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bobbyake

Major League Soccer shows very strong growth in the US

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This is very good news for all soccer in the US.

"MLS merchandise sales increased 35 percent this year, when the league's regular-season attendance rose 7 percent to a record 17,872. The league's average viewers for telecasts on ESPN and ESPN2 rose 16 percent to 311,000, according to Nielsen Media Research, and viewers on Fox Soccer Channel increased 26 percent to an average of 70,000. For Spanish-language broadcasts on Telefutura, viewers increased 10 percent to an average of 233,000."

Source MLS commissioner Don Garber

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With soccer passing the NBA in attendance, it would be interesting to compare the current trends of the MLS with the MLB, NHL, and NFL. Maybe I'll start collecting data if I have any free time.

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And now many of the players have 8 digit salaries (including the two digits after the .)

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And now many of the players have 8 digit salaries (including the two digits after the .)

there are a few Zips players making good $$ in the MLS

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I think another thing to add about these attendance figures is that many of these teams are at or near capacity for these season averages. Some places (like Portland) will see a rise in attendance with the building of a new soccer specific stadium.

The sport is really growing. It's too bad we don't have a pro team here (other than the Zips lol).

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I think another thing to add about these attendance figures is that many of these teams are at or near capacity for these season averages. Some places (like Portland) will see a rise in attendance with the building of a new soccer specific stadium.

The sport is really growing. It's too bad we don't have a pro team here (other than the Zips lol).

Portland already moved into their stadium. I think you mean Houston. Montreal should add a good boost.

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Montreal's new stadium will hold 20,341 which should sell out for the entire season.

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I think another thing to add about these attendance figures is that many of these teams are at or near capacity for these season averages. Some places (like Portland) will see a rise in attendance with the building of a new soccer specific stadium.

The sport is really growing. It's too bad we don't have a pro team here (other than the Zips lol).

Portland already moved into their stadium. I think you mean Houston. Montreal should add a good boost.

Yes, meant to say Houston...Portland for some reason was on my mind with that old minor league stadium.

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American's don't care about soccer?

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Attendance is overall up this year, if I had the time, I'd do a better comparison that compared games for the same time period.

Team Attendance Capacity Percent Full Last Year's Average Attendance

Chicago Fire 18,075 20,000 90.38% 14,274

Chivas USA 11,853 18,800 63.05% 14,830

Colorado Rapids 13,949 18,086 77.13% 14,838

Columbus Crew 14,857 20,145 73.75% 12,185

DC United 15,045 19,467 77.28% 15,211

FC Dallas 14,717 20,500 71.19% 12,861

Houston Dynamo 22,000 % 17,694

Los Angeles Galaxy 22,263 27,000 82.46% 23,335

Montreal Impact 41,016 20,341 201.64% ---

NE Revolution 12,925 20,000 64.63% 13,222

New York Red Bulls 17,220 25,000 68.88% 19,691

Philadelphia Union 18,132 18,500 98.01% 18,258

Portland Timbers 20,438 20,438 100.00% 18,827

Real Salt Lake 18,554 20,213 91.79% 17,594

San Jose Earthquakes 14,289 10,525 135.76% 11,858

Seattle Sounders 38,438 38,500 99.84% 38,495

Sporting Kansas City 18,420 18,467 99.75% 17,810

Toronto FC 19,507 21,140 92.28% 20,267

Vancouver Whitecaps 20,197 21,000 96.18% 20,406

Average 19,576 21,059 92.96% 17,870

It looks like Atlanta is going to give Orlando some competition for the #20 expansion spot. NASL Opening Weekend Attendance Rises From 2011

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I wouldn't count out another New York franchise (Cosmos?) either.

Don Garber has made it pretty clear he is committed to making NY2 the 20th team. He has visited other cities and met with supporter groups, but I just get the impression that he really wants a second New York team and any other city would just be potential expansion after that in a few years. I would like to see a team in the southeast somewhere since that are has no teams.

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So far, the NBC deal with the MLS is working out well

MLS on NBC Sports Doing Good, Not Historic, TV Ratings Thus Far

Averaging 106k per game, beating Fox Soccer's coverage by 55%. A 100k average is their goal for the year.

If the MLS continues to do well on NBC Sports, maybe they'll consider showing college soccer games? It sucks to watch the NCAA tournament only through a university provided stream.

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this is from 1994 but enjoyable to read as it shows the pessimism the media had towards soccer in the US. I'm starting to understand why some of the old people on this board have a hard time grasping the MLS's recent success. A lot of people bought into the negative pessimism about US soccer. The Iffy Future Of Soccer U.s. Pro League: Can It Survive?

