US suffers back-to-back average annual attendance under 30k for first time in decade

Photo credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

For the average US Men’s National Team home attendance during 2017, it was a case of good news and bad news. The good news is that it only fell 1% when compared to the average attendance in 2016. The bad news is that it’s the first time in more than 10 years that the national men’s team suffered average attendances of less than 30,000 in back-to-back years.

The last time the United States Men’s National Team had average attendances of less than 30,000 in consecutive years, it was 2005 and 2006.

From 2016 to 2017, the USMNT average home attendance dropped from 29,707 to 29,400 for a decrease of 1%. After suffering a 23% drop from 2015 to 2016, this is welcome news.

There are a variety of factors that played into the recent decline. First and foremost, the USMNT had zero crowds of under 10,000 in 2017, while in 2016 every single MNT friendly drew under 10,000 fans. Its’ difficult to explain why this is, but some believe that many fans had checked out on the team while Jurgen Klinsmann was still manager and once he was gone those fans were happy to go back to games again. While the drop in attendance was small, it was a drop nonetheless. However, that can probably be chalked up to venue choices for some of the games in 2017: six of the stadiums the MNT played in this year hold fewer than 26,000 people and three of those six hold fewer than 20,000. There were also several bright spots this year, namely in the state of Tennessee as over 17,000 people saw the US play a January Camp game in Chattanooga against Jamaica and over 47,000 people saw the US play their Gold Cup opener against Panama in Nashville (which substantially helped boost Nashville’s push to land an MLS team).

While the trend this year is better than it was last year, the fact remains that the US failed to qualify for the World Cup and it cannot be overstated how damaging that will be for crowds in the near future.

Here are the home attendances for the US Men’s National Team in 2017:

2017 USMNT Attendances

1/29/17 – Friendly – USA vs. Serbia – Qualcomm 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: 411,598
Average Attendance: 29,400

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