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Take Me Out to the Ballgame – Week 1

Posted on by Peter C

soccer balls Take Me Out to the Ballgame   Week 1

The Week 1 numbers look like this…

  5 year comparison
  Week 1 8 GP YTD
  Avg +/- GP Avg +/- Avg +/- GP
 2006   22,292     6   22,684     22,292     6 
 2007   16,109   -27.73%   6   17,051   -24.83%   16,109   -27.73%   6 
 2008   15,312   -4.95%   6   16,803   -1.46%   15,312   -4.95%   6 
 2009   17,095   11.65%   7   16,794   -0.05%   17,095   11.65%   7 
 2010   17,921   4.83%   8   17,921   6.71%   17,921   4.83%   8 
YTD – 8 Games
  Average Median %<10K %>20k
 2006    22,684     21,884    0.00%   62.50% 
 2007    17,051     16,281    0.00%   12.50% 
 2008    16,803     16,547    0.00%   25.00% 
 2009    16,794     15,979    0.00%   12.50% 
 2010    17,921     16,095    12.50%   37.50% 

Here are the attendance comparisons to 2009:

MLS Attendance – Equal # of Home Games
  2009 2010  
  Att Cap Att Att +/- GP Cap Cap
 Seattle  32,523   100.38%   36,241   11.43%   1   102.09%   35,500 
 N.Y./N.J. Red Bulls  12,462   49.47%   24,572   97.18%   1   97.55%   25,189 
 LA Galaxy  18,013   66.71%   21,376   18.67%   1   79.17%   27,000 
 ChivasUSA  16,453   60.94%   18,653   13.37%   1   69.09%   27,000 
 Columbus Crew  14,686   73.43%   13,536   -7.83%   1   67.68%   20,000 
 San Jose  10,335   12.23%   10,589   2.46%   1   102.81%   10,300 
 KC Wizards  10,385   100.00%   10,385   0.00%   1   100.00%   10,385 
 FC Dallas  15,905   75.05%   8,016   -49.60%   1   37.82%   21,193 
 Chicago  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA  20,000 
 Colorado Rapids  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA  18,086 
 D.C. United  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA  22,500 
 Houston  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA  22,500 
 NE Revolution  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA  22,500 
 Philadelphia  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA  18,500 
 Real Salt Lake  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA  19,340 
 Toronto  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA  NA  21,978 

Observations

The season opened with Seattle more than filling the house with over 36,000 fans on a rainy night. ChivasUSA had a good crowd of over 18,000 but dropped it’s opener to the Rapids. Columbus played in front of it’s lowest ever home opener attendance. Looks like another long year in Dallas, drawing just over 8,000 against its in state rival Houston. Red Bull Arena had over 24,000 show up for it’s inaugural MLS match, at least that’s what was reported. Looked like a good crowd, but there were swaths of empty seats visible during the broadcast. Kansas City filled Community America Ballpark on a very rainy night and were well rewarded as the Wizards trounced DC United. San Jose also filled its bandbox, but who knows how long that will continue if their play doesn’t improve. And finally, LA surprised me and drew more than their ’09 opener. I going to be positive and take that as a good sign.

Did you notice that the only two teams to show a drop in their home openers are both owned by the Hunts? I know that MLS fans owe a debt of gratitude to them for their perseverance during the early years of the league, but this speaks to the here and now, and something is amiss.

MLS weathered the 2009 economy fairly well. Average attendance was down only 2.57% from to 2008. In comparison, the 2009 Major League Baseball season saw a 6.67% drop in average attendance. In absolute numbers, given the extra team(Seattle) and the 15 extra games, attendance was up 151,278. I’m one of many that thinks that 2010 is going to be a strong year for MLS and if opening weekend is any indication, the league is well on its way.

I feeling pretty smart today. 3 of the 5 players on my own ‘watch list’(bottom of post) scored on opening day. Figure I’ve got a week before I get a dose of reality.



Streaking

  • FC Dallas did not lose at home in its last 8(7 wins). They opened ’10 with a draw.
  • 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. Make that 9 straight with their 2010 opener loss to Columbus.
  • Colorado did not win on the road in 9 straight to close out ’09. A win on the road to start 2010.
  • RSL was unbeaten in their last 10 home games. Make that 11 with their decisive win over San Jose.

MLS Throw Ins

  • No team won 50% of its games in 2009.
  • Not surprisingly, Seattle set an MLS single season attendance record.
  • In 15 more games, 22 fewer goals were scored than in 2008(2.53 per game vs 2.81).
  • The Kansas City, Houston and San Jose prospective stadiums is a story to watch this off season. KC and Houston are on their way.
  • Through eight games: fewer goals but only 1 draw vs 3 in ’09.

