can argue that the opponent does the drawing... but it's still money that USSF gets all or part of). Women's Olympic Qualifiers early this year didn't draw well at all.

  4. Andrew Brown, October 12, 2016 at 1:50 p.m.

    Fans are too knowledgeable now. No one wants to pay full USSoccer price for a friendly with New Zealand.In a game where the master tinkerer doesn't even pretend to try to put players in proper positions.

    For those who say, "It's soccer so no one cares," you see the same thing with the USA basketball team playing meaningless games against China 3 nights in a row in the runups to the Olympics. I'm pretty sure Groupon was even selling tickets to see the US Basketball team at Staples center for $5-$8/per.

  5. beautiful game replied, October 12, 2016 at 10:24 p.m.

    A. Brown is right. I wouldn't pay to see this team perform in a friendly, especially at RFK, the pit of all pits.
    And Bill W., your suggestion is quite insulting to any football fan.

  6. j bapper, October 12, 2016 at 5:33 p.m.

    I agree with Andrew Brown that fans are too knowledgeable to give their hard earned money for a crap game like this. I guaranty a good portion of those people attending were given tickets to this game from corporate sponsors. On top of that they play the game in an old football stadium with a lousy pitch with zero ambience. At least play these friendly's in a soccer stadium.

  7. Bill Wilson, October 12, 2016 at 6:36 p.m.

    US Soccer should consider playing friendlies against less attractive teams in cities that do not have MLS teams. I agree that big city fans aren't buying exhibitions with sub-standard rosters against unknown teams. I also suspect the raging argument about why we were playing games against lower rated teams over the last week didn't help sell tickets to this one. With USL, there are numerous markets with decent stadiums now. If we are going to have lousy crowds in traditional cities then take the program Off-Broadway.

  8. Jeff Mccullough, October 12, 2016 at 9:57 p.m.

    US Soccer prices the games too high. I would go if the prices were more reasonable.

  9. Andrew Brown replied, October 13, 2016 at 1:40 p.m.

    You would think US Soccer could do what NBA, MLB, NHL and NFL teams do and offer tiered pricing to these games. Go ahead and charge 1-bill a piece for USA/Mexico or Argentina or Chile or Colombia but don't belittle us with these prices for friendly match-ups with semi-pro teams. Even in qualifying they ought to do the same. Who cares what round of qualifying we're playing against St Vincent & Grenadines, they're not even a professional team. If you're afraid of undercutting your market value, then offer it via Groupon or other discount avenues to get more kids, families and other interested parties out to to games. Those are exactly the kind of events you want the kids and families to attend, not the much more intense environments of a Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, etc WCQ.

  10. Ryan Dold, October 13, 2016 at 3:56 p.m.

    Boring games with not one world class superstar or even prospect and you want to bank on these games? Pulisjc is good but not world class. Dont know why they trying to hype him up. Fans know what they want to see. Get somebody like Neymar, dinho, Suarez then you cam charge more. Following Spain, England model wont get you those players.

  11. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 14, 2016 at 1:46 p.m.

    Yes, Ryan we know. You are far too sophisticated a soccer fan to watch Americans play. We are so impressed!

  12. Ryan Dold replied, October 14, 2016 at 4:19 p.m.

    Sorry, I should just let my patriotism blind me to facts and pay $$ just on that alone! Thx for helping me see!

  13. Bob Ashpole, October 13, 2016 at 7:54 p.m.

    The WNT's average attendance this year is significantly better than this.

  14. Goal Goal replied, October 13, 2016 at 10:10 p.m.

    The WNT plays a more exciting game. Every once in a while they attack the goal. Can't say that for the men.

  15. Andrew Brown replied, October 14, 2016 at 1:24 p.m.

    If you're going to do the oranges-to-apples comparison you might as well compare the smallest orange to the smallest apple. I'll tell you the smallest women's crowds are about half the size.

  16. Bob Ashpole replied, October 14, 2016 at 11:20 p.m.

    Andrew it is not an apples-to-oranges comparison unless one is talking about gender instead of soccer or are representing the USSF in a pay discrimination case. Logically if the lower end of the distribution is considered, the higher end of the distribution should also be considered. Without those lower-end numbers the gap between the two averages would be even greater.

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