The Tuesday After: WPS Update, MLS in a Bar & More

With the WPS’ second season coming to a close, we thought we would give Women’s league top billing in this edition of Soccer Business Bits.   There were three games this weekend, including a Sunday night match at Toyota Park.  The game drew just over 4k.  In Atlanta, more than 4700 saw a scoreless draw at Atlanta Beat Stadium (it remains disappointing that the team couldn’t locate a jersey sponsor). Finally, a small crowd out West saw FC Gold Pride play Boston.  Only 2500 were in attendance.

We were in New York over the weekend, and made a point of heading down to the hotel bar to watch the Red Bulls/RSL match, arguably the marquee match of the weekend.  We were impressed how accomodating the bartenders were in switching the televsion to Madison Square Garden Network.  Unfortunately, the game had been displaced from MSG by a random college football game, and it took some time to find MSG Plus on the bar television.  That said, the bar experience was fairly positive and multiple people joined in the game watching experience (other than the guy who asked if I new someone on the team).  Rio Tinto made a grade venue for a marquee matchup and impressed those watching the match.

Finally, it was a weekend of fairly low attendance around MLS (with the exception of RSL), with many crowds well south of 15k.  It will be interesting to monitor attendance as the playoff drive gets underway.  MLS typically draws well in the fall with the traditional high school and club soccer seasons underway in the Northeast, fans scrambing to use tickets from mini-plans and school in session.  For the first time, only half of MLS teams will make the playoffs.  As teams fade from the race, it will be interesting to see if attendance falters.  Our thought is that attendance will remain strong, because an unfortunate number of MLS match attendees have no idea of where the home team stands in the table.

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2 Responses

  1. So true on the last point. Too many times people have asked me during Sounders games if we are winning the league or not.

  2. So on your last point. In which city do the majority of fans don’t know what their records are?

    This is just based on my travels and interactions with fans across MLS.

    These cities the majority of fans most certainly do know:
    Chicago
    Philadelphia
    DC
    Toronto
    Seattle (yeah all those people are ignoring the teams record, turn out for US Open Cup games paints a picture of knowledgeable fans).
    Columbus
    Salt Lake
    NE
    Houston

    Iffy:
    NY: fans turning out for Marquez and Henry point to knowledgeable fans but who knows if that has translated into Red Bull fans yet
    Galaxy: Beckham and Donovan as main draws always make me wonder but they do have some very passionate supporters.
    Chivas
    KC: normally I would say the majority of their fans are just casual but I was there in the pissing rain and they had a bunch of people turn out to watch the game at that craptastic place they currently play in.
    San Jose: they draw pretty well for their stadium capacity size, fans seemed pretty knowledgeable when I was there.

    You might have a point:
    Colorado
    Dallas

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