"There is no chance it will survive," said Nye Lavalle, an analyst who runs Sports Marketing Group in Dallas. "Absolutely no chance whatsoever."

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Some interesting quotes regarding Professional Soccer in the US:

1967 “(Soccer) has every ingredient to appeal to the American people. It’s fast; there is physical contact; women can understand it.” Atlanta Chiefs owner Bill Bartholomay, quoted on February 21, 1967, a couple of months before the launch of the new National Professional Soccer League.

1969 “Give a coach of the caliber of Ivan Toplak of Oakland, or Phil Woosnam of Atlanta 11 top American high school athletes for five years and a complete new style of soccer will emerge–one based upon speed, power and the American penchant for tactical formations–an exciting and formidable style that could well give America the World Cup by 1974.” Basil Kane, Soccer for American Spectators, 1969

1973 “In six or eight years our franchises will be worth more than those in the National Football League.” Phil Woosnam in 1973

1974 “We’re not in this to make a fast dollar, and realize it will take three years, perhaps, to break even.” Lee Stern after buying an NASL franchise (the Chicago Sting) for $250,000 on October 31, 1974

1974 “I’m tickled pink. If we got 10,000 this time, we’re sure to get 15,000-18,000 next time.” Washington Diplomats co-owner Mike Finci after 10,145 fans came to RFK Stadium to see the expansion Dips lose 5-1 to Philadelphia on May 4, 1974. They did draw 11,887 for their second home match two weeks later, but then the bottom dropped out and the 7-12-1 Dips finished 11th out of 15 teams in average attendance at 4,975 per game.

1976 “In 10 years at the very most, America will be in competition for the World Cup.” Mercurial star George Best, then of the Los Angeles Aztecs, quoted inSports Illustrated, July 19, 1976

1977 “In five years we’re going to be as popular as the NFL is today. And in 10 years we’re going to be the number one sport in America and the biggest league in the world.” NASL Commissioner Phil Woosnam, August 29, 1977. Five years later, the NASL was a shell of its former self and three years after that, it was gone.

1977 “This sport will take off. There is absolutely no way that it will not bypass everything else. This country will be the center of world soccer. In the 80s there will be a mania for the game here. The NASL will be the world’s number one soccer league. And it will be the biggest sports league in the USA.” North American Soccer League Commissioner Phil Woosnam, in 1977

1979 “In 10 or 15 years, we see soccer as bigger than football in this country.” New England Tea Men president Derek Carroll, 1979

1979 “Soccer is going to be the number one sport in this country very soon.” New York Cosmos president Steve Ross, 1979

1981 “We’re still going to be the sport of the ’80s. Don’t forget, the ’80s are just one year old. We’ve still got nine years to go.” Woosnam, quoted in the Washington Post on May 18, 1981. As it turned out, the NASL had fewer than four years to go.

1984 “Listen, if I didn’t think this theory of today’s kids being tomorrow’s ticket buyers wasn’t valid, I’d quit tomorrow and I’d tell the NASL owners to pack their bags. But it is true. The NASL is always going to be around.” North American Soccer League president Howard Samuels in 1984, a year before the league folded

1984 “What we must do, simply, is hang on until today’s kids start buying tickets themselves.” Tim Robbie, president of the NASL’s Minnesota Strikers, in 1984

1985 “Losing those teams is not a setback. The credibility will come back next year. We had an average attendance of 14,000 this year. If we can come back to 17,000 or 18,000 next year, that’s instant credibility.” Woosnam, on September 21, 1981 after five NASL teams folded. Attendance actually dropped slightly the following year and continued to slide until the league folded in 1985.

1986 “I don’t believe outdoor soccer will ever make it [in the U.S.] professionally. I don’t believe we will ever succeed at the Olympic or World Cup level. Americans just don’t buy the sport.” Former NY Cosmos goalkeeper Shep Messing in 1986

1986 “I’ve never been one to delude myself into thinking that all the kids playing soccer are going to be spectators. I don’t think there is a correlation.” Major Indoor Soccer League Commissioner Bill Kentling, in 1986

1986 “We all really got ahead of ourselves. I now realize it will take a tremendous amount of time before we soccer people realize our dream of being an established sport in this country.” St. Louis Steamers midfielder Ricky Davis in 1986. Surprisingly, he was the correct one.

