Perhaps the biggest metric used to gauge the growing popularity of soccer in the USA is attendance. Bigger crowds means more money and more eyeballs. That in turn leads back to bigger crowds. And so on and so forth until soccer becomes a behemoth. In researching the data for 2022, we compiled a list of the top 20 biggest soccer attendances in USA.
So without further ado, here are the top 20 biggest soccer attendances in USA for 2022:
Attendance figures for 2022
|July 30||Friendly||Real Madrid – Juventus||Rose Bowl||93,702|
|July 23||Friendly||Manchester City – Bayern Munich||Lambeau Field||78,128|
|March 5||MLS||Charlotte – LA Galaxy||Bank of America Stadium||74,479|
|August 3||Leagues Cup||LA Galaxy – Chivas & LAFC – Club America||SoFi Stadium||71,189|
|May 4||Champions League||Seattle Sounders – Pumas||Lumen Field||68,741|
|August 6||MLS||Atlanta – Seattle||Mercedes-Benz Stadium||68,586|
|February 27||MLS||Atlanta – Sporting Kansas City||Mercedes-Benz Stadium||67,523|
|July 9||MLS||Atlanta – Austin||Mercedes-Benz Stadium||67,516|
|September 27||Friendly||Mexico – Colombia||Levi’s Stadium||67,311|
|September 23||Friendly||Argentina – Honduras||Hard Rock Stadium||64,420|
|July 23||Friendly||Arsenal – Chelsea||Camping World Stadium||63,811|
|September 24||Friendly||Mexico – Peru||Rose Bowl||62,729|
|July 23||Friendly||Barcelona – Real Madrid||Allegiant Stadium||61,299|
|July 20||Friendly||Manchester City – Club America||NRG Stadium||61,223|
|June 5||Friendly||Mexico – Ecuador||Soldier Field||61,104|
|July 26||Friendly||Barcelona – Juventus||Cotton Bowl||58,127|
|June 2||Friendly||Mexico – Uruguay||State Farm Stadium||57,735|
|May 28||Friendly||Mexico – Nigeria||AT&T Stadium||56,872|
|July 20||Friendly||Charlotte – Chelsea||Bank of America Stadium||52,673|
|August 31||Friendly||Mexico – Paraguay||Mercedes-Benz Stadium||51,387|
Out of the top 20 most attended games, only four of them are Major League Soccer games. And three of those four are Atlanta United matches. Accordingly, that means only 20% of the top 20 most attended games feature MLS games.
The league certainly has a long way to go in order to attract bigger attendances. This summer’s Leagues Cup could go a long way to boost crowd sizes by leveraging the support from Liga MX fans.
Biggest soccer attendances in USA for 2022
All told, there were 38 games played in the US in 2022 that drew over 40,000 people. That number is up from 28 such games last year. And it is also way up compared to 2020 when there were three such games prior to COVID shutting the world down. The crowds can be broken down as follows:
- 18 crowds in the 40,000’s
- 5 crowds in the 50,000’s
- 11 crowds in the 60,000’s
- 5 crowds in the 70,000’s
- 1 crowd in the 90,000’s
It has long been the case that European club teams tend to draw massive crowds for the preseason games in the US. This year was no different. Five of the games on this list were between two European clubs. An additional four games on this list featured one European club.
Moreover, it is no surprise that some of the biggest crowds were there to see the biggest clubs from all over Europe. Teams from England included Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal. There were the two Spanish giants of Real Madrid and Barcelona. And, of course, Germany and Italy leagues were both represented with Bayern Munich and Juventus.
Mexican national team
The least surprising American soccer news is Mexico drawing some of the largest soccer crowds in the United States. Six of the seven games that El Tri played stateside in 2022 had big attendances. All six of those games cracked the 50,000 mark. That’s an especially impressive number considering they were all friendlies rather than Gold Cup or Nations League games.
Lack of US national team
The year 2022 marks the first time since 2006 that the list of largest soccer crowds in the US does not feature either the USMNT or the USWNT. As frustrating as that is to American fans, it really isn’t a surprise given US Soccer’s conscious and shortsighted decision to only play in the same few stadiums. Hopefully, with the USMNT coming off a Round of 16 appearance in Qatar, and the USWNT preparing for the Women’s World Cup, they get back to drawing large crowds.
For years, the Seattle Sounders were the beacon of what American soccer support could be. Then, that mantle passed to Atlanta United. Both clubs are present on this list. The Sounders made it to the CONCACAF Champions League Final against Pumas. And, it featured with the Cascadia Cup rivalry with the Portland Timbers. Nearly every single Atlanta United game had a sizable crowd too.
But, it is not just Atlanta and Seattle doing well. Charlotte FC, the newest MLS expansion team, generated several huge attendances. Their first ever home game was the third largest crowd in the world the weekend it was played. They had a great crowd as they entered the race to the playoffs at the end of the season. And for good measure they had a solid attendance for an exhibition against Chelsea.
Finally, when looking at these games, note the actual stadiums in use. Almost all of the stadiums have a primary tenant that is an NFL team. Granted, Atlanta constructed its new stadium with the intention of enticing Major League Soccer to get Atlanta an expansion team. That was a success, and Atlanta United has by far the biggest stadium in Major League Soccer when it comes to its reduced capacity. At full capacity, Bank of America, home of Charlotte FC, and Lumen Field for the Sounders can rival Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Still, those three stadiums are more known for their NFL teams. The Falcons, Panthers and Seahawks, play at maximum capacity. Charlotte FC played at a capacity for much of the season at 38,000. Seattle Sounders hovered just under that. Therefore, seeing some of the expanded capacities at those venues is not much of a surprise. Still, it can be a testament to the popularity of those teams in those respective areas to have maximum capacity games on special occasions that jump over 50,000.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Icon Sportswire
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