Back to a full slate of games in Major League Soccer after a break for international competition. Before we get to the attendance, here are a couple of business items from the weekend. We’ll start on television, where the broadcast version of NBC made its debut on Saturday afternoon. The network did a great job with the telecast and everything about the broadcast screamed professionalism. Unfortunately for the network, the game was a bit of a snoozer in the first half, but the repeated crowd shots, and stadium volume made for a great backdrop. The ratings aren’t out for the NBC match, but reports indicate that the USA/Jamaica game on ESPN2 drew just under one million viewers. Not bad for a mid-week soccer game, but when compared to the almost 4 million that watched Mexco/Cost Rica on Univision…. (thanks to Soccer America for the numbers).
On to attendance, where the week started slowly, courtesy of a sub-15k crowd at struggling Toronto. Every bad crowd at BMO leads to excessive hand wringing from pundits about the team’s on the field incompetence finally hurting the gate. SKC had a solid crowd on Saturday with just shy of 20k in attendance for the nationally televised match. That same night, the Galaxy nudged past 20k for their home victory.
TFC followed its weak mid-week crowd with less than 16k on the weekend. A 20k+ sellout in Portland provided the raucous background for NBC’s first telecast.. 17k plus were treated to Henry’s glorious goal at Red Bull Arena on Saturday, while DC United crept past 15k for their important home victory over the Revs. Surging Chicago managed more than 17,500 for their Saturday night match at Toyota Park, a figure equaled in Dallas for their riveting Saturday night affair. Chivas USA finished out the night with a paltry 11k plus.
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