Monday, October 30, 2006

FC Dallas ups attendance 34%, 'Hoops Nation' is born


Their season might have crashed out on penalty kicks Saturday night, but the front office of FC Dallas does have some good news today as their 2006 attendance numbers are up 34% over 2005. The team averaged 14,982 fans a game during the season.

MLS attendance numbers are always interesting since one is never sure what they represent. Is it the number of fans who showed up and is it the number of tickets handed out? However, in the games I watched, it did seem that there were more fans in the stands for Dallas matches.

In addition, it looks like these numbers are actually comparing like events.

FC Dallas only moved into their new stadium in early August 2005 (about half way through the season). This move increased their numbers over the Cotton Bowl (where they played games earlier in the season). Their average number for the 11 matches they played in their new home in 2005 was 11,245 while their overall 2005 number (including games in the Cotton Bowl) was 10,463. If they had used this overall number, they would have shown a 43% increase, but they decided to go the more ligament way. I applaud them for this.

Good work by the FC Dallas front office, but they are not yet happy with the numbers.

"Until we're selling out every game I'm never going to be happy," said Michael Hitchcock, president/general manager of FCD and Pizza Hut Park. "I think most companies, if they could increase their business 34 percent, they'd be pretty happy. We're seeing the response from the soccer community, the corporate community and the fan community."

And it looks like next year could see another up click in sales as the team will no longer charge for parking. The team tried this out on Saturday and it seemed to go over well.

"The response has been unbelievably positive. They're able to park about 50 feet away from the stands," Hitchcock said. "There are not many stadiums in the country where you can do that."

In other FC Dallas news, the club launched "FCD Hoops Nation" on Friday. This will be the official worldwide supporters club of FC Dallas.

'For a one-time $10 fee, fans will become lifetime members of the FCD Hoops Nation. Fans that join during the first year will receive a welcome package that includes an FCD Hoops Nation membership card, a commemorative t-shirt, an FC Dallas folder, bumper sticker and 2006 team photo.'

I've never been a big fan of the 'hoops' nickname (I like the Toros better), but I have to commend the Dallas franchise for making this happen. NFL, baseball and college football teams are doing this, so why not MLS clubs. It is a good, cheap way for fans to stay involved with the club. That said, why did they call it 'Hoops Nation' if it will be worldwide? Would 'Hoops World' be too cheesy?

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Susan said...

Mike, I'm confused by "Hoops Nation." To me, hoops=basketball? And in my mind anything about Dallas + hoops = Mavericks. This is because my parents and younger brother live down there and my brother worked for the Mavs for quite a while.

That said, the attendance news is welcome and a trip to the new park in Frisco is on my to-do list for 2007. The free parking is an interesting idea and I'm wondering if more MLS stadiums could pick up on that as a way of drawing a few more fans who are cost-sensitive.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Mike H said...

Susan,

That's part of the reason I don't like the hoops name. I mean how many people in the US actually call horizontally stripped jerseys 'hoop' jerseys?

It might be common in the Scottish league, but we are a long way from Scotland.

I'm looking forward to my first trip to the stadium in a couple weeks. I'm hoping for a good environment and a great game.

The whole price angle is a great one for MLS to go by. With baseball tickets going for $20+ for the cheap seats and football tickets going for even more, MLS has a great way to push good and cheap family/friend fun. No cost for parking is another good way to advance that thought.

Thanks for your thoughts.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Blog Master said...

This is not exactly on topic. Tried to email but figured that your will get this message.
Greetings:
The Big XII has women's soccer (very successful programs, 3 teams in the top 25) but no varsity men's teams.

Please sign a petition to bring Men's Soccer to the Big 12.
www.petitiononline.com/big12men/

also visit http://big12menssoccer.blogspot.com
This has information including email address to the various Big 12 athletic directors.

Be sure to have your kids, spouses, teams sign as well.

I know there are Title IX issues that must be addressed. No need to start that debate. The Big 10, ACC, Pac10 also are subject to Title IX but somehow have managed to include men's soccer. With enough support this issue can be addressed.

7:03 PM  

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