Wednesday, October 24, 2007

2007 MLS Attendance Numbers - Full Season

The 2007 regular season is over and the attendance numbers look good. The league average for the year is 16,485 per game, which is a significant jump from 2006's 15,518 and 2005's 15,108. Actually, 2007 represents the best average since the inaugural run in 1996.

Home Attendance
TeamHGTotalAvgBest vsWorst vsHR
LA15363,78224,25227,000*19,225 RSL 6/176-6-3
TFC15301,90620,12720,522 LA 8/0519,123 HD 5/165-7-3
DC15293,55419,57046,686 LA 8/0912,908 NE 5/0310-2-3
NE15251,13216,74235,402 LA 8/129,508 CF 5/068-3-4
NY15247,94816,53066,237 LA 8/187,802 CR 5/139-3-3
CF15247,35616,49021,374 LA 10/2110,115 CC 6/036-3-6
RSL15239,39515,96024,633 LA 9/1913,003 HD 8/044-7-4
HD15238,24015,88330,588 LA 10/0711,114 TFC 7/158-3-4
FCD15227,18215,14520,500**9,165 NE 4/297-5-3
CC15226,70615,11322,555 LA 9/3010,254 KC 6/205-5-5
CV15226,22715,08227,000***8,756 FCD 5/2610-1-4
CR15221,22914,74918,458 LA 5/2610,677 NE 8/166-4-5
KC15173,78411,58632,867 LA 9/277,101 CR 7/225-3-2
HG: Number of Home Games, HR: Home Record
* LA reached 27,000 six times - 4/28 CV, 8/23 CV, 9/01 RSL, 9/23 FCD, 10/13 HD & 10/18 NY
** FC Dallas reached 20,500 twice - 4/22 CR & 10/20 KC
*** Chivas USA reached 27,000 twice - 5/20 LA & 9/29 CF

Nothing overly surprising from these numbers. There is the big 15-16,000 pack with a couple teams sliding under and three jumping nicely over. Also, no surprise that every team had their largest home crowd against LA, except FC Dallas who did not have a MLS game against LA when Beckham was on the team. It is interesting to note that home record does not seem to have a big influence on the numbers. But how do these numbers compare to last season?

Last Season
TeamAvg Attend 06Avg Attend 07% Change
NE11,78616,742+ 42.0%
CR12,05614,749+ 22.3%
CF14,08816,490+ 17.0%
LA20,81424,252+ 16.5%
CC13,29415,113+ 13.7%
NY14,57016,530+ 13.5%
DC18,21519,570+ 7.4%
KC11,08311,586+ 4.5%
FCD14,98215,145+ 1.1%
RSL16,36615,960- 2.5%
HD18,93515,883- 16.1%
CV19,84015,082- 24.0%

Way to go New England for getting those numbers up, but will they be able to do it again next year without the benefit of as many international double headers? Colorado did well to get people to their new stadium, the Fire used Blanco to get their seats filled and the Crew, New York and DC should all be happy with their bumps.

Kansas City's numbers are lackluster but they are better then what could have been since the team didn't know where they were going to play till a month or so before the season. With this in mind, this year has got to be seen as a minor success, but also a warning that they need to decide on a 2008 home soon.

Both Real and Houston are in similar boats as the aura of a new team is wearing off. That said, I am a bit surprised to see the Dynamo's numbers down as much as they are since they are league champions.

Dallas grew but I doubt they are very happy with the rate. I wonder if the stadium's location has anything to do with the stagnant number?

Finally, what is up with Chivas? The best year by far and they dropped a quarter of their total attendance. Their numbers picked up after they removed GM Javier Leo, but they still have a great deal of work ahead of them.

Home Capacity
TeamAvg AttendCapacityAvg % of CapStadium Type
TFC 20,12720,52298.1%SSS
SSS: Soccer Specific Stadium, CS: College Stadium, NFL: NFL Stadium

It is nice to see every sss above 50%, but again Chivas sticks out as the oddball. Toronto and Colorado have got to be happy with their numbers, although the Rapids obvious have a lot more room to improve.

DC did an amazing job in an American football stadium, while NE's, NY's and KC's percentages show the other side of things. Having a stadium less then a quarter full really hurts any environment.

But how much do these numbers have to do with Beckham?

