MLS and the Summer of Soccer Continued


Summer of Soccer Continues

The 14 matches that were played during the first week of the ‘Summer of Soccer’ drew 168,687. All games were part of entities owned or marketed by Soccer United Marketing(SUM).

The Gold Cup kicked off this week. By Sunday, three of the nine doubleheaders that constitute the group phase were played. The other 6 will be contested this week.

Here’s how this week’s events fared …

Summer of Soccer Attendances
 Panama v GuadeloupeOakland-Alameda Cty Col.
Oakland, CA
Sun, Jul 05Gold Cup 32,500 
 Nicaragua v Mexico
 Honduras v HaitiQwest Field, Seattle, WASat, Jul 04Gold Cup 15,387 
 USA v Grenada
 Jamaica v CanadaHome Depot Center
Fri, Jul 03Gold Cup 27,000 
 El Salvador v Costa Rica
 Port. Timbers v B. Munich IIPGE Park, Portland, ORThu, Jul 02 Friendly 9,340 
    total 84,227 
    average 21,057 

The three Gold Cup doubleheaders are marketed(Ch-ching!) by SUM.

Do you think the USSF are scratching their collective heads over the attendance at the US match in Seattle? I didn’t expect a full Qwest Field, but only 15G? I suspect there will be as many expanations as there are fans. So here are a couple of starters…

  • US fans have become sophisticated enough to not come out in droves for a ‘B’ team.
  • US fans have become sophisticated enough to not come out for Gold Cup that doesn’t lead to the next Confederations Cup.
  • It appears there were no fireworks directly related to the Qwest Field matches(I don’t even know if that’s possible). Anyway, it was the 4th and MLS attendances were strong.

    Any ideas why the crowd was so sparse in Seattle?

    How Does the Gold Cup Impact MLS Soccer

    USMNT Gold Cup
    MLS Same Day Attendance v Average
     Group Play6/7/200707 Avg7/4/200909 Avg
     Houston 12,017  15,883 
     Columbus 14,370  13,056 
     Colorado 19,680  13,045 
     Kansas City 10,385  9,789 
     FC Dallas 14,327  9,306 
     Los Angeles 20,609  19,292 

    “Soccer United Marketing manages marketing, public relations and operations for the Gold Cup tournament.”

    Now what exactly does that mean in terms of revenue for SUM? Just a straight management fee? Maybe a percent of merchandise sales? Points here or there or fixed income? Does its position with MLS create for SUM a conflict of interest or a complementary relationship? Hint: As in many life scenarios, it’s both.

    MLS owes its survival to the the creation of, and continuing operations of SUM. The Gold Cup, and by that I mean CONCACAF, is a clients of SUM. Some of the revenues that Soccer United Marketing receives will eventually be distributed to MLS teams, in particular the teams not yet making a profit(the majority of the league’s teams). That’s the complementary part. Then there is servicing the client to maximize its revenues which may or may not coincide with the best interests of MLS. Yes, the July 4 direct conflict is the most recent case in point.

    That’s the tightrope that SUM is continuously perched upon.

    As we can see, in ’07 Houston’s match on the day of a USMNT Gold Cup match was below it’s eventual season average. Whereas this year, it being July 4, all teams had attendances higher than their current averages despite the fact that the games in Colorado, Kansas City and Dallas were played as the US was playing Grenada in its Gold Cup opener. It is clear that CONCACAF and FIFA must be aware of the uniqueness of July 4 in the USA and at the very least shouldn’t schedule any future USA matches on the 4th. And if a match does get scheduled, it should end no later than 5pm EDT. This would mean any team in the league with a July 4 match, bundled with fireworks/concerts in the evening, would not be competing directly with the US team.

    July 4 and MLS Briefs

    This is only the 2nd time the US Men have played on Jul 4. The last time was a loss to Brasil in the 1994 World Cup, before the league began play(1996).

    Even though the Galaxy drew more than its season average, it was the lowest ever attendance for a Jul 4 match. That’s saying something since LA has played at home on the 4th every year since the league’s inception. And in case you were wondering, Colorado is the only other team that has played at home on the 4th every year.

    Jul 4th Matches – Current MLS Cities
      GP Average 
     Chicago 1  10,387  
     Colorado 11  46,569  Mile High
     Colorado 3  18,847  Dick’s
     Columbus 2  15,542  
     Dallas 10  16,276  
     Houston 1  8,497  
     Kansas City 4  14,363  
     Los Angeles 7  55,744  LA Coliseum or Rose Bowl
     Los Angeles 7  25,138  Home Depot
     New England 2  19,945  
     Salt Lake 3  20,541  
     San Jose 3  32,617  

    Congestion for some

    US Open
    Jul 7Jul 21 or Jul 22Sep 2
    Qtr FinalsSemifinalsFinal
    DCU, Houston, KC, Seattle  

    Seattle was off this week, DCU is off next week, so Houston and KC will be playing 3 matches in 8 days during the Jul 4-11 time period.


    CONCACAF Champions League
    Jul 28 – Jul 30Aug 4 – Aug 6
    Prelim First LegPrelim Second Leg

    DCU and TFC play MLS league games on Jul 25 and August 2. That means they will each play 4 times during the period Jul 25-Aug 6(13 days). RBNY play an MLS game on Jul 25, but are off the week of August 2.


    1. soccer goals July 7, 2009
    2. Rex July 8, 2009

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