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Top 40 most-attended soccer games in the United States in 2016

Photo credit: Gary Rohman/MLS/USA TODAY Sports

Photo credit: Gary Rohman/MLS/USA TODAY Sports

With 2016 winding down, it’s time to take a look at the most-attended soccer games in the United States.

Looking back at 2016, there were 43 games that were attended by 40,000 people or more. That’s a slight decrease from the 45 games that achieved that mark in 2015, but an increase from 2014 when there were 35 games that surpassed 40,000.

You would think that the US Men’s National Team and most high-profile teams from Major League Soccer would be ruling over this list. In fact, that could be nothing further from the truth. As expected the Copa America Centenario provided a big boost, with 20 of the games from that tournament hitting at least 40,000. Another unsurprising stat is that the city of Seattle was one of the cities with the most highly attended games, reaching the 40,000 barrier a total of 13 times. The biggest standout on this list though is the 105,826 for Real Madrid vs. Chelsea at The Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the second time in the last three years a soccer game in the US has drawn over 100,000 people (prior to Real Madrid vs. Manchester United in 2014 the last 100,000 plus game in the US was the 1984 Olympic Gold Medal Game between Brazil and Italy at the Rose Bowl).

While the 43 good crowds this year is down from the 45 good crowds last year, it is up from 18 in 2012 (which is the comparable year in the four year cycle that is international soccer). While the usual suspects (in terms of drawing large crowds) such as Seattle and New York were well represented, this year there were some non-traditional locales as well including Charlotte, Nashville and Atlanta. It all points to soccer really and truly shedding the notion of a “fringe sport” and closing the geographic gap, which is what is necessary to get the whole country behind the game.

Here are the top 40 most-attended soccer games in the United States in 2016:

1. Real Madrid vs. Chelsea, International Champions Cup, July 30,  Michigan Stadium: 105,826
2. Real Madrid vs. PSG, International Champions Cup, July 27, Ohio Stadium: 86,641
3. Mexico vs. Jamaica, Copa America, June 9, Rose Bowl: 83,263
4. Argentina vs. Chile, Copa America, June 26, MetLife Stadium: 82,026
5. Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid, International Champions Cup, August 3, MetLife Stadium: 82,012
6. Colombia vs. Peru, Copa America, June 17, MetLife Stadium: 79,194
7. USA vs. Argentina, Copa America, June 21, NRG Stadium: 70,858
8. Mexico vs. Chile, Copa America, June 18, Levi’s Stadium: 70,547
9. Argentina vs. Chile, Copa America, June 6, Levi’s Stadium: 69,451
10. Mexico vs. Chile, Friendly, June 1, Qualcomm Stadium: 68,254
11. USA vs. Colombia, Copa America, June 3, Levi’s Stadium: 67,439
12. Mexico vs. Venezuela, Copa America, June 13, NRG Stadium: 67,319
13. Chelsea vs. AC Milan, International Champions Cup, August 3, US Bank Stadium: 64,101
14. Mexico vs. Paraguay, Friendly, May 28, Georgia Dome: 63,049
15. Orlando City vs. Real Salt Lake, MLS, March 6, Camping World Stadium: 60,147
16. Mexico vs. Uruguay, Copa America, June 5, University of Phoenix Stadium: 60,025
17. Argentina vs. Venezuela, Copa America, June 18, Gillette Stadium: 59,183
18. Colombia vs. Chile, Copa America, June 22, Soldier Field: 55,423
19. Argentina vs. Panama, Copa America, June 10, Soldier Field: 53,885
20. Bayern Munich vs. Inter Milan, International Champions Cup, July 30, Bank of America Stadium: 53,629
21. Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers, MLS, August 21, CenturyLink Field: 53,302
22. Brazil vs. Ecuador, Copa America, June 4, Rose Bowl: 53,158
23. Chelsea vs. Liverpool, International Champions Cup, July 27, Rose Bowl: 53,117
24. USA vs. Paraguay, Copa America, June 11, Lincoln Financial Field: 51,041
25. Ecuador vs. Haiti, Copa America, June 12, MetLife Stadium: 50,976
26. San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy, MLS, June 25, Stanford Stadium: 50,816
27. Seattle Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake, MLS, October 23, CenturyLink Field: 50,022
28. Seattle Sounders vs. LA Galaxy, MLS,, July 31, CenturyLink Field: 48,458
29. Seattle Sounders vs. NYCFC, MLS, June 25, CenturyLink Field: 47,537
30. USA vs. Ecuador, Copa America, June 16, CenturyLink Field: 47,322
31. Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, MLS, September 17, CenturyLink Field: 47,111
32. Colombia vs. Costa Rica, Copa America, June 11, NRG Stadium: 45,808
33. Argentina vs. Bolivia, Copa America, June 14, CenturyLink Field: 45,753
34. Bayern Munich vs. AC Milan, International Champions Cup, July 27, Soldier Field: 44,826
35. Seattle Sounders vs. Club America, CONCACAF Champions League, February 23, CenturyLink Field: 42,836
36. Seattle Sounders vs. Colorado Rapids, MLS, November 22, CenturyLink Field: 42,774
37. Colombia vs. Paraguay, Copa America, June 7, Rose Bowl: 42,766
38. Seattle Sounders vs. Colorado Rapids, MLS, May 21, CenturyLink Field: 41,028
39. Seattle Sounders vs. LA Galaxy, MLS, July 9, CenturyLink Field: 40,813
40. Mexico vs. New Zealand, Friendly, October 8, Nissan Stadium: 40,287
41. Uruguay vs. Jamaica, Copa America, June 13, Levi’s Stadium: 40,166
42. Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas, MLS, July 13, CenturyLink Field: 40,101
43. Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, MLS, March 19, CenturyLink Field: 40,012

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. NaBUru38

    December 14, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    In 2015, New York City played the Red Bulls in front of 48k spectators and New England in front of 43k.
    In 2016, the most attended game was versus the Red Bulls with 38k.
    Their averaged dropped from 29k to 27k.

    • Lawrence Dockery

      December 14, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      Odd. I remember the day of the 7-0 beatdown and thinking that it was going to be a sellout or something close to it. Any idea as to why it didn’t draw as well this year?

  2. Evan Castaneda

    December 14, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Wow and yet we did not get the world cup we deserve. We have plenty of stadiums to hold any competition. No need to build new ones here.

    • Lawrence Dockery

      December 14, 2016 at 4:54 pm

      Exactly. Plus a lot of cities in the US could be considered “destination” cities (LA, New York, Miami, etc). Who wants to go to Russia or Qatar?

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