It was Rivalry Week in Major League Soccer and the debut of NBC Sports Network’s MLS Breakaway. Following the live televising of the Red Bulls/United match on NBC and the Sporting/Chicago match on NBCSN, the Breakaway featured studio analysis and live look-ins at various games following the conclusion of the Sporting match. Despite some hiccups, including no goals in the first two matches and the preemption of the Red Bulls game on the New York NBC affiliate, the full day of soccer was fun and Breakaway was well produced. We will have more on the Breakaway later in the week.
One other business story before we get to attendance comes out of Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake City Tribune provides a detailed look at RSL’s finances including some input from RSL’s new owner Dell Loy Hansen. The article indicates that the team was in dire financial straights when Hansen got involved. “When Hansen first came on, RSL was bringing in $2.8 million in sponsorships a year. This season, the club will bring in $8.5 million, he said. That number will cross the $10 million mark next year with a new jersey-front sponsorship deal.” The article is worth a detailed read.
On to attendance, where the scoreless home opener at RBA enjoyed a crowd of more than 22k despite some chilly weather in New Jersey. Despite the appearance of some empty seats, Sporting managed an “over capacity” crowd of almost 20k. The Montreal/TFC match at Olympic Stadium managed almost 38k in Montreal. Philly edged out New England more almost 16k, while the Columbus home opener enjoyed a crowd of 16,500, down about a thousand from last year’s first match. The night match on NBCSN from Rio Tinto looked great on television with more than 20k in attendance. Seattle cracked 40k for their draw with Portland. On Sunday, Dallas played host to more than 15,500 for their rivalry game against Houston.
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