Some quick thoughts before we get to the Major League Soccer attendance. First, I’ve started to see promotions for MLS during the NBC broadcasts of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. As previously noted, the hockey games draw huge eyeballs and regular promotions should drive some traffic to NBSCN telecasts of soccer.
Second, the schedule of games this weekend was telling. When TFC first joined the league, they were one of the few franchises to schedule games for late Saturday afternoon. These times had previously been a soccer dead zone, and summoned memories of the Clash playing the Burn before a sweltering, high school sized crowd at 4:00 from the Cotton Bowl in the league’s early years. However, since TFC returned to the practice of scheduling these matches, other teams have followed suit. This past weekend, Philly, New England, Seattle and TFC all hosted mid-afternoon games. Whether this trend will continue and will positively impact televising ratings remains to be seen. However, it is telling that many of the league’s newer franchises prefer these afternoon games.
On to attendance, more than 18,500 turned out for Philly’s first win of the season in a nationally televised battle. Perhaps suffering from sports overload in Beantown, the Revs only mustered 10k+ for their home loss to DC United. Seattle managed more than 38k for their afternoon tilt while TFC also managed almost 18,500. Other than the Revs (who have suffered with early season gate issues for a while now), these crowds suggest that afternoons are workable. However, the “big 3″ are also “new” MLS teams.
In the evening games, Sporting managed a bit crowd in excess of 19k for their much hyped match against RSL. FC Dallas followed with a very solid 16k+ while the Red Bulls managed just over 17k. Later in the evening, more than 22k were treated to a Galaxy win and clinching Beckham goal.
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