Major League Soccer attendance

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Major League Soccer is the premier professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. Competition began in 1996 and MLS attendance has grown rapidly since the early 2000s, making it one of the fastest-growing sports leagues in the world.[1] The average attendance of 21,692 in 2016 was a 57% increase over the 13,756 average in 2000. The total attendance of 7,375,144 in 2016 is more than triple the 2,215,019 total of 2002. Similar to Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, attendance is based on the number of tickets distributed.[2]

Fans waving flags and unfurling a large green and blue tifo behind a goal.
The Seattle Sounders' average attendance consistently exceeds 40,000 fans.

2019 season[edit]

The following is a list of the average attendance during the 2019 regular season for each of the 24 MLS teams that were active in that season. It includes the team, the average attendance during the 2019 regular season, the average attendance during the 2018 regular season, the percentage change in attendance from season-to-season, the home venue, the home venue's capacity, and the percent of the home venue's capacity filled by the 2019 season's average attendance. Percentages are adjusted to reflect any home games that were held at venues other than the team's usual stadium.[3]

Team 2019 average
attendance
2018 average
attendance
Percent
change
Stadium Capacity
(unrestricted)
Percent
capacity
Atlanta United FC 52,510 53,002 −0.9% Mercedes-Benz Stadium* 42,500 (at least 72,035) 123.6% (72.9%)
Seattle Sounders FC 40,247 40,641 −1.0% CenturyLink Field* 39,419 (69,000) 102.1% (58.3%)
FC Cincinnati 27,336 N/A N/A Nippert Stadium* 32,250 (40,000) 84.8% (68.3%)
Portland Timbers 25,218 21,114 +19.3%[a] Providence Park 25,218 100%
Toronto FC 25,048 26,628 −5.9% BMO Field 30,991 80.8%
LA Galaxy 23,205 24,444 −5.1% Dignity Health Sports Park 27,000 85.9%
Orlando City SC 22,761 23,866 −4.6% Exploria Stadium[b] 25,500 89.3%
Los Angeles FC 22,251 22,042 +0.9% Banc of California Stadium 22,000 101.1%
New York City FC 21,107 23,211 −9.1% Yankee Stadium* 30,321 (47,422) 69.6% (44.5%)
Minnesota United FC 19,723 23,902 −17.5%[c] Allianz Field 19,400 101.7%
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 19,514 21,946 −11.1% BC Place* 22,120 (54,500) 99.2% (40.3%)
San Jose Earthquakes 18,781 19,032 –1.3% Avaya Stadium[d][e] 18,000 94.3%
Sporting Kansas City 18,601 19,950 –6.8% Children's Mercy Park 18,467 100.7%
Real Salt Lake 18,121 18,605 –2.6% Rio Tinto Stadium 20,213 89.7%
D.C. United 17,744 17,635 +0.6% Audi Field 20,000 88.7%
New York Red Bulls 17,281 18,601 −7.1% Red Bull Arena 25,000 69.1%
Philadelphia Union 17,111 16,518 +3.6% Talen Energy Stadium[f] 18,500 92.5%
New England Revolution 16,737 18,347 −8.8% Gillette Stadium* 20,000 (65,878) 83.7% (25.4%)
Montreal Impact 16,171 18,569 –12.9% Saputo Stadium 20,801 77.7%
Houston Dynamo 15,874 16,906 −6.1% BBVA Stadium[g] 22,039 72%
Columbus Crew 14,856 12,447 +19.4% Mapfre Stadium 19,968 74.4%
FC Dallas 14,842 15,512 −4.3% Toyota Stadium 20,500 72.4%
Colorado Rapids 14,284 15,333 −6.8% Dick's Sporting Goods Park 18,061 79.1%
Chicago Fire 12,324 14,806 −16.8% SeatGeek Stadium 20,000 61.6%
Notes

Some clubs have attendances over 100% capacity due to limited stadium capacity that is lifted during certain matches, when additional sections are opened. Other clubs use larger venues for certain matches that attract large attendances.

