Take Me Out to the Ballgame – Week 21

The Week 21 numbers look like this…

  5 year comparison
  Week 21 162 GP YTD
  Avg +/- GP Avg +/- Avg +/- GP
 2006   14,771     9   15,093     15,424     137 
 2007   17,381   17.67%   9   16,134   6.90%   15,996   3.71%   138 
 2008   15,625   -10.11%   7   16,409   1.70%   17,149   7.21%   139 
 2009   23,667   51.47%   6   15,819   -3.59%   16,572   -3.37%   149 
 2010   14,347   -39.38%   8   16,500   4.31%   16,500   -0.44%   162 
YTD – 162 Games
  Average Median %<10K %>20k
 2006    15,093     12,979    21.60%   16.67% 
 2007    16,134     14,680    9.26%   24.69% 
 2008    16,409     15,188    11.73%   24.69% 
 2009    15,819     14,525    15.43%   19.75% 
 2010    16,500     14,384    8.02%   21.60% 

Here are the attendance comparisons to 2009:

MLS Attendance – Equal # of Home Games
  2009 2010  
  Att Cap % Att Att +/- GP Cap % Cap
 Seattle  30,204   93.22%   36,155   19.70%   11   101.84%   35,500 
 Toronto  20,220   92.00%   20,655   2.15%   11   93.98%   21,978 
 Philadelphia NA NA  20,343  NA  9   89.09%   18,500 
 LA Galaxy  19,292   71.45%   20,319   5.32%   9   75.26%   27,000 
 N.Y./N.J. Red Bulls  12,487   49.57%   17,425   39.54%   10   69.18%   25,189 
 Houston  15,836   70.38%   17,061   7.74%   11   75.83%   22,500 
 Real Salt Lake  16,213   78.95%   16,755   3.35%   11   86.64%   19,340 
 Chicago  13,027   65.13%   15,486   18.87%   9   77.43%   20,000 
 D.C. United  15,173   67.44%   14,471   -4.63%   11   64.32%   22,500 
 ChivasUSA  16,211   60.04%   14,268   -11.99%   9   52.84%   27,000 
 Columbus Crew  13,660   68.30%   14,173   3.76%   11   70.87%   20,000 
 Colorado Rapids  12,918   71.42%   13,158   1.86%   9   72.75%   18,086 
 NE Revolution  14,188   63.06%   11,814   -16.73%   10   52.51%   22,500 
 FC Dallas  9,407   44.39%   10,889   15.75%   10   51.38%   21,193 
 KC Wizards  10,010   96.39%   10,109   0.99%   11   97.34%   10,385 
 San Jose  11,104   62.65%   9,638   -13.21%   10   93.57%   10,300 

My disclaimer about the capacity calculations

For my calculations, I’ve taken the 3 teams playing in Amercan football stadiums, DCU in RFK, Houston in Robertson and New England in Foxboro and assigned maximum capacities at 22,500. I took the 22,500 number from an approximate average of the soccer specific stadiums in use.

  • Philly’s first two home games were played at Lincoln Financial Field. The announced capacity for the Union was published as 38,000 and will be calculated as such.
  • San Jose’s 4th match in 2009 was at Oakland Alameda Coliseum and drew over 15,800. Their 7th match was also at OAC and they drew over 17,100.


    Chicago had a fair crowd of 14,000+ for its midweek tilt v the Revs. A record crowd in Toronto saw their 17 game home unbeaten streak come to an end. San Jose also set an attendance record(at Buck Shaw) as they beat the Galaxy. What looked like another drab turnout at Crew Stadium was reported at 16,000+. A typical soft showing in Dallas, despite the club’s success. A full house in Kansas City. Can’t wait to see how they draw in their new stadium next year. Almost 19,000 saw a thrilling match in Houston. A little over 12,100 came out in rain soaked DC to see their first win in 2 months.

    Regardless of how well San Jose and the Wizards did at the gate, when you have home games in Columbus, Dallas, San Jose and Kansas City in the same week, it’s a real numbers buster.

