One of the unique things about the American soccer landscape is the number of fans of other nations in the country. Nobody fits that bill better than Mexico.
As has been the case in years past, Mexico’s attendance dwarfs that of the USMNT. But 2018 saw the gap reach historic proportions. This year, Mexico’s attendance is 146% higher than that of the US (59,678 to 24,163). It was much closer last year (43,586 to 29,400) but that’s still a gap of 32%. 2016 saw Mexico average 51,200 to 29,707 for the US, a gap of 41%. Even during 2011, when the US had it’s best yearly attendance ever of 40,314 they were vastly outdrawn by Mexico with 59,657 (a gap of 32%). One small irony is that the 2nd worst crowd of the year for Mexico was against the US, while that same game was the best crowd of the year for the MNT.
It makes sense for Mexico to schedule a number of El Tri’s friendlies in the US given the massive size of their fanbase here. Mexico regular fills up NFL stadiums for their games and have for quite some time. With 2018 being a World Cup year and Mexico feeling like they had a great chance to finally get past the Round of 16 in Russia (they did not), excitement was high.
How did it translate in the stands? For the most part, very well.
2018 Mexico Attendance in the US:
1/31/18 – Friendly – Mexico vs. Bosnia & Herzegovina – Alamodome – 26,867
3/23/18 – Friendly – Mexico vs. Iceland – Levi’s Stadium – 68,917
3/27/18 – Friendly – Mexico vs. Croatia – AT&T Stadium – 79,128
5/28/18 – Friendly – Mexico vs. Wales – Rose Bowl – 82,345
9/7/18 – Friendly – Mexico vs. Uruguay – NRG Stadium – 60,617
9/11/18 – Friendly – Mexico vs. USA – Nissan Stadium – 40,194
• Total Attendance: 358,068
• Average Attendance: 59,678
The 59,678 per game in 2018 is a solid increase of 37% from 43,586 in 2017. It was also the highest average attendance for Mexico games in the US since 2015 when they averaged 64,141 per game. It does stack up pretty well when compared to other World Cup years: 59,678 in 2018, 58,597 in 2014, 66,036 in 2010, and 46,605 in 2006. It’s also worth noting that the six games that Mexico played in the US in 2018 were the fewest it’s played here since 2012, which is not entirely unexpected given that neither the Gold Cup nor Copa America were being played this year.
Next year, Mexico will take part in the Gold Cup, which as usual, will be hosted in the US. Tata Martino will have officially taken the reins by then and with the talent at his disposal, and he will have El Tri humming right along. With the results trending up and competitive games firing up again, there’s no reason to suspect that Mexico attendance in 2019 won’t be as good or better than it was this year.