  1. ^ The Timbers' attendance increase stems from the expansion of Providence Park from 21,144 to 25,218. The Timbers played their first 12 league games of the 2019 season on the road in order to accommodate the construction schedule.
  2. ^ Renamed from Orlando City Stadium during the 2019 season.
  3. ^ Minnesota United's attendance decline was largely due to the team moving from TCF Bank Stadium, with a soccer capacity of 21,895 and full capacity of 50,805, to the smaller Allianz Field.
  4. ^ The Earthquakes played one 2019 home game at Stanford Stadium (capacity 50,424).
  5. ^ Renamed to Earthquakes Stadium in the 2019–20 offseason.
  6. ^ Renamed to Subaru Park in the 2019–20 offseason.
  7. ^ Renamed from BBVA Compass Stadium during the 2019 season.
* Stadium capacity artificially reduced for soccer matches

Season averages[edit]

Season Total
attendance
Games Average Change High avg. Team Low avg. Team Ref
1996 2,785,001 160 17,406 -- 28,916 Los Angeles Galaxy 10,213 Colorado Rapids [4]
1997 2,339,019 160 14,619 –16.0% 21,423 New England Revolution 9,058 Kansas City Wizards [5]
1998 2,747,897 192 14,312 –2.1% 21,784 Los Angeles Galaxy 8,072 Kansas City Wizards [6]
1999 2,742,102 192 14,282 –0.2% 17,696 Columbus Crew 8,183 Kansas City Wizards [7]
2000 2,641,085 192 13,756 –3.7% 20,400 Los Angeles Galaxy 7,460 Miami Fusion [8]
2001 2,363,859 158 14,961 +8.8% 21,518 D.C. United 9,112 Kansas City Wizards [9]
2002 2,215,019 140 15,822 +5.8% 20,690 Colorado Rapids 11,150 San Jose Earthquakes [10]
2003 2,234,747 150 14,898 –5.8% 21,983 Los Angeles Galaxy 7,906 Dallas Burn [11]
2004 2,333,797 150 15,559 +4.4% 23,809 Los Angeles Galaxy 9,088 Dallas Burn [12]
2005 2,900,716 192 15,108 –2.9% 24,204 Los Angeles Galaxy 9,691 Kansas City Wizards [13]
2006 2,976,787 192 15,504 +2.6% 20,814 Los Angeles Galaxy 11,083 Kansas City Wizards [14]
2007 3,270,210 195 16,770 +8.2% 24,252 Los Angeles Galaxy 11,586 Kansas City Wizards [15]
2008 3,456,600 210 16,460 –1.8% 26,008 Los Angeles Galaxy 10,685 Kansas City Wizards
2009 3,608,325 225 16,037 –2.6% 30,942 Seattle Sounders FC 9,883 FC Dallas
2010 4,002,000 240 16,675 +4.0% 36,173 Seattle Sounders FC 9,659 San Jose Earthquakes
2011 5,468,951 306 17,872 +7.2% 38,496 Seattle Sounders FC 11,858 San Jose Earthquakes
2012 6,074,729 323 18,807 +5.2% 43,144 Seattle Sounders FC 13,056 Chivas USA
2013 6,010,384 323 18,608 –1.1% 44,038 Seattle Sounders FC 8,366 Chivas USA
2014 6,184,804 323 19,148 +2.9% 43,734 Seattle Sounders FC 7,063 Chivas USA
2015 7,326,899 340 21,574 +12.7% 44,247 Seattle Sounders FC 15,657 Colorado Rapids
2016 7,375,144 340 21,692 +0.5% 42,636 Seattle Sounders FC 14,094 FC Dallas
2017 8,270,187 374 22,113 +1.9% 48,200 Atlanta United FC 15,122 FC Dallas
2018 8,553,245 391 21,875 –1.1% 53,002 Atlanta United FC 12,447 Columbus Crew SC
2019 8,676,109 408 21,305 –2.7% 52,510 Atlanta United FC 12,324 Chicago Fire

Notes:

  • Green shading indicates record highs; red shading indicates record lows.
  • The drop in number of games and total attendance from 2000 to 2002, and the corresponding increase in average attendance, is attributable to league contraction, when MLS folded the Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny.
  • Several seasons saw increases in total attendance, despite drops in average attendance. One such case was due to expansion of the regular-season schedule; all others were due to league expansion.