    Rookie Watch: Tony Tchani got his first assist in MLS. Need some help from readers for other outstanding rookie performances.

    Joel Lindpere, on my preseason ‘watch list'(bottom of post) had a good game for RBNY v TFC. Kei Kamara scored and had 2 assists for the Wizards, while Ryan Smith got his 8th assist for KC.

    Week 21 Games
    Chicago 2 Chicago Fire Confidential
    New England 1 Revolution Soccer
    Toronto 1 TFC Connected
    RBNY 4 Red Bulls Reader
    San Jose 1 San Jose Center Line Soccer
    Los Angeles 0 LA – Official Blog
    Columbus 3 Columbus Dispatch – Crew XTra
    Colorado 1 Undercurrent
    FC Dallas 1 3rd Degree – Buzz Carrick
    Chivas USA 0 Chicago Fire Confidential
    Kansas City 4 Kansas City – Hillcrest Road
    New England 1 Revolution Soccer
    Houston 4 Soccer y Fútbol – Jose de Jesus Ortiz
    Chicago 3 Chicago Fire Confidential
    DC United 2 DCU – Steve Goff – Soccer Insider
    Philadelphia 0 Philadelphia Union Talk
       GP  W  D  L  GF  GA  GFA  GAA  PPG  PTS  GD
     Los Angeles  21   13   4   4   32   14   1.52   0.67   2.05   43   18 
     Columbus  21   12   4   5   31   20   1.48   0.95   1.90   40   11 
     Real Salt Lake  21   11   6   4   36   16   1.71   0.76   1.86   39   20 
     Dallas  20   9   9   2   28   17   1.40   0.85   1.80   36   11 
     NY Red Bull  21   10   4   7   25   23   1.19   1.10   1.62   34   2 
     San Jose  19   8   5   6   22   20   1.16   1.05   1.53   29   2 
     Seattle  21   8   5   8   23   25   1.10   1.19   1.38   29   -2 
     Colorado  20   7   7   6   22   21   1.10   1.05   1.40   28   1 
     Toronto FC  20   7   5   8   22   25   1.10   1.25   1.30   26   -3 
     Chicago  18   6   6   6   26   26   1.44   1.44   1.33   24   0 
     Kansas City  20   6   5   9   19   23   0.95   1.15   1.15   23   -4 
     Houston  21   6   5   10   27   33   1.29   1.57   1.10   23   -6 
     New England  20   6   3   11   20   33   1.00   1.65   1.05   21   -13 
     Chivas USA  20   5   4   11   22   26   1.10   1.30   0.95   19   -4 
     Philadelphia  20   4   5   11   23   36   1.15   1.80   0.85   17   -13 
     DC United  21   4   3   14   15   35   0.71   1.67   0.71   15   -20 

    Well, we’re now in the stretch run for the playoffs and the Supporters’ Shield. Dallas could put themselves into the thick of it with a win over Columbus next week. San Jose could solidify its playoff position by winning its game in hand. They next play RBNY. Chicago seems to be in the best position to bump a team out of the playoffs as it has 2(or 3) games in hand over the teams that are ahead of them. They meet Seattle next weekend, with Seattle coming off a midweek Champions League match. Alas, my Philadelphia Union, on the heels of their loss in DC and taking only 3 points from their last 4 home matches will not duplicate expansion Seattle of last year by making the playoffs. By the way, did you notice there were no draws this week.


    • RSL are unbeaten in their last 21 regular season home games.
    • Dallas are unbeaten in their last 11 games.
    • Dallas are also unbeaten in their last 9 road games.
    • Colorado are unbeaten in their last 6 home games.

    MLS Throw Ins

    • LA is the only club to have earned more than 50% of its points on the road.
    • There have been 40 draws compared to 50 in ’09 thru the first 162 matches.
    • There have been 98 clean sheets in the first 162 matches, counting scoreless draws as 2.
    • Through 162 games: goal scoring is down around 5.5% from 2009, 2.43 vs 2.57.
    • RSL has lost only twice in its last 40 home matches. They lost only once in ’08 and ’09, a feat matched by Houston.
    • DC United have yielded 14 goals in the last 15 minutes.
    • Dallas have not given up more than 1 goal since April 22.
    • San Jose has gone from one the worst allowing late goals in ’09 to the stingiest in ’10(as a percentage of total goals allowed).

