Take Me Out to the Ballgame – The Prequel

mls

With the 2010 MLS season just around the corner, here’s a look back at recent MLS attendance before we move forward.

The final regular season numbers for 2009 look like this…

5 year comparison
Full Season Averages
   Avg  +/-  GP
 2005   15,108     192 
 2006   15,504   2.62%   192 
 2007   16,770   8.17%   195 
 2008   16,460   -1.85%   210 
 2009   16,037   -2.57%   225 
YTD – Games
  Average Median %<10K %>20k
 2005    15,108     12,619    27.08%   17.71% 
 2006    15,504     14,175    18.75%   18.75% 
 2007    16,770     15,353    8.21%   29.74% 
 2008    16,460     15,188    10.95%   24.76% 
 2009    16,037     14,686    14.67%   20.44% 

Here are the attendance comparisons to 2008’s full season of home games(210 v 225 games):

MLS Attendance – Equal # of Home Games
  2008 2009  
  Att Cap % Att Att +/- GP Cap % Cap
 Seattle  0   0.00%   30,897   NA  15   95.36%   32,400 
 LA Galaxy  26,009   96.33%   20,416   -21.50%   15   75.61%   27,000 
 Toronto  20,110   91.50%   20,344   1.17%   15   92.57%   21,978 
 Houston  16,939   75.28%   17,047   0.64%   15   75.77%   22,500 
 Real Salt Lake  16,179   80.03%   16,375   1.21%   15   77.79%   19,340 
 D.C. United  19,835   88.16%   16,088   -18.89%   15   71.50%   22,500 
 ChivasUSA  15,114   55.98%   15,092   -0.15%   15   55.90%   27,000 
 Chicago  17,034   85.17%   14,689   -13.77%   15   73.44%   20,000 
 Columbus Crew  14,622   73.11%   14,447   -1.20%   15   72.23%   20,000 
 San Jose  13,713   89.93%   14,114   2.93%   15   79.64%   10,300 
 NE Revolution  17,580   78.14%   13,732   -21.89%   15   61.03%   22,500 
 N.Y./N.J. Red Bulls  15,928   63.24%   12,491   -21.58%   15   49.59%   25,189 
 FC Dallas  13,024   61.45%   12,441   -4.48%   15   53.67%   21,193 
 Colorado Rapids  13,659   75.52%   12,331   -9.72%   15   68.18%   18,086 
 KC Wizards  10,686   102.90%   10,053   -5.92%   15   96.81%   10,385 

My disclaimer about the capacity calculations – Additional disclaimer note: I factored in the Dallas game at the Cotton Bowl as 100% capacity of 51,012.

So How Did They Finish?

Points after 225 Games
  Pts GP  PPG GD
 Columbus  49   30   1.63   10 
 Los Angeles  48   30   1.60   5 
 Houston  48   30   1.60   10 
 Seattle  47   30   1.57   9 
 Chicago  45   30   1.50   5 
 Chivas USA  45   30   1.50   3 
 New England  42   30   1.40   -4 
 Real Salt Lake  40   30   1.33   8 
 Colorado  40   30   1.33   4 
 DC United  40   30   1.33   -1 
 Dallas  39   30   1.30   3 
 Toronto FC  39   30   1.30   -9 
 Kansas City  33   30   1.10   -9 
 San Jose  30   30   1.00   -14 
 NY Red Bull  21   30   0.70   -20 
LA Wins West
Head to Head Tiebreaker over Houston

Observations

The combination of David Beckham’s arrival in 2007 and Seattle in 2009 has reversed the trend of more games with less than 10,000 in attendance vs more than 20,000.

MLS weathered the miserable 2009 economy fairly well. Average attendance was down only 2.56% compared to 2008. Below is a table comparing the average attendance figures of MLS to the ‘Big Four’.

Average Attendances
 League 2008 2009 +/- %
 MLS  16,459   16,037   -2.56% 
 NBA  17,395   17,504   0.63% 
 NHL  17,308   17,476   0.97% 
 MLB  32,543   30,338   -6.77% 
 NFL  68,241   67,509   -1.07% 

Streaking

  • FC Dallas did not lose at home in its last 8(7 wins).
  • RBNY finished winless on the road(27 total).
  • TFC did not lose at home in 7 straight.
  • TFC did not win on the road in 8 straight. The last loss cost them a playoff berth.
  • Colorado did not win on the road in 9 straight. Same deal as TFC.
  • RSL was unbeaten in their last 10 home games.

MLS Throw Ins

  • In 2009, no team won 50% of its games.
  • Not surprisingly, Seattle set an MLS single season attendance record. Expect them to repeat the feat as they’ve added around 3,000 seats for 2010.
  • In 15 more games, 22 fewer goals were scored than in 2008(2.53 per game vs 2.81).
  • Jeff Cunningham won his 2nd Golden Boot as the top regular season goal scorer.

    Moving forward, this season will see a balanced scheduled, i.e.; each team will play each other twice, home and away with the addition of the 16th club, the Philadelphia Union. With the extra club, there will be 240 matches this season.

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