MLS attendance vs. other North American leagues[edit]

The following table compares the Major League Soccer regular-season average attendance against the regular-season average attendance for the other professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada that have average attendances of at least 10,000 spectators per game.

League Sport # Teams Season Average
attendance
Average vs.
prior season
Total
Attendance
Ref
National Football League American football 32 2018 67,100 −304 17,177,581 [16]
Major League Baseball Baseball 30 2019 28,187 –643 68,494,752 [17]
Canadian Football League Canadian football 9 2019 22,917 –938 1,856,263 [18]
Major League Soccer Soccer 24 2019 21,305 −430 8,676,109
National Basketball Association Basketball 30 2018–19 17,857 −130[a] 21,964,447 [19]
National Hockey League Ice hockey 30 2016–17 17,501 +19 21,451,041 [20]
  1. ^ According to the NBA's official release of its 2018–19 season attendance figures, attendance was essentially unchanged between 2017–18 and 2018–19, taking into account arena capacity reductions that resulted in over 141,000 fewer seats being available in 2018–19 than in the previous season.

MLS attendance vs. other soccer leagues worldwide[edit]

No. League Country Federation Season Teams Games Total
attendance
Average
attendance
Ref
1 Bundesliga Germany UEFA 2018–19 18 306 13,295,405 43,449 [21]
2 Premier League England / Wales UEFA 2018–19 20 380 14,503,954 38,168 [22]
3 La Liga Spain UEFA 2018–19 20 380 10,189,130 26,814 [23]
4 Serie A Italy UEFA 2018–19 20 380 9,590,166 25,237 [24]
5 Chinese Super League China AFC 2018 16 240 5,756,354 23,985 [25]
6 Ligue 1 France / Monaco UEFA 2018–19 20 380 8,663,784 22,799 [26]
7 Liga MX Mexico CONCACAF 2018–19 18 306 6,972,952 22,787 [27][28]
8 Superliga Argentina Argentina CONMEBOL 2016 20 372 6,999,924 21,374 [29]
9 Major League Soccer United States / Canada CONCACAF 2019 24 408 8,676,109 21,305
10 EFL Championship England / Wales UEFA 2018–19 24 551[a] 11,119,564 20,181 [31]
  1. ^ Initially, 552 matches were scheduled. However, Bolton Wanderers' home match against Brentford was initially postponed after Bolton players went on strike over unpaid wages. The fixture was rescheduled, but was ultimately canceled and forfeited to Brentford after local authorities were unable to guarantee that adequate safety personnel would be available.[30]

Historic average attendances[edit]

Current active teams[edit]