    N.A. SuperLiga

    The participants in the 2010 N.A. SuperLiga and their respective finishes in the last completed season are …

     Houston  3   UNAM Pumas  4 
     Chicago  5   Monarchas Morelia  7 
     Chivas USA  6   Pachuca  8 
     New England  7   Puebla  13 
    N.A. SuperLiga
    Group A
      W D L Pts GD
     Houston  2   1   0   7   2 
     Puebla  2   0   1   6   2 
     Chivas USA  1   1   1   4   0 
     Pachuca  0   0   3   0   -5 
    Group B
      W D L Pts GD
     New England  3   0   0   9   3 
     Monarchas Morelia  1   1   1   4   3 
     Chicago  1   0   2   3   -4 
     UNAM Pumas  0   1   2   1   -2 
    N.A. SuperLiga Semifinals
     New England(1)(5) v Puebla(1)(3)  Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA  Wed, Aug 4
     Houston(0) v Morelia(1)  Robertson Stadium, Houston, TX  Thu, Aug 5
    SuperLiga after Semifinals
      Total Game Dates Average
    2007  234,751   14   16,768 
    2008  186,148   14   13,296 
    2009  86,948   11   7,904 
    2010  118,298   12   9,858 
    3 Doubleheaders in 2009 – 2 in 2010

    New England will attempt to win its 2nd SuperLiga title on Sept 1 at Gillette Stadium.

    CONCACAF Champions League

    A good showing for MLS as the group phase got underway. The only loss was suffered by Seattle, the only team that was on the road.

    • Aug 17 — Toronto 2 Cruz Azul 1
    • Aug 18 — Columbus 1 Municipal 0
    • Aug 18 — Real Salt Lake 2 Arabe Unido 1
    • Aug 19 — Marathón 2 Seattle 1

    Group play continues this week. The matches with MLS teams are(home team listed first) …

    • Aug 24 – Arabe Unido v Toronto
    • Aug 24 – Santos Laguna v Columbus
    • Aug 25 – Cruz Azul v Real Salt Lake
    • Aug 25 – Seattle v Monterrey
    • Aug 19 – Marathón v Seattle–>

    Lamar Hunt US Open Cup

    The winner will compete in the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League.

    In the semifinals, Columbus will play DC United on Sept 1, 7:30 p.m. ET @ RFK Stadium, Wash, DC and Seattle will play ChivasUSA on Sept 1, 10 p.m. ET @ Starfire Sports Complex, Tukwila, WA.

    The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup structure


    You can decide if fixture congestion has had an effect so far. Of the clubs that participated in multiple non-league competitions, only Seattle and Toronto have not been bounced out yet. LA crashed out of the CCL and US Open Cup. Chicago and Houston lost in the N.A. SuperLiga and the US Open Cup. Chivas USA lost in SuperLiga but are in the US Open Cup semifinals. New England lost in the US Open Cup but are in the N.A. SuperLiga final. Columbus and RSL have the automatic berths in the group phase of the CCL, but RSL lost in the US Open Cup while Columbus are in the semifinals. It’s a matter for discussion as to whether Seattle had tougher go than Toronto vis-a-vis the Canadien Nutrilite Championship vs the US Open Cup being injected into their schedules.
    TFC and Seattle have the longest stretches without a full week between games. Seattle and RSL have no league matches between their first two CCL games. Seattle however will have to remain very sharp as they have a slim lead over playoff contenders, all of whom have games in hand.

    I think we might see Chivas USA and DC United put full efforts into their Open Cup matches. It’s their only shot at silverware and a berth in the next CCL.