    MLS In CONCACAF Champions League

    Another poor showing by MLS in the CCL. Houston was the biggest disappointment. Needing a victory in its final group play match, they travelled to Metapan(SLV), which had been winless with a -17 goal differential only to lose and be eliminated. DC United put up a good showing on the road at Toluca(MEX), earning a draw, albeit against a ‘B’ team, but were also eliminated. They just couldn’t recover from their poor start. Columbus barely got into the knockout phase as Saprissa(CRC) lost at home to Cruz Azul(MEX) while the Crew were tied by Puerto Rico who failed to win any of its 6 group play matches.

    Howard Hamilton of the HexagonalBlog has updated his CONCACAF coefficients which reflect Mexican club dominance in the region.

    The quarterfinal home and home matches were played on March 9 and 16. Columbus were strong, but not strong enough to get past 2009 Apertura winner Toluca. MLS will be represented by Columbus(Supporters’ Shield winner), Seattle(Lamar Hunt US Open Cup winner), RSL(MLS Cup winner) and Los Angeles(MLS Cup runner-up in the 2010-11 tourney. Columbus and RSL qualify directly for the group phase, while LA and Seattle will have preliminary matches.


  • 29 Responses to Take Me Out to the Ballgame – Week 1

    1. Brazilian Fan says:

      I watched the highlights in MLSsoccer.com and the things in Dallas were bad, Jesus!

      Look like that was a pre-season game and not the First Kick of 2010 Season!!! Only 8 thousand people against 15 thousand from last year? O_O Oh God….

      Cheers

    2. eplnfl says:

      Peter:

      Just wanted to say. Great stuff.

      Lou

    3. Sammy says:

      regarding the Crew, I saw this elsewhere:

      The attendance breakdowns for the last 3 Crew-TFC openers…

      2008:
      CLB: 11,543
      TOR: 2,300
      TOTAL: 13,843

      2009:
      CLB: 13,286
      TOR: 1,400
      TOTAL: 14,686

      2010:
      CLB: 13,236
      TOR: 300
      TOTAL: 13,536

      Good, bad, or indifferent, the Toronto dynamic impacts Crew opener attendance. Columbus fan attendance was essentially flat from 2009 to 2010. The overall disparity was due to a dropoff in TFC traveling numbers.

      • Peter C says:

        Cool breakout of the Columbus attendance. Thanks.

      • Lars says:

        TFC fans stopped coming because everyone is saying “Screw the Crew.” Columbus can’t be bothered to provide decent security to TFC supporters, so why should TFC supporters show up to Columbus games? There’s no excuse for having Columbus thugs waiting outside away supporter exits.

        However, I heard that Columbus had much better security this year.

    4. Brazilian Fan says:

      You are right, and off course, I you got understand why Toronto fans are not attending the games anymore: a totally unstable rooster with Mo Johnson as a manager (Oh God!) and looking to a team that by now, have no hope to get into the playoffs once again. If I was a TFC fan I would not expand my money travelling to Columbus also.

      In other hand, only 13,536 for an stadium with 20,000 still bad. I mean, considering that 2,300 TFC would show up like in 2008, Columbus fans would have at least 17,700 seats avaiable and for a home opener, you should be able to bring at least 15,000 to 16,000 fans, minimum.

      Everyone talks shit about SJ and KC but at least for their home openers they had 100% of attendence (SJ had even more), which is impressive.

      Something that I don’t understand: why LA and Chivas could not get at least 24,000 in their home openers? Is the stadium too far away or what?

      Should be a great year for NY. To be honest, watching the game I would not say that was over 24,000 in the stadium (if you look at the sits right in front of the camera, you would see a bunch of empty spaces) but maybe that was the only place that wasnt full. Some NYRB fan might tell us about it.

      Cheers

    5. vic says:

      SJ getting 10.5k fans is not impressive, I dont care how small their stadium is. Remember when Beckham went to community arean? Look up the numbers from last, KC fit in nearly 12.9k fans into it. Both places should be overflowing, especially SJ since there are 6 or 7mil folks w/in a 45mile radius. As for Dallas, fold it or force a sale. Its such a big market of nearly 6mil people as part of DFW, but what are you going to do? A DP seems out of the question given how MLS lost a million w/Denilson two years ago. That was a total flop. It hurts the rest of the league to pay for these losses. Somebody needs to leak these numbers from MLS HQ.

      • james says:

        What do you want from San Jose?

        I was at the match. The stadium was completely full. They’d need to bring more seats in to legally allow anyone else in. The game was sold out.

        Sorry if that’s lame to you, but at least we filled out our stadium. I don’t get the point of taking pot shots at the league’s fans.

    6. Rex says:

      Good thing Dallas was playing Houston, or else there would have only been 6k in the stands.

