Major League Soccer attendance

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Major League Soccer is the premier professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1996, the 2015 season saw an average 21,574 spectators between the 20 teams, the highest average attendance in league history. MLS has the third-highest average attendance among all professional sports leagues with teams in the United States, ranking behind the National Football League and Major League Baseball but ahead of the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League. Among all North American professional sports leagues, MLS ranks fifth in average attendance per game behind the NFL and MLB as well as Liga MX and the Canadian Football League.

MLS attendance has grown since the early 2000s. The average attendance of 21,574 in 2015 was a 64% increase over the 13,756 average in 2000. The total attendance of 7,326,899 in 2015 is more than triple the 2,215,019 total of 2002.

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

2015 season[edit]

The following is a list of the average attendance for each of the nineteen MLS teams at their regular-season games. It includes the team, the average attendance for the 2015 regular season and the 2014 regular season, the percentage change in attendance from season-to-season, the home venue, the home venue's capacity, and the percent of capacity.[1]

Team 2015
Attendance
2014
Attendance
Change Stadium Capacity
(Unrestricted)
Percent
(2015)
Seattle Sounders FC 44,247 43,734 +1% CenturyLink Field 38,500
(67,000)
115%
(65%)
Orlando City SC 32,847 N/A -% Orlando Citrus Bowl 30,000
(61,348)
110%
(53%)
New York City FC 29,016 N/A -% Yankee Stadium 33,444
(49,642)
87%
(58%)
Toronto FC 23,451 22,086 +6% BMO Field 30,000 87%
LA Galaxy 23,392 21,258 +9% StubHub Center 27,000 87%
Portland Timbers 21,142 20,806 +1.6% Providence Park 20,438 103%
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 20,507 20,408 +0.5% BC Place 21,000
(54,320)
98%
(37%)
Real Salt Lake 20,160 20,351 -1% Rio Tinto Stadium 20,008 101%
Houston Dynamo 20,658 20,117 +3% BBVA Compass Stadium 22,000 94%
Sporting Kansas City 19,687 20,003 -2% Sporting Park 18,467 107%
New York Red Bulls 19,657 19,421 –1% Red Bull Arena 25,189 78%
Philadelphia Union 17,451 17,631 –1% PPL Park 18,500 94%
Montreal Impact 17,703 17,421 +2% Saputo Stadium 20,341 87%
D.C. United 16,244 17,030 -5% RFK Stadium 19,467
(45,423)
83%
(36%)
Columbus Crew 16,513 16,881 -2% Mapfre Stadium 20,145 82%
FC Dallas 15,981 16,816 -5% Toyota Stadium 21,193 75%
New England Revolution 16,681 14,844 +12% Gillette Stadium 22,385
(68,756)
75%
(24%)
Chicago Fire 16,003 16,076 -0% Toyota Park 20,000 80%
Colorado Rapids 15,657 15,082 +4% Dick's Sporting Goods Park 18,086 87%
San Jose Earthquakes 20,979 14,947 +29% Avaya Stadium 18,000 117%
Chivas USA N/A 7,063 –% StubHub Center 18,800
(27,000)
-%
(-%)

Note: Portland and Seattle's attendance is over 100% of capacity as they open up sections for select games above the regular limited capacity especially during rivalry games in Cascadia. Orlando City SC and New York City FC began play in 2015 season. Chivas USA ceased play following the 2014 season.

* Stadium capacity artificially reduced for soccer matches

Season averages[edit]

Season Total Gate 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 [2]
1997 2,339,019 160 14,619 –16.0% 21,423 New England Revolution 9,058 Kansas City Wizards [3]
1998 2,747,897 192 14,312 –2.1% 21,784 Los Angeles Galaxy 8,072 Kansas City Wizards [4]
1999 2,742,102 192 14,282 –0.2% 17,696 Columbus Crew 8,183 Kansas City Wizards [5]
2000 2,641,085 192 13,756 –3.7% 20,400 Los Angeles Galaxy 7,460 Miami Fusion [6]
2001 2,363,859 158 14,961 +8.8% 21,518 D.C. United 9,112 Kansas City Wizards [7]
2002 2,215,019 140 15,822 +5.8% 20,690 Colorado Rapids 11,150 San Jose Earthquakes [8]
2003 2,234,747 150 14,898 –5.8% 21,983 Los Angeles Galaxy 7,906 Dallas Burn [9]
2004 2,333,797 150 15,559 +4.4% 23,809 Los Angeles Galaxy 9,088 Dallas Burn [10]
2005 2,900,716 192 15,108 –2.9% 24,204 Los Angeles Galaxy 9,691 Kansas City Wizards [11]
2006 2,976,787 192 15,504 +2.6% 20,814 Los Angeles Galaxy 11,083 Kansas City Wizards [12]
2007 3,270,210 195 16,770 +8.2% 24,252 Los Angeles Galaxy 11,586 Kansas City Wizards [13]
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 +12.5% 44,247 Seattle Sounders FC 15,657 Colorado Rapids

Notes:

  • Green shading indicates record highs; red shading indicates record lows.
  • The drop in number of games and total gate 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.
  • The attendance increase from 2006 to 2007 coincides with the arrival of David Beckham,[14] and the addition of an expansion franchise in Toronto.
  • The attendance increase from 2010 to 2011 coincides with the addition of expansion franchises in Portland and Vancouver, and with Kansas City moving into a new stadium.
  • The attendance increase from 2014 to 2015 coincides with the addition of expansion franchises in Orlando and New York City, the contraction of Chivas USA, and San Jose moving into a new stadium.