    Fixture Congestion for MLS Teams
     8/24/10 CCL   CCL        
     8/25/10   CCL   CCL      
     8/28/10 MLS MLS MLS MLS MLS    
     8/29/10           MLS MLS
     9/1/10   USOC USOC   SL USOC USOC
     Days  12   11   12   11   8   7   7 
     Games 3 4 4 3 3 3 3
     Games/Day  4.0   2.8   3.0   3.7   2.7   2.3   2.3 
    CCL=CONCACAF Champions League
    SL=N.A. SuperLiga – USOC=US Open Cup

  • 17 Responses to Take Me Out to the Ballgame – Week 21

    1. stitbisket says:

      Thanks for the attendance. MLS shys away from this stat. This is the most interesting stat I look at. Is the sport growing…well with out Seattle I would say no….

    2. bookmakers says:

      Big drop seen this year

    3. eplnfl says:

      May be I read this all wrong but the number of people at the gate are up. Key markets are doing well in NY, LAG, and Chicago which are up over last year. Peter points out how well KC and SJ are doing with limited capacity stadiums and new ones are on line. Everyone expects that the new teams next season will play to big crowds and Philly has been good if not completely sold out this year.

      Is it any surprise that teams not performing on the field are not drawing well? Think what effect the DP’s been available in Chicago and NY will do to next years season tickets sales. I’m already to slap down cash for my next years tickets for the Fire.

      The playoffs are assured to have NY and LA and Peter points out Chicago is looking to hold the cards to make the playoffs. So, there are those who will just not give MLS a break either on stadium attendance or tv ratings but things are looking up.

    4. MLS Fan says:

      Keep in mind the economy is a mess. Given that, I think the numbers are holding their own…

    5. Charles says:

      There is some shifting, but like I have posted many times, numbers are not up outside of Seattle, which had limited the capacity last year. ( they are limiting it this year too, but unlike last year, I think they are right were it should be ).

      As the rest of the league catches up in number of home games the number will equal the expansion in Seattle. I am not bragging on Seattle or ripping on MLS.

      Just presenting the facts. Bizzarre. I just wonder when/if people realize that MLS is a pretty dang good league and even if you don’t believe that it is VERY entertaining to follow.

    6. Peter C says:

      Don’t know what you mean by big drop.

      Without Philly and Seattle, this year’s average is 14,734, last year without Seattle(and for the full season) the average was 14,976. As only 4 of the remaining 14 teams are down, we can look at Chivas USA and New England(down more than 2,000 each) as the reason.
      I’m just saying that I’d rather hang my hat on the 10 teams that are up, 5 or 6 of which are up significantly.

      Looking ahead, San Jose(and overall) will take a big hit for their next home game. It will be compared to last year’s doubleheader(Barcelona v Chivas de Guadalajara) which drew over 61,000.
      Three teams have little upward potential this year, Toronto, Kansas City and San Jose.

    7. Charles says:

      Just look at the numbers.
      I am in a hurry, so I am approximating, but Seattle has played about 1 extra game versus the average team, or about 20k more fans.
      20k/162 = 123 fans, so now the increase is down to about 560 per game over last year.
      Seattle expanded their stadium 6,000 people this year or for the other 10 games 60k fans, in other words 369 fans. Leaving an increase of about 200 fans per game away from that.

      I wish it were not true. I have been following soccer attendance in the US since the 70s. I want it to become big time. It is not yet. Should be, has been in certain places and times but it isn’t overall.

    8. Abram says:

      I’m going to summarize what I posted in another thread so sorry for the redundancy, but MLS’s average attendance number for this season (based on the numbers given from this site) is only 425 less than the 2009-2010 NHL and only 552 less than the 2009-2010 NBA attendance average (based on the attendance numbers for ESPN, which does not count playoffs). Seattle and Toronto draw more fans than the top NBA team, Seattle more than the top NHL team. If you go down the list the top 5 MLS teams average more fans than the top 5 NBA or NHL teams. After that there is a bit of a drop off, but that’s not bad considering both the NBA and NHL have been ingrained into the American public for 70 or so years and MLS has only been here for the past 16 or so.

      • Abram says:

        Meant to add this but I posted too soon, if you remove Seattle (whose 36K is high) the 2-6 MLS attendance averages is less than 500 people away from the 1-5 of the NBA and NHL.