    7. Robert says:

      Seeing the Dallas game this weekend on tv was just embarrassing to watch. This proves that you need more than a soccer specific stadium for people to show up. you need a winning club and talent. Lets see how fast RBNY Arena empties out when they have a season like last.

    8. Peter C says:

      Robert:
      embarrassing to be sure. And I agree with your comment about RBNY.

      But getting back to Dallas, they were the most exciting team to watch down the stretch last year after a horrific start. They were playing their in-state rival, a perennially strong Houston team, have the 2 time(current) Golden Boot winner(Cunningham), and a load of soccer fans in town for the Dallas Cup.

      A major fail, but I think it goes beyond the quality of the club. I’ll be scanning the Dallas new sources, along with Buzz Carrick and Drew Epperly for their views. Too bad, this club was listed by Forbes as one of 3 that made money in ’07.

    9. eplnfl says:

      On the whole not bad. Seattle pulls the rest of the league along and we hope now New York will have 20,000.+ each week. The upturn(small, I know) in the economy should help but the Dallas attendance is a real issue. Dallas may have to consider relocation. It may be better for the league anyway if it does. Columbus is not a long term problem, the team is solid with great fans and Ohio is still hurting job wise. Chicago should be up this year and I expect the mountain area teams to show better attendance. Frankly, does anyone feel strong about Philly keeping a strong base all season long like Seattle. I would feel better if it was Portland joining in this year.

      • Logan says:

        I have no facts to base this on, but just the way Philly fought to get an MLS team I get the feeling their fans will be fairly loyal– no matter how many hiccups the Union have this season or the next. However, they are playing 8 out of their first 10 games on the road, so we’ll have to wait to see what happens when PPL stadium opens.

        But I think MLS will be fairly well off this season for these reasons:

        Seattle– kickass support and a large stadium that could open up even more seats.

        Philly– new team, new stadium.

        NY– new stadium, positive outlook.

        Toronto– terrific support.

        LA– renewed respect and fervor thanks to recent MLS Cup appearance and Landon Donovan now being recognized across the world as a world-class soccer player.

        Chicago– rabid fans and continued growth thanks to Section 8.

        GO FIRE

        • eplnfl says:

          You said it about Chicago Logan the fans are so loyal and the team is getting a good play in the general media in town. A couple of the main media personalities in town are soccer fans and are pushing the
          Fire. We have greater coverage in the papers on game days and even more tv time. Really the Fire front office has done a good job there.

          Hope to see you at Toyota Park this season, which is a great place to see a game.

        • Charles says:

          “LA– renewed respect and fervor thanks to recent MLS Cup appearance and Landon Donovan now being recognized across the world as a world-class soccer player.”

          Yeah, but MLS would be better off if Landon left for EPL according to most. WOW.

          • Lars says:

            Nope. People have been saying US Soccer would be better off. And they’re right.

            MLS does not mean American soccer…the USSF is a seperate, and significantly larger organization than MLS.

    10. WonsanUnited says:

      There will be a sharp increase in attendance for the Red Bulls. I was at the game this past weekend and it didn’t really start to fill up until the middle of the first half because of traffic. Factor in the cold weather and not everyone would be showing up. I’ve talked to a lot of people about Red Bull Arena around the city and there’s definitely a bigger interest in the Red Bulls because of it. I would say crowds of 18K for the rest of the season, which is pretty good considering last year’s attendance. If the team continues to win, then maybe a little more. And if Henry comes it will sell out.

    11. Dan says:

      I think the problem with Dallas is the advertising and Promoting. Maybe a change in ownership might help. Dallas will not be moved atleast not until the DC stadium problem is dealt with. I think the Hunts need to make a decision (Dallas or Columbus) which franchise do you want to hold on too more. which club will give you the best deal and which one is likely not going to move the club.

      Dallas is to important to fold or move. The city is a proven sports city with the Cowboys, Mavericks, Stars, and Rangers. Soccer can succeed in Dallas and they just need to figure out how to hook the fans.

      Columbus is not as bad as people seem to say. They have a very strong supporters group and its getting better.

      • vic says:

        Let’s see, the Rangers & Cowboys play in stadiums midway between Fort Worth & Dallas. The Mavs play in downtown Dallas, and the Hoops play 30 miles north of that? In going to Frisco, the Hunts wrote off people from Fort Worth & Arlington (1.5mil). You’re right, the Crew aren’t that bad. However, some regional exposure could help stabilize it at 14-16k fans. I’m thinking Man U. or Valencia vs. Crew in Cincy or Cleveland…perhaps two international friendlies, with one in Columbus itself.

        • Peter C says:

          Vic,

          Knew Frisco was ‘out of town’ but didn’t realize it was 30 miles out.