1992 “Zero,” says Frank Deford, America’s preeminent sportswriter, when asked about soccer’s chances as a spectator sport in his country. “It has zero chance. Every chance it had, it failed. I can’t conceive of any set of circumstances that would make Americans want to take an interest. “It’s a very unappealing sport to watch,” Deford continues, “and every time you say that the soccer people all say, ‘You don’t know anything about it; you don’t understand it.’ But it’s a very unappealing sport to watch. I was shocked watching the last World Cup, shocked. I couldn’t believe how dull it was. It was a very boring game.” The New York Times, October 7, 1992

1994 “There is no chance (MLS) will survive. Absolutely no chance whatsoever.” Nye Lavalle, Sports Marketing Group, in The Sporting News, June 27, 1994

1994 “For World Cup soccer worldwide, the World Cup gets a grade A; for staging of the World Cup in America, it gets a grade A. But for the future of soccer in America, the grade is incomplete. If you want a prediction, it seems like the term paper will be turned in and it will get a failing grade.” Nye Lavalle again, apparently on a roll that summer, in the New York Times, July 19, 1994

1994 “Our goal, 10 years from now, is to be in position where we can be considered a sport on the level, in terms of interest, of the big ones: football, baseball, basketball.” World Cup chairman Alan Rothenberg, in that same NY Times article, July 19, 1994

1994 “There’s a better chance of a national health plan being passed by Congress than of a major pro (soccer) league in America.” Art Spander, San Francisco Examiner, June 5, 1994

1994 “The World Cup, should no one get killed, is a fabulous event. Enjoy it. And enjoy the next one. And if, in between, you patronize any and all pro soccer leagues that begin here, enjoy them too. They’ll be gone faster than the girl over there with the hula hoop.” Sportswriter Phil Mushnick, New York Post, June 15, 1994

1996 “Our national team is spread out among 10 localities and charged with making us like the game. This would have been like taking the 1980 US Olympic hockey team and starting a whole new league by placing its members around the country. And the ice hockey team did, incidentally, win a gold medal, as well as whip the Red Army. Chances of that working would seem to be better than this.” Bernie Linciome, Chicago Tribune, April 8, 1996, on the beginnings of MLS

1997 “To be honest, I just don’t think it’s gonna make it here. Soccer’s a sport a lot of youngsters play and I don’t know that they necessarily become fans when they get older. They watch American football, or baseball or basketball, and we have all that here already. There’s a lot of competition.” Irv Moss of the Denver Post, quoted in Soccer America, July 29, 1997

2002 “The USA are just making up the numbers…they can’t play football for toffee…slow at the back, short on real class up front…should get points off Korea, anything else would be a miracle.” London Evening Standard, prior to World Cup 2002

2002 “The U.S. will not defeat Portugal. Nothing is impossible, of course, but the speedy, attack-oriented Portugal is precisely the type of team against which the U.S. typically struggles.” Scott Plagenhoef, Soccer Digest, February 2002

2002 “Anything other than last place will be an achievement for the Americans.” John Motson, BBC, prior to World Cup 2002

2002 “Portugal at a canter.” London Daily Telegraph’s prediction for USA/Portugal at World Cup 2002

2002 “I predict the Los Angeles Galaxy will win the (MLS) championship three out of (the) first five years they play in their own stadium and facility.” ESPN analyst Eric Wynalda, January 2002

2004 “Soccer will be among America’s top four sports in the next five years.” AEG President Tim Leiweke, January 25, 2004

2007 “This is a sucker stadium, not a soccer stadium. We are going to lose our shirts.” Etobicoke (Can.) councillor (and now, somehow, Mayor of Toronto) Rob Ford on Toronto’s planned soccer stadium that would house an MLS team in 2007

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posted this in another thread, but it's relevant to this one:

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also, MLS overtakes NBA for 3rd place behind the NFL & MLB.

I'm always rooting for a seven game championship series between the Rangers and Knights in the PDL. The series attendance could soar above 300.

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Frank DeFord is an articulate and talented writer, but he is misguided when commenting on Soccer.

He cannot credibly remark on the sport, having never struck a ball in anger. He does not appreciate the technique and athleticism necessary to move the ball around the pitch. Conversely, I will wager that he has swung a baseball bat, shot a free throw, and thrown a football. He is sympathetic to these techniques.

Such lack of experiential knowledge leads to complaining for lack of scoring.

As we all know, the box score tells very little about a soccer match. Sportswriters hate that!

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I'm always rooting for a seven game championship series between the Rangers and Knights in the PDL. The series attendance could soar above 300.

You're never too old to play

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Don't forget this breaking news!!

NY Cosmos return to NASL

You should read this article regarding NY Cosmos http://www.bigsoccer.com/soccer/bill-arche...e-madness-v2-0/

Btw, NBCSN TV ratings for MLS games are up 55% over last years FSC ratings.

ESPN/ESPN2 ratings are up 25% over last year.

MLS average attendance is up 4.83%

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