      • Rick says:

        NHL and NBA teams play 40 home game. MLS play, what, 20? Comparing apples to oranges. Plus, NBA and NHL tickets are more expensive than MLS.

        If MLS were to have the same pricing structure as the NHL and NBA and double the amount of games, how do you think attendance would do? I bet season ticket sales would tank.

        • Peter C says:


          I agree about the apples and oranges, which is why I don’t indulge in those kinds of comparisons.

          While NBA and NHL play nearly triple the home games, the arenas’ capacity is similar to MLS. Then you have NFL with roughly half the home games and double or triple capacities.

          I do think however, that in your scenario, it isn’t the season tickets that would suffer as much as the walk up buyers. Just my opinion.

        • Abram says:

          Comparing apples to oranges would be if I were to try to compare the total home attendance of all MLS games to the average of NBA and NHL games. Yes, the total number of people at NBA and NHL games would dwarf MLS if only because there are tripple the amount of games in an NHL and NBA schedule. I compared apples to apples based on comparing the average attendance to the average attendance. Until the prices of MLS tickets go up we can only hypothesize what would happen to ticket sales.

          However, there are cheaper options than seeing an MLS game, there are even cheaper sports options (minor league baserball, American Hockey League, Arena Football). But when you consider how people are saying that the sport is not popular in the US, those numbers are pretty good.

        • Charles says:

          Rick hit is right on the head. Ticket prices completely different ball park and less than 1/2 of the games of both leagues.
          Sounders are outdrawing the Mariners too, per game, except the Mariners can afford a payroll of $100 million plus.
          Mariners will draw about 1/2 of what ALL of MLS does….and they stink.

    9. Eric Altshule says:

      The attendance issue is more complicated than just the raw numbers, and is probably worthy of a post on its own, but I want to point out one significant issue with which MLS must contend. Here in LA we have the Lakers, which draw 19,000 per game, which is the Staples Center capacity. I am just guessing, but I would think that 20-30% of those seats (possibly more) are owned by businesses, not individuals, who entertain clients at Lakers games. Honestly, I don’t know a single person who has ever bought a Laker ticket. Everyone I know who goes to a Laker games has gotten their tickets “through work.” The majority of Lakers games are on weekday evenings and the crowd that goes there is an after-work crowd. Soccer is different. The Galaxy put about as many butts in the seats as the Lakers do, but all but a few of those butts shelled out their own money for the tickets or went with someone who did. Galaxy tickets are probably too obscure to be used as a client-entertainment vehicle, so the Galaxy are fully dependent on fans who are willing to pay their own way. This is a ticket-sale barrier with which the MLS must contend and is one of the main reasons why the Big Three sports (MLB, NBA, NFL) really are leagues apart.
      All that being said, that a Laker-sized crowd forks over their own money to see the Galaxy play is no small feat.

      • Rick says:

        Ticket prices between the Lakers and the Galaxy aren’t even close to being the same. Double the amount of games the Galaxy play and price their tickets the same as the Lakers and the stadium would turn into a ghost town.

    10. DCLee says:

      What are your points Charles & Rick. I completely understand what Abram what trying to communicate.

      He is just comparing and trying to paint the picture that the league is looking up and that is exciting. And while you guys quickly throw out Seattle and Philly’s success, they are both part of the league as Portland, Vancouver and Montreal will be in the coming years. Their success is in large part due to the foundation laid by the original franchises and the struggles they have gone through.

      Bottomline…as long as this league survives it will continue to make new traditions and build on its history which is now at the point where these Academy products coming up have always had a professional league to follow here in the states unlike a lot of us older bloggers:( I’m not sure what the max number may be but if this league can make it for half a century or longer than you see healthy season ticket and attendance numbers just like the other major sports in this country. Probably not as high but profitable nonetheless.

      There will probably always be a payroll discrepancy but I’d be willing to bet the other top leagues wish they could have a lower salary structure that wasn’t so out of whack with players making so much that parity is nearly impossible.

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