Season ATL CHI CIN COL CLB DAL DCU HOU LAG LAFC MIN MTL NE NYC NYRB ORL PHI POR RSL SJ SEA KC TOR VAN
1996 10,213 18,950 16,011 15,262 28,916 19,205 23,898 17,232 12,878
1997 11,835 15,043 9,678 16,698 20,626 21,423 16,899 13,597 9,058
1998 17,886 14,812 12,274 10,947 16,007 21,784 19,187 16,519 13,653 8,072
1999 16,016 14,029 17,696 12,211 17,419 17,632 16,795 14,706 14,959 8,183
2000 13,387 12,580 15,451 13,102 18,580 20,400 15,463 17,621 12,460 9,112
2001 16,388 16,481 17,511 12,574 21,518 17,387 15,654 20,806 9,635 10,954
2002 12,922 20,690 17,429 13,122 16,519 19,047 16,927 18,155 11,150 12,255
2003 14,005 16,772 16,250 7,906 15,565 21,983 14,641 15,822 10,466 15,573
2004 17,153 14,195 16,872 9,008 17,232 23,809 12,226 17,195 13,001 14,816
2005 17,238 16,638 12,916 11,189 16,664 24,204 12,525 15,077 18,037 13,037 9,691
2006 14,111 12,056 13,294 14,982 18,251 18,935 20,814 11,786 14,570 16,366 11,083
2007 16,490 14,749 15,230 15,154 20,967 15,883 24,252 16,787 16,530 15,960 11,586 20,130
2008 17,034 13,659 14,662 13,024 19,835 16,939 26,009 17,580 15,928 16,179 13,856 10,686 20,120
2009 15,487 13,018 14,175 12,440 15,585 17,624 20,827 12,427 12,744 17,831 10,329 31,203 10,053 20,344
2010 15,814 14,329 14,642 10,815 14,532 17,310 21,437 12,987 18,441 19,254 17,095 9,659 36,173 10,287 20,453
2011 14,274 14,838 12,185 12,861 15,181 17,694 23,335 13,222 19,691 18,259 18,827 17,594 11,858 38,496 17,810 20,267 20,412
2012 16,409 15,175 14,397 14,199 13,846 21,015 23,136 22,772 14,001 18,281 18,053 20,438 19,087 13,293 43,144 19,404 18,155 19,475
2013 15,228 15,440 16,080 15,373 13,646 19,923 22,152 20,602 14,844 19,461 17,867 20,674 19,218 12,765 44,038 19,708 18,131 20,038
2014 16,076 15,082 16,881 16,816 17,030 20,117 21,258 17,421 16,681 19,421 17,631 20,806 20,351 14,947 43,734 20,003 22,086 20,408
2015 16,003 15,657 16,985 16,015 16,244 20,658 23,392 17,750 19,627 29,016 19,657 32,847 17,451 21,144 20,160 20,979 44,247 19,687 23,451 20,507
2016 15,602 16,278 17,125 14,094 17,081 19,021 25,138 20,669 20,185 27,196 20,620 31,324 17,519 21,144 19,759 19,930 42,636 19,597 26,538 22,330
2017 48,200 17,383 15,322 15,439 15,122 17,904 17,500 22,246 20,538 20,046 19,367 22,177 21,175 25,028 16,812 21,144 18,781 19,875 43,666 19,537 27,647 21,416
2018 53,002 14,806 15,333 12,447 15,512 17,635 16,909 24,444 22,042 23,902 18,569 18,347 23,211 18,644 23,866 16,518 21,144 18,605 19,032 40,641 19,950 26,628 21,946
2019 52,510 12,324 27,336 14,284 14,856 14,842 17,744 15,874 23,205 22,251 19,723 16,171 16,737 21,107 17,281 22,761 17,111 25,218 18,121 18,781 40,247 18,601 25,048 19,514

Defunct teams[edit]

Season CHV MIA TB
1996 11,679
1997 11,333
1998 10,284 10,312
1999 8,689 13,106
2000 7,460 9,452
2001 11,177 10,479
2002
2003
2004
2005 17,080
2006 19,840
2007 14,305
2008 15,114
2009 15,725
2010 14,576
2011 14,830
2012 13,056
2013 8,366
2014 7,064

Notes:

  • Bold indicates franchise record high for season average attendance.

