USMNT attendance down 11% for 2014-2017 compared to 2010-2014

The average attendance for home games featuring the US Men’s National Team is trending downward.

The attendance has been falling for the US for several years now. Furthermore, the attendance is down for this cycle when compared to the previous cycle. From 2010 to 2014, the US averaged 36,697 through 43 games. So from 2014 to 2017, the average US attendance was 11% lower than it was from 2010 to 2014, despite having one more game.

For three straight years, attendance has gone down with 2018 seeing the worst home attendance in 12 years. Due to international soccer being “judged” on a cycle-by-cycle basis instead of year to year, how did the attendance for the US from 2014 to 2017 do?

Let’s take a look.

Averaging just over 32,000 per game through 44 games over the course of four years, it doesn’t seem too bad especially when considering that a number of the games were played in stadiums that only sat around 20,000 people. However, all is not well.

Several things in the list below stand out. First is the number of games that drew fewer than 10,000 people. There were six such games during this stretch, compared to just one during the previous cycle (plus two more during the current cycle). This is an alarming trend, though US Soccer feels like they have a solution to this problem: jack the ticket prices through the roof. That may work out okay for their bottom line (which is all they really care about) but it’s sure not going to help get fans in the stands to watch a team that just missed the World Cup.

Attendance may have been well on the way down before the US failed to qualify for Russia 2018, but after that disastrous night in Trinidad and Tobago happened, it’s gotten so much worse. The year 2018 saw the lowest US attendance since 2006.

So far during the current cycle, it’s been pretty grim. The US is averaging 21,315 per game through nine games and the Federation has even had to play a game in a 10,000 seat stadium so that they could brag about a sellout. The 21,315 represents a 34% decline from the 32,301 over the course of the previous cycle. It’s a small sample size but it continues the trend of the declining attendance.

What is most concerning about the current state of affairs is that during 2018, US Soccer scheduled some big time friendlies against high level opponents with teams such as Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia all coming to the US, and only one of those games drew more than 40,000 people while all three of those games saw significantly more fans for the opponent than there were for the US. In 2019, the US has played in a 64,000-seat NFL stadium and only drawn 9,000 people and then failed to sell out an 18,000 seat stadium.

For 2019, it’s hard to see fans turning out in droves to support the team until there are tangible signs of progress on the field like winning this summer’s Gold Cup. If that doesn’t happen, then it’s going to be a rough cycle in the stadiums for US Soccer.

Much has been made of the declining TV ratings for the USMNT, rightfully so. In this day and age, TV ratings are all important. For the last two years the US TV ratings have gone down and for the previous cycle from 2014 to 2017 the US averaged fewer than 900,000 viewers per game. But attendance is one of the most important bellwethers when it comes to judging the popularity (or lack thereof) for the national team.

Complete data:

10/10/14 – Friendly – USA vs. Ecuador – Pratt & Whitney Stadium – 36,265
10/14/14 – Friendly – USA vs. Honduras – FAU Stadium – 14,805
2/8/15 – Friendly – USA vs. Panama – Dignity Health Sports Park – 20,271
4/15/15 – Friendly – USA vs. Mexico – Alamodome – 64,369
7/3/15 – Friendly – USA vs. Guatemala – Nissan Stadium – 44,835
7/7/15 – Gold Cup – USA vs. Honduras – Toyota Stadium – 22,357
7/10/15 – Gold Cup – USA vs. Haiti – Gillette Stadium – 46,720
7/13/15 – Gold Cup – USA vs. Panama – Children’s Mercy Park – 18,467
7/18/15 – Gold Cup – USA vs. Cuba – M&T Bank Stadium – 37,994
7/22/15 – Gold Cup – USA vs. Jamaica – Georgia Dome – 70,511
7/25/15 – Gold Cup – USA vs. Panama – Talen Energy Stadium – 12,598
9/4/15 – Friendly – USA vs. Peru – RFK Stadium – 28,896
9/8/15 – Friendly – USA vs. Brazil – Gillette Stadium – 29,308
10/10/15 – CONCACAF Cup – USA vs. Mexico – Rose Bowl – 93,723
10/13/15 – Friendly – USA vs. Costa Rica – Red Bull Arena – 9,214
11/13/15 – WCQ – USA vs. St. Vincent & the Grenadines – Busch Stadium – 43,433
1/31/16 – Friendly – USA vs. Iceland – Dignity Health Sports Park – 8,803
2/5/16 – Friendly – USA vs. Canada – Dignity Health Sports Park – 9,274
3/29/16 – WCQ – USA vs. Guatemala – Mapfre Stadium – 20,624
5/25/16 – Friendly – USA vs. Ecuador – Toyota Stadium – 9,893
5/28/16 – Friendly – USA vs. Bolivia – Children’s Mercy Park – 8,894
6/3/16 – Copa America – USA vs. Colombia – Levi’s Stadium – 67,439
6/7/16 – Copa America – USA vs. Costa Rica – Soldier Field – 39,642
6/11/16 – Copa America – USA vs. Paraguay – Lincoln Financial Field – 51,041
6/16/16 – Copa America – USA vs. Ecuador – CenturyLink Field – 47,322
6/21/16 – Copa America – USA vs. Argentina – NRG Stadium – 70,858
6/25/16 – Copa America – USA vs. Colombia – State Farm Stadium – 29,041
9/6/16 – WCQ – USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago – TIAA Bank Field – 19,410
10/11/16 – Friendly – USA vs. New Zealand – RFK Stadium – 9,012
11/11/16 – WCQ – USA vs. Mexico – Mapfre Stadium – 24,650
1/29/17 – Friendly – USA vs. Serbia – SDCCU Stadium – 20,079
2/3/17 – Friendly – USA vs. Jamaica – Finley Stadium – 17,903
3/24/17 – WCQ – USA vs. Honduras – Avaya Stadium – 17,729
6/3/17 – Friendly – USA vs. Venezuela – Rio Tinto Stadium – 17,315
6/8/17 – WCQ – USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – 19,188
7/1/17 – Friendly – USA vs. Ghana – Pratt & Whitney Stadium – 28,494
7/8/17 – Gold Cup – USA vs. Panama – Nissan Stadium – 47,622
7/12/17 – Gold Cup – USA vs. Martinique – Raymond James Stadium – 23,368
7/15/17 – Gold Cup – USA vs. Nicaragua – First Energy Stadium – 27,934
7/19/17 – Gold Cup – USA vs. El Salvador – Lincoln Financial Field – 31,615
7/22/17 – Gold Cup – USA vs. Costa Rica – AT&T Stadium – 45,516
7/26/17 – Gold Cup – USA vs. Jamaica – Levi’s Stadium – 63,032
9/1/17 – WCQ – USA vs. Costa Rica – Red Bull Arena – 26,500
10/6/17 – WCQ – USA vs. Panama – Orlando City Stadium – 25,303

Total Attendance: 1,421,249
Average Attendance: 32,301

5 Comments

  1. Joey March 25, 2019
    • David March 26, 2019
  2. Pete Reynolds March 26, 2019
  3. Ivan March 26, 2019
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