MLS attendance vs. other North American professional 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 North America with 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 2015 68,776 +445 17,606,643 [15]
Major League Baseball Baseball 30 2015 30,366 +67 73,760,020 [16]
Canadian Football League Canadian football 9 2015 24,737 –549 2,003,714 [17]
Major League Soccer Soccer 20 2015 21,574 +2,426 7,335,053 [18]
National Basketball Association Basketball 30 2015-16 17,864 +38 21,972,129 [19]
National Hockey League Ice hockey 30 2015-16 17,482 –20 21,451,041 [20]

MLS attendance vs. other soccer leagues worldwide[edit]

Rank League Country Federation Season Teams Games Total
attendance
Average
attendance
Change
1 Bundesliga Germany UEFA 2015-16 18 306 13,249,778 43,300[21] -239
2 Premier League England / Wales UEFA 2015-16 20 380 13,851,829 36,452[22] +276
3 La Liga Spain UEFA 2015-16 20 380 10,703,881 27,021[23] +1,147
4 Liga MX Mexico CONCACAF 2015-16 18 306 8,506,812 25,557[24] +2,243
5 Serie A Italy UEFA 2015–16 20 380 8,604,537 22,199[25] +445
6 Chinese Super League China AFC 2015 16 240 5,243,043 21,846[26] +2,861
7 Major League Soccer USA / Canada CONCACAF 2015 20 340 7,335,053 21,574[27] +2,426
8 Ligue 1 France / Monaco UEFA 2015-16 20 380 7,970,815 20,976[28] -1,386
9 Primera División Argentina CONMEBOL 2014 20 372 6,999,924 18,817
10 Eredivisie Netherlands UEFA 2015-16 18 306 5,940,000 18,744[29] +668
11 J1 League Japan AFC 2015 18 306 5,452,311 17,818[30][31] +579
12 2. Bundesliga Germany UEFA 2015-16 18 306 5,861,328 17,667[32] +1,488
13 Football Championship England / Wales UEFA 2015-16 24 551 9,705,635 17,583[33] +5
14 Campeonato Brasileiro Brazil CONMEBOL 2015 20 380 6,520,677 17,160[34] +228

Historic average attendances[edit]

Season CHI CHV COL CLB DAL DCU HOU LA MIA MON NE NYC NYRB OC PHI POR RSL SJ SEA KC TB TOR VAN
1996 10,213 18,950 16,011 15,262 28,916 19,205 23,898 17,232 12,878 11,679
1997 11,835 15,043 9,678 16,698 20,626 21,423 16,899 13,597 9,058 11,333
1998 17,886 14,812 12,274 10,947 16,007 21,784 10,284 19,187 16,519 13,653 8,072 10,312
1999 16,016 14,029 17,696 12,211 17,419 17,632 8,689 16,795 14,706 14,959 8,183 13,106
2000 13,387 12,580 15,451 13,102 18,580 20,400 7,460 15,463 17,621 12,460 9,112 9,452
2001 16,388 16,481 17,511 12,574 21,518 17,387 11,177 15,654 20,806 9,635 10,954 10,479
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 17,080 16,638 12,916 11,189 16,664 24,204 12,525 15,077 18,037 13,037 9,691
2006 14,111 19,840 12,056 13,294 14,982 18,251 18,935 20,814 11,786 14,570 16,366 11,083
2007 16,490 14,305 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 15,114 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 15,725 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 14,576 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 14,830 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 13,056 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 8,366 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 7,063 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

Notes:

  • Bold indicates franchise record high for season average attendance. Italics indicates defunct team.

Individual game highest attendance[edit]

