Week 3 in the MLS was graced with good matches that were played in less than desirable conditions. High winds plagued several venues while cold and wet put the damper on others. If not for that I think attendance would have been better, but all in all attendance wasn’t that terrible.
This week’s eight matches averaged just a bit over 13,000, an increase of over 300 from last year’s week 3 matches.
The Chicago Fire post game report talked of keeper Jon Busch still shivering 20 minutes after the match. 11,633 braved the wind and cold as the Fire, down a man for most of the match held off the Red Bulls as Busch recorded a clean sheet. The Fire remains as my pick to top the east this season.
Perhaps the worst weather was in Kansas City, where the Wiz won their first match. 6,922 braved the wind and freezing rain.
The biggest disappointment was the crowd, or lack thereof, at the Chivas USA game. Preki, perhaps the best magician in the league, has the injury riddled team undefeated and sharing top of the west with Seattle. Yet an early evening start(5pm), early enough to get the kids to bed on a school night, and good SoCal weather only brought out 12,827 to the Home Depot Center. That attendance number certainly surprised me based on what I saw when the seats were in the camera’s view.
I’m not going to get into the discussion about the veracity or the makeup of MLS attendance numbers.
A 2006 article by Mark Ziegler of the Union-Tribune in San Diego offers a very good look at paid and unpaid ticketed attendance. A post later during the season will attempt to integrate this into the overall discussion of MLS attendance and the impact on club finances.
On a side note, This post claims that the MLS Competition Committee is looking at this past weekend’s weather as a strong argument against switching to an Aug-May schedule. Some interesting comments. I will be examining the matter of weekday game attendance since MLS claims it is one of the reasons it cannot schedule around FIFA dates.
So where does that leave us at this early date? Judge for yourself…
2005 – Week 1: 13,038 Week 2: 15,310 Week 3: 15,178
2006 – Week 1: 22,292 Week 2: 19,001 Week 3: 15,927
2007 – Week 1: 16,109 Week 2: 16,827 Week 3: 13,848
2008 – Week 1: 15,312 Week 2: 17,988 Week 3: 12,732
2009 – Week 1: 17,095 Week 2: 14,168 Week 3: 13,058
2005 Week 3 includes 1st ever RSL home match – 25,287
2006 Week 1 includes 1st ever Houston home match – 25,462
2006 Week 2 includes pre-game motocross and Shakira at halftime at Red Bulls – 35,793
2008 Week 3 includes 1st ever expansion San Jose home match – 20,038
2009 Weeks 1 and 2 – Seattle, need I say more
For another look at attendance in 2009, read Kartik’s post.