          Have you read Drew Epperly’s(WVHooligan.com) suggestions? Just wondering what you thought of them.

          • bigvic says:

            good reading there. The “We are not spectators” campaign was unreal. In the West, thats a phrase associated with Burning Man. Sh*t, if they had a “Burning Man” night at FCD I’d fly half way across the country for that (airport screeners be damned). You know that was indeed a marketing campaign from someone just out of college. Anyway, so all the points at wvhooligan are supportive ones. How about one that is the opposite? How about saying, “thanks for helping form the league but we’re going to have to cap the league’s outlay to just a certain amount of an individual team’s losses…if you go over, its on your tab”? I think some owners are content just “to play it safe”, knowing they’ll be covered (Kraft, Wolff, Kronke). The best idea is probably counterintuitive to MLS HQ (and this was from a soccer writer at some major website venue, not some crackpot like myself from bigsoccer): sell Pizza Hut park to the first guy coming in wanting to start a lacrosse league franchise, or something like that. Play somewhere else that is central. Hell, play at SMU stadium.

    12. Charles says:

      I LOVE TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME !

      Very discouraging numbers, looks like a split between the ones that are succeeding and those that are not. IF you watched/attended the Seattle game and compared it to the Dallas numbers it is hard to believe you are talking about teams in the same league.

      It was bordering on unbelievable last year, now it is even more rediculous. I just don’t understand how those teams are not drawing more fans. Do they realize that this is a league where Landon Donovan finished last two years ago ? Did they see the way he played in what many view as the best league ?
      Anyone that is living in an MLS town and NOT attending MLS games either is not a soccer fan or a moron.

      I predict that Seattle will be forced to open up more seats if they have any success on the artificial turf this year.

      How many minutes till kickoff ?

    13. Miami Ultra says:

      Dammit Dallas step the F up! I know Frisco is a ways out from Dallas, but seriously come on! If nobody was doing this bad fine, but to see teams pulling in numbers WORSE than the Fusion and Mutiny had only makes the pain worse for Florida fans. Way to go, Hunts. Someone explain again why the San Jose, Dallas and Kansas City franchises were propped up and not Miami and Tampa, two of the most soccer savvy markets on Earth? Way to screw that up MLS. Set us up to fail with bad or no ownership and poor branding, pull the plug on us “for the good of the league”, and then trudge on with markets who were/are as bad or worse at drawing fans.

      And I don’t give KC/SJ a pass for playing at small stadiums either. Before they played in their current smaller homes they pulled in crowds not much better than the 10K-ish capped crowds they get now.

      • Peter C says:

        Miami Ultra:

        You’ll love this speculation I read somewhere today …

        Thierry Henry gets released from the last year on his contract with Barcelona in exchange for a MLS franchise. Henry lands at RBNY. No MLS franchise fee.

      • bigvic says:

        whats worse with respect to Dallas and SJ, is that within a 40mile radius of each city is a population of 6million. At least KC is a small market, but to fail in a huge market like DFW or the Bay Area is unreal.

    14. Dan says:

      I think the Big Problem is how cheap Clark Hunt is. Clark is nowhere near the man his father was. To me it seems that Clark could care less about the Sports Teams his father worked so hard to build. Its a crying shame.

    15. Robert says:

      here’s a thought. what if MLS stopped stamping names on teams of the cities they aren’t actually located in!?! Ditch FC Dallas and market the hell out of FRISCO FC. If dallas wants a soccer team than have at it. Same for RBNY! its not even in NEW YORK STATE! LA Galaxy->Carson City Galaxy.

    16. DCLee says:

      Peter C I know it is your job to stir the pot and I appreciate your stories but can you please tell the facts. You crticize the DC tie against Toluca saying it was there B team. I not even going to look up the game roster but can tell you that DC didn’t exactly have their A team on the field and that’s what these tournaments are about is they test the depth of your squads as yo can’t run your best 11 out there with 3 games in a week. Pontius’ goal was an amazing strike and Toluca ties it up midway through the second half on an exhausted DC team playing at altitude with if I remember correctly was an A team player that drew the PK. DC scored the most points of the 3 MLS teams in the group stage with 10 and I think the most scored in the 2 years the tourney has been running. They also got a raw shake and unlike Houston deserved to go through. Toluca which blasted Marathon 7-0 at home went to Marathon and lost which essentially did in DC even though they gave it a valiant effort.

      • Peter C says:

        DCLee,

        It certainly was not my intent to ‘dis’ the effort put forth by DCU in the CCL. In fact, I regularly posted the schedules of the MLS teams during the group phase to point out the problems created by short rosters and crowded schedules.
        I was hoping that the recent CBA would address that by expanding the rosters back to 28, but it was not to be, so I suspect MLS will continue to struggle in the CCL.

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