MLS and the Summer of Soccer Continued

Posted on by Peter C


Summer of Soccer Continues

The 14 matches that were played during the first week of the ‘Summer of Soccer’ drew 168,687. All games were part of entities owned or marketed by Soccer United Marketing(SUM).

The Gold Cup kicked off this week. By Sunday, three of the nine doubleheaders that constitute the group phase were played. The other 6 will be contested this week.

Here’s how this week’s events fared …

Summer of Soccer Attendances
Opponents Venue Date Event Att
 Panama v Guadeloupe Oakland-Alameda Cty Col.
Oakland, CA
Sun, Jul 05 Gold Cup  32,500 
 Nicaragua v Mexico
 Honduras v Haiti Qwest Field, Seattle, WA Sat, Jul 04 Gold Cup  15,387 
 USA v Grenada
 Jamaica v Canada Home Depot Center
Fri, Jul 03 Gold Cup  27,000 
 El Salvador v Costa Rica
 Port. Timbers v B. Munich II PGE Park, Portland, OR Thu, Jul 02  Friendly  9,340 
       total  84,227 
       average  21,057 

The three Gold Cup doubleheaders are marketed(Ch-ching!) by SUM.

Do you think the USSF are scratching their collective heads over the attendance at the US match in Seattle? I didn’t expect a full Qwest Field, but only 15G? I suspect there will be as many expanations as there are fans. So here are a couple of starters…

  • US fans have become sophisticated enough to not come out in droves for a ‘B’ team.
  • US fans have become sophisticated enough to not come out for Gold Cup that doesn’t lead to the next Confederations Cup.
  • It appears there were no fireworks directly related to the Qwest Field matches(I don’t even know if that’s possible). Anyway, it was the 4th and MLS attendances were strong.

    Any ideas why the crowd was so sparse in Seattle?

    How Does the Gold Cup Impact MLS Soccer

    USMNT Gold Cup
    MLS Same Day Attendance v Average
     Group Play 6/7/2007 07 Avg 7/4/2009 09 Avg
     Houston  12,017   15,883 
     Columbus  14,370   13,056 
     Colorado  19,680   13,045 
     Kansas City  10,385   9,789 
     FC Dallas  14,327   9,306 
     Los Angeles  20,609   19,292 

    “Soccer United Marketing manages marketing, public relations and operations for the Gold Cup tournament.”

    Now what exactly does that mean in terms of revenue for SUM? Just a straight management fee? Maybe a percent of merchandise sales? Points here or there or fixed income? Does its position with MLS create for SUM a conflict of interest or a complementary relationship? Hint: As in many life scenarios, it’s both.

    MLS owes its survival to the the creation of, and continuing operations of SUM. The Gold Cup, and by that I mean CONCACAF, is a clients of SUM. Some of the revenues that Soccer United Marketing receives will eventually be distributed to MLS teams, in particular the teams not yet making a profit(the majority of the league’s teams). That’s the complementary part. Then there is servicing the client to maximize its revenues which may or may not coincide with the best interests of MLS. Yes, the July 4 direct conflict is the most recent case in point.

    That’s the tightrope that SUM is continuously perched upon.

    As we can see, in ’07 Houston’s match on the day of a USMNT Gold Cup match was below it’s eventual season average. Whereas this year, it being July 4, all teams had attendances higher than their current averages despite the fact that the games in Colorado, Kansas City and Dallas were played as the US was playing Grenada in its Gold Cup opener. It is clear that CONCACAF and FIFA must be aware of the uniqueness of July 4 in the USA and at the very least shouldn’t schedule any future USA matches on the 4th. And if a match does get scheduled, it should end no later than 5pm EDT. This would mean any team in the league with a July 4 match, bundled with fireworks/concerts in the evening, would not be competing directly with the US team.

    July 4 and MLS Briefs

    This is only the 2nd time the US Men have played on Jul 4. The last time was a loss to Brasil in the 1994 World Cup, before the league began play(1996).

    Even though the Galaxy drew more than its season average, it was the lowest ever attendance for a Jul 4 match. That’s saying something since LA has played at home on the 4th every year since the league’s inception. And in case you were wondering, Colorado is the only other team that has played at home on the 4th every year.

    Jul 4th Matches – Current MLS Cities
       GP  Average  
     Chicago  1   10,387   
     Colorado  11   46,569   Mile High
     Colorado  3   18,847   Dick’s
     Columbus  2   15,542   
     Dallas  10   16,276   
     Houston  1   8,497   
     Kansas City  4   14,363   
     Los Angeles  7   55,744   LA Coliseum or Rose Bowl
     Los Angeles  7   25,138   Home Depot
     New England  2   19,945   
     Salt Lake  3   20,541   
     San Jose  3   32,617   

    Congestion for some

    US Open
    Jul 7 Jul 21 or Jul 22 Sep 2
    Qtr Finals Semifinals Final
    DCU, Houston, KC, Seattle    

    Seattle was off this week, DCU is off next week, so Houston and KC will be playing 3 matches in 8 days during the Jul 4-11 time period.


    CONCACAF Champions League
    Jul 28 – Jul 30 Aug 4 – Aug 6
    Prelim First Leg Prelim Second Leg

    DCU and TFC play MLS league games on Jul 25 and August 2. That means they will each play 4 times during the period Jul 25-Aug 6(13 days). RBNY play an MLS game on Jul 25, but are off the week of August 2.

  • 2 Responses to MLS and the Summer of Soccer Continued

    1. soccer goals says:

      It looks like someone is doing well during the recession.

    2. Rex says:

      The dynamo can handle the busy stretch. They played 9 games in 30 days last year including a stretch of 4 games in 4 COUNTRIES in 12 days!

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