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Both the US Men’s National Team and US Women’s National Team have completed their last games of the 2016 calendar year. And while their performances on the pitch have been a mix of good and poor, the attendance figures for home games paint a worrying picture for both the men and women’s teams.

In 2016, every single friendly for the US Men’s National Team was attended by less than 10,000 people. In fact, this trend stretches back to October 2015, making it six consecutive friendlies with an attendance of under 10,000. Attendances at Copa America did provide a significant boost, but many of those tickets were purchased as part of a stadium pack where fans bought tickets for a select number of games at each local stadium.

In comparison to 2015, home attendances for USMNT games dropped 23%. The average in 2015 was 38,763 compared to 29,707 in 2016. Without the large Copa America Centenario attendances for USA games, the drop in average attendance from 2016 is more devastating — 64%, so much so that the 2016 USMNT average minus Copa America games (13,820) is less than the USWNT average attendance in 2016.

While the women had a much better year on the pitch despite being knocked out of the Olympics at the quarter-final stage (marking their worst performance in any major tournament ever), attendances are also a concern for USWNT. Attendance was down 42% this year compared to last year. The year 2015 averaged 27,766 per game compared to 15,973 per game in 2016.

The drop in attendance for the USWNT is more pronounced because the year 2015 featured the 10-match US Victory Tour across the United States after the women’s team won the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.

Here are the home attendances for both the USMNT and USWNT for 2016:

2016 USMNT Attendances

January 31: USA vs Iceland (friendly), Stubhub Center, Carson, CA; 8,803

February 5: USA vs. Canada (friendly), Stubhub Center, Carson, CA; 9,274

March 29: USA vs. Guatemala (World Cup qualifier), Mapfre Stadium, Columbus, OH; 20,624

May 25: USA vs. Ecuador (friendly), Toyota Stadium, Frisco TX: 9,893

May 28: USA vs. Bolivia (friendly), Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, KS: 8,894

June 3: USA vs. Colombia (Copa America), Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA: 67,439

June 7: USA vs. Costa Rica (Copa America), Soldier Field, Chicago, IL: 39,642

June 11: USA vs. Paraguay (Copa America), Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA: 51,041

June 16: USA vs. Ecuador (Copa America), Century Link Field, Seattle, WA: 47,322

June 21: USA vs. Argentina (Copa America), NRG Stadium, Houston, TX: 70,858

June 25: USA vs. Colombia (Copa America), University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ: 29,041

September 6: USA vs. Trinidad-Tobago (World Cup qualifier), Everbank Field, Jacksonville, FL: 19,410

October 11: USA vs. New Zealand (friendly), RFK Stadium, Washington DC: 9,012

November 11: USA vs. Mexico (World Cup qualifier), Mapfre Stadium, Columbus, OH: 24,650

Total attendance: 415,903
Average attendance: 29,707

 

2016 USWNT Attendances

January 23: USA vs. Ireland (friendly), Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA: 23,309

February 10: USA vs. Costa Rica (Olympic qualifier), Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX: 8,143

February 13: USA vs. Mexico (Olympic qualifier), Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX: 15,032

February 15: USA vs. Puerto Rico (Olympic qualifier), Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX: 7,658

February 19: USA vs. Trinidad-Tobago (Olympic qualifier), BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX: 5,561

February 21: USA vs. Canada (Olympic qualifier), BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX: 10,119

March 3: USA vs. England (She Believes Cup), Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL: 13,027

March 6: USA vs. France (She Believes Cup), Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN: 25,363

March 9: USA vs. Germany (She Believes Cup), FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL: 13,501

April 6: USA vs. Colombia (friendly), Pratt & Whitney Stadium, Hartford, CT: 21,792

April 10: USA vs. Colombia (friendly), Talen Energy Stadium, Chester, PA: 17,275

June 2: USA vs. Japan (friendly), Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, CO: 18,572

June 5: USA vs. Japan (friendly), First Energy Stadium, Cleveland, OH: 23,535

July 9: USA vs. South Africa (friendly), Soldier Field, Chicago, IL: 19,272

July 22: USA vs. Costa Rica (friendly), Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, KS: 12,635

September 15: USA vs. Thailand (friendly), Mapfre Stadium, Columbus, OH: 10,490

September 18: USA vs. Netherlands (friendly), Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA: 15,652

October 19: USA vs. Switzerland (friendly), Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, UT: 14,336

October 23: USA vs. Switzerland (friendly), US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN: 23,400

November 10: USA vs. Romania (friendly), Avaya Stadium, San Jose, CA: 16,425

November 13: USA vs. Romania (friendly), Stubhub Center, Carson, CA: 20,336

Total attendance: 335,433
Average attendance: 15,973

 

To improve attendance numbers in 2017, the US Soccer Federation needs to price tickets so they’re more affordable. Trying to fleece soccer fans for $90 a ticket to see a friendly on a Tuesday night isn’t working especially when the morale among supporters is low given the poor performances by the men’s team. For the women, the USWNT doesn’t have a major tournament for another three years, so numbers are unlikely to do much better in 2017.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. no name

    March 8, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    Headcounts are wildly exaggerated across soccer. Don’t believe these stats; they started out hopelessly optimistic and included thousands of tickets never sold.

  2. Brendan T. Cummings

    November 16, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Maybe the US Soccer Federation doesn’t need the fan who cannot afford exorbitant prices. But they sure need passionate fans to promote the game and promote the team. I will agree you never know what you’re going to get when you see the #USMNT in a friendly. Maybe because fans are becoming more sophisticated and want to watch games that matter instead of something that is a glorified training session. Oops, I forgot Klinsmann has training sessions in World Cup Qualifiers

    • Lawrence Dockery

      November 16, 2016 at 2:55 pm

      It’s not that they can’t afford it, it’s that it’s not necessarily a wise financial decision for a family of four to spend $400 to go see a friendly.

      • Tim

        November 16, 2016 at 3:32 pm

        Exactly and most fans travel. So you have travel, lodging, food and drink and then spend a boatload on tickets! I gave up two days of work plus hotel costs, gas money, etc for the Mexico game and for what? To spend over $100 a ticket to watch a bad game? I can afford it but my time is more important and it does not help that after all is said I don’t I spent around $600. I just don’t see the value and that’s why attendance is lagging.

  3. Tim

    November 16, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Have you seen their ticket prices? They are outrageous! In 2012 during the semifinal round vs Jamaica in Columbus Ohio you can get an endline ticket for $45 which is reasonable for that round. The game sold out with added seating. In 2016 for the same round game vs Guatemala in the same stadium the ticket was over $70 for endline and $90 for upper deck. That game did not sell out and there was noticeable seats available. US soccer is giving us an inferior product and asking for NBA prices. Fire Klinsman!

    • Lawrence Dockery

      November 16, 2016 at 11:51 am

      I went to the MNT friendly in July of 2015 against Guatemala in Nashville. Seats 6 rows behind the goal for $25. Not bad at all. Post Gold Cup though, Sunil has jacked everything sky high. And he’s been smugly arrogant about it too, saying that US Soccer can make just as much money off of 10K at $90 as they can with a full stadium at reasonable prices.

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