Individual game highest attendance[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Rank Home team Score Away team Attendance Stadium Date Ref
1 Atlanta United FC 3–0 LA Galaxy 72,548 Mercedes-Benz Stadium August 3, 2019 [32]
2 Atlanta United FC 1–1 Seattle Sounders FC 72,243 Mercedes-Benz Stadium July 15, 2018 [33]
3 Atlanta United FC 3–1 D.C. United 72,035 Mercedes-Benz Stadium March 11, 2018 [34]
4 Atlanta United FC 2–0 Real Salt Lake 72,017 Mercedes-Benz Stadium September 22, 2018 [35]
5 Atlanta United FC 4–0 Orlando City SC 71,932 Mercedes-Benz Stadium June 30, 2018 [36]
6 Atlanta United FC 2–2 Toronto FC 71,874 Mercedes-Benz Stadium October 22, 2017 [37]
7 Atlanta United FC 2–1 Chicago Fire 71,812 Mercedes-Benz Stadium October 21, 2018 [38]
8 Atlanta United FC 3–3 Orlando City SC 70,425 Mercedes-Benz Stadium September 16, 2017 [39]
9 Atlanta United FC 1–1 FC Cincinnati 70,382 Mercedes-Benz Stadium March 10, 2019
10 Atlanta United FC 2–1 FC Cincinnati 69,301 Mercedes-Benz Stadium March 7, 2020

MLS Cup Playoffs[edit]

Rank Home team Score Away team Round Attendance Stadium Date Ref
1 Atlanta United FC 2–0 Portland Timbers Final 73,019 Mercedes-Benz Stadium December 8, 2018 [40]
2 Atlanta United FC 3–1 New York City FC Conference Semifinals 70,526 Mercedes-Benz Stadium November 11, 2018 [41]
3 Atlanta United FC 3–0 New York Red Bulls Conference Final 70,016 Mercedes-Benz Stadium November 25, 2018 [42]
4 Seattle Sounders FC 3–1 Toronto FC Final 69,274 CenturyLink Field November 10, 2019 [43]
5 Atlanta United FC 0–0
(1–3 pen.)
Columbus Crew Knockout Round 67,221 Mercedes-Benz Stadium October 26, 2017 [44]
6 Atlanta United FC 1–0 New England Revolution Knockout Round 66,114 Mercedes-Benz Stadium October 19, 2019
7 New England Revolution 0–1 LA Galaxy Final 61,316 Gillette Stadium October 20, 2002 [45]
8 Montreal Impact 3–2 Toronto FC Conference Final 61,004 Olympic Stadium November 23, 2016 [46]
9 D.C. United 2–1 Colorado Rapids Final 57,431 RFK Memorial Stadium October 26, 1997 [45]
10 Chicago Fire 2–0 D.C. United Final 51,350 Rose Bowl October 25, 1998 [45]

Doubleheader games highest attendance[edit]

Rank Home team Score Away team Attendance Date Source Doubleheader with
1 Chivas USA 1–1 New England Revolution 92,650 August 6, 2006 (2006-08-06) [45] FC Barcelona vs. C.D. Guadalajara[47]
2 Los Angeles Galaxy 2–2 Tampa Bay Mutiny 92,216 June 16, 1996 (1996-06-16) [45] United States vs. Mexico
3 Chivas USA 0–1 Los Angeles Galaxy 88,816 August 10, 2005 (2005-08-10) [45] C.D. Guadalajara vs. Club América[48]
4 San Jose Clash 1–1 D.C. United 73,123 July 4, 1999 (1999-07-04) [45] USA women vs. Brazil women[49]
5 Houston Dynamo 0–1 Los Angeles Galaxy 70,550 August 9, 2006 (2006-08-09) [45] FC Barcelona vs. Club América[50]
6 San Jose Earthquakes 0–3 Columbus Crew 61,572 August 8, 2009 (2009-08-08) [45] FC Barcelona vs. C.D. Guadalajara
7 New England Revolution 2–1 Tampa Bay Mutiny 57,407 April 20, 1997 (1997-04-20) [45] United States vs. Mexico

MLS attendance rank by metro area[edit]

The table is sorted by MLS attendance rank, and then by MLS attendance.

Only attendances in MLS and the traditional major professional sports leagues of the U.S. and Canada are listed here. Many college football teams in MLS markets routinely outdraw MLS teams and even some or all other major professional teams.