Home Attendance minus Beckham matches
TeamAvg w/oAvg w/% Change
NY12,97916,530- 21.5%
KC10,06611,586- 13.1%
DC17,63319,570- 9.9%
NE15,40916,742- 8.0%
HD14,83215,883- 6.6%
RSL15,34015,960- 3.9%
CV14,49315,082- 3.9%
CC14,58215,113- 3.5%
CF16,14216,490- 2.1%
CR14,51014,749- 1.6%
TFC20,09920,127- .1%
Again, not a lot of surprises here. The teams in the largest stadiums take the biggest hit with out their Beckham match in the equation. Actually, if there is a surprise it is how little of an impact Beckham actually had on the numbers. Yes, 5-10% is a lot but it is not everything. I'm sure there is an argument to be made about a 'Beckham effect', like people buying 5 game packs in order to get a Beckham ticket, but overall, the numbers without Beckham are still pretty respectable.

It is also worth noting that without the Beckham game, only 6 teams do worse then they did last year (NY, KC, DC, HD, CV RSL). Don't get me wrong, that is still over half the list but it also means five teams improved (not counted LA or Toronto) even without the big man.

But what about road shows?
Road Attendance
TeamAGTotal Att.AvgAR
AG: Number of Away Games, AR: Away Record

It should come as no surprise that LA is top or that Chicago is second. If anything, this is proof that the designated player idea has worked out at least in one way for MLS. In fact, the four teams that currently have a designated player hold the top four road averages. It could be a coincidence or it could be fans showing up to see the big paycheck talent.

The bottom five positions are also interesting. Toronto makes sense because they were not very good and Colorado is a team most people seem to forget about, so that explains their numbers, but KC, Houston and New England had quality sides this year (although KC fell to pieces toward the end). I know the difference in the numbers is minimal, but one would think Houston and New England as 2 of the best teams in the league with some well known players would have had better road attendance.

So there are the full attendance numbers for the 2007 regular season. What does it tell us? Maybe that people actually started tuning in a bit more and showing up, but we will need to see if this once a one time 'oh wow, Beckham is here' event or if the league can keep the growth going. With San Jose not really having a home pitch, KC still struggling to get noticed, and NY and NE still not packing them in even with strong play, next year might prove a bit difficult.

By the way, here are the season ending numbers from the USL-First Division (thanks to Lucas over at Nerdword)

Here are the numbers:
TeamHGTotal AttAvg Att
Montreal Impact14154,49711,036
Rochester Raging Rhinos14130,7009,336
Portland Timbers 1495,5926,828
Vancouver Whitecaps1472,2645,162
Carolina RailHawks1471,735 5,124
Puerto Rico Islanders1466,1434,725
Charleston Battery1455,5503,968
Seattle Sounders1446,5453,325
Minnesota Thunder1444,1103,151
Atlanta Silverbacks14 36,0032,572
California Victory1415,6191,116
Miami FC1412,828916

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Blogger dwd303 said...

not too surprised by the jump! Hope to see those numbers grow. Great info!

6:09 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Chowda said...

DC's stadium had a lot of seats removed when the Nationals started playing there. That really skews the "NFL stadium" percentages. IIRC, RFK used to hold around 70k.

And NE usually has 2 international doubleheaders. In 2006, they had none. If they had a doubleheader for the Brazil-Mexico game, that would have been an anomaly. Becks had a lot to do with it and so did better game times. However, there was more to the attendance rise than just these factors. The team has been making community inroads and the marketing department might be starting to wake up. We'll see...

6:34 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Actually, RFK Stadium, when the Redskins played there (ie, before the Nationals) only ever held 56,000 in attendance. Once the Nationals helped gut 10,000 seats for the outfield, the DC United front office decided that they would only ever open up 23,000 seats on a regular basis. We did have several matches this season where they changed this ruling, but the actual capacity of RFK is somewhere around 46,000.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

In Houston, they swapped a double header (Barca v CLub America & Houston v LAG) in Reliant (70,550) for the Beckham game (30,588).

That alone would lower their 2006 average by 2,664/game (16,270). The decline not explained by this swap is -2.38%. And this I think can be explained by the over 52,000 fans they drew to the SuperLiga event.

Great analysis.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Mike H said...


I forgot about the Barca game in Houston. Yes, that does explain a lot. Thanks for reminding me.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

Your number for DC is wrong. DC's final regular season average was 20,967.

Also, RFK's capacity before baseball was 56,000. About 6,000seats were sacraficed in the reconfiguration from soccer only , to multipurpose. Baseball capacity at RFK was 49,000. Soccer Capacity at RFK is 46,000. The lower level holds 19,500 now (as opposed to 24,500 before the reconfiguration) The mezzanine level holds approx another 1,500 seats. (thats the ring between the upper and lower levels)

Just FYI.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Zac said...

nice page,
where did you get your information?
i am doing a school project and would like to use this info.


10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i flew from dallas to boston for the brazil mexico game and had to leave a few days early for dallas ne..i was blown away they did not double hearder this game..stupid.

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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9:43 PM  

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