At various times over the years, many articles have been written about how Mexico is the most popular and best supported national team among soccer fans in the United States.
From The Guardian and The Washington Post writing pieces about it during the Copa America Centenario in 2016, to The Washington Post writing about it again during the 2018 World Cup. The reason for that comes down to a very simple fact: Mexico draws substantially better than the USMNT within the US. There’s a reason that the US plays most if it’s games in smaller MLS venues while El Tri plays the majority of its games in the US in NFL stadiums. Just how big is the gap between Mexico’s attendance in the US and the USMNT? In 2019, the USMNT drew a paltry average of 23,306 per game while Mexico averaged 57,546 per game. That makes Mexico’s attendance 147% greater than the USMNT’s. There’s no doubting that Mexico is America’s team.
While they have continually dominated the US in terms of attendance, the attendance for Mexico games in the US has been somewhat up and down. In 2015, it was an astonishing 64,141 over the course of 14 games. In 2016, it dropped 20% to 51,200 despite playing four games at the Copa America Centenario. The year 2017 saw it drop a further 15% to 43,586 which can probably just be chalked up to Mexico sending their “B” squad to the Gold Cup. It bounced back in 2018 to 59,678, up 40% from the year before (World Cup years tend to have that effect). But in 2019, despite their dominance over the US, both on the field and in the stands, attendance fell to 57,546 which represents a drop of 4%. When compared to the concurrent year in the previous cycle (2015), it’s 10% lower.
Here’s a full list of the attendances for Mexico in the US in 2019.
3/22/19 – Friendly – Mexico vs. Chile – SDCCU Stadium – 49,617
3/26/19 – Friendly – Mexico vs. Paraguay – Levi’s Stadium – 50,317
6/5/19 – Friendly – Mexico vs. Venezuela – Mercedes-Benz Stadium – 51,834
6/9/19 – Friendly – Mexico vs. Ecuador – AT&T Stadium – 59,222
6/15/19 – Gold Cup – Mexico vs. Cuba – Rose Bowl – 65,527
6/19/19 – Gold Cup – Mexico vs. Canada – Broncos Stadium – 52,874
6/23/19 – Gold Cup – Mexico vs. Martinique – Bank of America Stadium – 59,283
6/29/19 – Gold Cup – Mexico vs. Costa Rica – NRG Stadium – 70,788
7/2/19 – Gold Cup – Mexico vs. Haiti – State Farm Stadium – 64,128
7/7/19 – Gold Cup – Mexico vs. USA – Soldier Field – 62,493
9/6/19 – Friendly – Mexico vs. USA – MetLife Stadium – 47,960
9/10/19 – Friendly – Mexico vs. Argentina – Alamodome – 56,511
Total Attendance: 690,554
Average Attendance: 57,546
Funnily enough, the least attended game that Mexico played in the US this year was against the USMNT in a friendly in September (which El Tri won resoundingly). This comes after the second least-attended Mexico game in the US in 2018, which was also against the USMNT. It seems like El Tri fans are just as burnt out on US/Mexico friendlies every year as US fans are. Of course, the Gold Cup Final between the two teams was a different story, as a completely full house saw the two teams battle for an actual trophy. Another interesting little tidbit is that Mexico played the first international soccer game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The interesting thing about it is that Mexico boss Tata Martino used to manage Atlanta United (he won MLS Cup in 2018 immediately prior to taking the Mexico job). Not only that but the game was against Venezuela and Atlanta United superstar Josef Martinez.
So there’s no disputing that when it comes to soccer, Mexico is absolutely America’s team. And with Mexico rocking and rolling under Tata Martino (16 wins, 1 loss – including 2-0 against the US) and the US continuing to hit all the wrong notes under Gregg Berhalter, there’s no reason to think that gap is going to close any time soon.