Metro area MLS
Attend
Rank
Higher attendance MLS attendance Lower attendance
Portland, OR 1st --- 25,218 Timbers 19,496 Trail Blazers (NBA)
Toronto, ON 1st --- 25,048 Toronto FC 21,606 Blue Jays (MLB)
19,824 Raptors (NBA)
19,276 Maple Leafs (NHL)
12,493 Argonauts (CFL)
Orlando, FL 1st --- 22,761 City SC 17,561 Magic (NBA)
Vancouver, BC 1st --- 19,514 Whitecaps 18,022 Canucks (NHL)
17,803 BC Lions (CFL)
Atlanta, GA 2nd 71,601 Falcons (NFL) 52,510 Atlanta United 32,776 Braves (MLB)
15,327 Hawks (NBA)
Seattle, WA 2nd 68,990 Seahawks (NFL) 40,247 Sounders 22,122 Mariners (MLB)
Cincinnati, OH 2nd 47,179 Bengals (NFL) 27,336 FC Cincinnati 22,329 Reds (MLB)
Kansas City, MO/KS 2nd 73,465 Chiefs (NFL) 18,601 Sporting 18,495 Royals (MLB)
Salt Lake City, UT 2nd 18,306 Jazz (NBA) 18,121 Real Salt Lake
Columbus, OH 2nd 16,658 Blue Jackets (NHL) 14,856 Crew
Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN 3rd 66,849 Vikings (NFL)
28,322 Twins (MLB)
19,723 MN United 18,907 Wild (NHL)
15,305 Timberwolves (NBA)
Montreal, QC 3rd 21,046 Canadiens (NHL)
17,574 Alouettes (CFL)
16,171 Impact
Washington, DC 4th 65,488 Redskins (NFL)
27,898 Nationals (MLB)
18,508 Capitals (NHL)
17,744 D.C. United 17,487 Wizards (NBA)
Houston, TX 4th 71,793 Texans (NFL)
35,276 Astros (MLB)
18,058 Rockets (NBA)
15,874 Dynamo
Los Angeles, CA 5th/
6th
71,229 Rams (NFL)
49,065 Dodgers (MLB)
37,321 Angels (MLB)
25,393 Chargers (NFL)
23,205 Galaxy
22,251 LAFC
18,997 Lakers (NBA)
18,000 Kings (NHL)
17,325 Clippers (NBA)
16,814 Ducks (NHL)
New York, NY 5th/
8th
78,523 Jets (NFL)
74,664 Giants (NFL)
41,827 Yankees (MLB)
30,531 Mets (MLB)
21,107 NYC FC
17,281 Red Bulls
19,002 Knicks (NBA)
17,318 Rangers (NHL)
14,941 Nets (NBA)
14,834 Devils (NHL)
12,442 Islanders (NHL)
Philadelphia, PA 5th 69,783 Eagles (NFL)
33,671 Phillies (MLB)
20,441 76ers (NBA)
20,371 Flyers (NHL)
17,111 Union
Boston, MA 5th 65,878 Patriots (NFL)
36,106 Red Sox (MLB)
18,624 Celtics (NBA)
17,565 Bruins (NHL)
16,737 Revolution
Dallas, TX 5th 90,929 Cowboys (NFL)
26,333 Rangers (MLB)
20,013 Mavericks (NBA)
18,178 Stars (NHL)
14,842 FC Dallas
Denver, CO 5th 75,937 Broncos (NFL)
36,953 Rockies (MLB)
18,450 Nuggets (NBA)
17,132 Avalanche (NHL)
14,284 Rapids
San Francisco Bay Area, CA 6th 70,305 49ers (NFL)
57,919 Raiders (NFL)
33,429 Giants (MLB)
20,521 Athletics (MLB)
19,596 Warriors (NBA)
18,781 Earthquakes 17,266 Sharks (NHL)
Chicago, IL 6th 61,916 Bears (NFL)
38,208 Cubs (MLB)
22,734 Blackhawks (NHL)
21,442 White Sox (MLB)
20,084 Bulls (NBA)
12,324 Fire

MLS, NFL, CFL, and MLB attendances are for their 2019 seasons. NBA and NHL attendances are for their 2018–19 seasons.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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