Regular season

Rank Home team Score Away team Attendance Date Source
1 Los Angeles Galaxy 2–1 NY/NJ MetroStars 69,255 April 13, 1996 (1996-04-13) [35]
2 Seattle Sounders FC 1–0 Portland Timbers 67,385 August 25, 2013 (2013-08-25) [36]
3 Seattle Sounders FC 3–0 Portland Timbers 66,452 October 7, 2012 (2012-10-07) [37]
4 New York Red Bulls 5–4 Los Angeles Galaxy 66,237 August 18, 2007 (2007-08-18) [35]
5 Seattle Sounders FC 1–1 Los Angeles Galaxy 66,216 October 27, 2013 (2013-10-27) [38]
6 Seattle Sounders FC 2–1 Portland Timbers 64,358 August 30, 2015 (2015-08-30) [39]
7 Seattle Sounders FC 2–0 Portland Timbers 64,207 July 13, 2014 (2014-07-13) [35]
8 Seattle Sounders FC 2–1 San Jose Earthquakes 64,140 October 15, 2011 (2011-10-15) [35]
9 Los Angeles Galaxy 0–1 New England Revolution 62,703 July 4, 1996 (1996-07-04) [35]
10 Orlando City 1–1 New York City 62,510 March 8, 2015 (2015-03-08)
11 Colorado Rapids 3–2 Chicago Fire 61,202 July 4, 2002 (2002-07-04) [35]
12 Seattle Sounders FC 4–0 Los Angeles Galaxy 60,908 August 5, 2012 (2012-08-05) [35]
13 Montreal Impact 1–1 Los Angeles Galaxy 60,860 May 12, 2012 (2012-05-12) [40]
14 Colorado Rapids 3–1 D.C. United 60,500 July 4, 2001 (2001-07-04) [35]
15 Los Angeles Galaxy 1–2 Miami Fusion 60,433 July 4, 1999 (1999-07-04) [35]
16 Orlando City 2–2 Real Salt Lake 60,147 March 6, 2016 (2016-03-06)
17 Colorado Rapids 3–2 Kansas City 60,142 July 4, 2003 (2003-07-04) [35]

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) [35] FC Barcelona vs. C.D. Guadalajara.[41]
2 Los Angeles Galaxy 2–2 Tampa Bay Mutiny 92,216 June 16, 1996 (1996-06-16) [35] United States vs. Mexico
3 Chivas USA 0–1 Los Angeles Galaxy 88,816 August 10, 2005 (2005-08-10) [35] C.D. Guadalajara vs. Club América.[42]
4 San Jose Clash 1–1 D.C. United 73,123 July 4, 1999 (1999-07-04) [35] USA women vs. Brazil women.[43]
5 Houston Dynamo 0–1 Los Angeles Galaxy 70,550 August 9, 2006 (2006-08-09) [35] FC Barcelona vs. Club América.[44]
6 San Jose Earthquakes 0–3 Columbus Crew 61,572 August 8, 2009 (2009-08-08) [35] FC Barcelona vs. C.D. Guadalajara.
7 New England Revolution 2–1 Tampa Bay Mutiny 57,407 April 20, 1997 (1997-04-20) [35] United States vs. Mexico.

MLS Attendance Rank By City / Metro Area[edit]

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

City / Metro Area MLS
Attend
Rank
Higher Attendance MLS Attendance Lower Attendance
Orlando, FL 1st --- 32,973 City SC 16,785 Magic (NBA)
San Jose, CA 1st --- 23,065 Earthquakes 18,707 Sharks (NHL)
Portland, OR 1st --- 21,144 Timbers 19,554 Trail Blazers (NBA)
Salt Lake, UT 1st --- 20,138 Real Salt Lake 18,830 Jazz (NBA)
Columbus, OH 1st --- 15,620 Crew 14,564 Blue Jackets (NHL)
Seattle, WA 2nd 68,174 Seahawks (NFL) 41,257 Sounders 27,081 Mariners (MLB)
Toronto, Ontario 2nd 29,327 Blue Jays (MLB) 24,502 Toronto FC 19,751 Raptors (NBA)
19,076 Maple Leafs (NHL)
17,790 Argonauts (CFL)
Houston, TX 2nd 71,644 Texans (NFL) 20,875 Dynamo 20,393 Astros (MLB)
18,229 Rockets (NBA)
Vancouver, B.C. 2nd 28,011 BC Lions (CFL) 20,725 Whitecaps 18,710 Canucks (NHL)
Los Angeles, CA 3rd 46,216 Dodgers (MLB)
37,277 Angels (MLB)
22,619 Galaxy 19,168 Clippers (NBA)
18,737 Lakers (NBA)
18,178 Kings (NHL)
15,887 Ducks (NHL)
Kansas City, MO/KS 3rd 75,354 Chiefs (NFL)
21,614 Royals (MLB)
19,847 Sporting ---
Boston, MA 3rd 68,756 Patriots (NFL)
35,564 Red Sox (MLB)
18,075 Revolution 17,593 Celtics (NBA)
17,565 Bruins (NHL)
Montreal, Quebec 3rd 21,286 Canadiens (NHL)
20,675 Alouettes (CFL)
16,726 Impact ---
New York, NY 5th/
7th
78,967 Giants (NFL)
78,160 Jets (NFL)
39,922 Yankees (MLB)
31,092 Mets (MLB)
28,907 New York City FC
19,627 Red Bulls
19,812 Knicks (NBA)
18,006 Rangers (NHL)
17,037 Nets (NBA)
15,334 Islanders (NHL)
15,189 Devils (NHL)
Dallas, TX 4th 88,043 Cowboys (NFL)
30,763 Rangers (MLB)
20,187 Mavericks (NBA)
15,965 FC Dallas 14,658 Stars (NHL)
Philadelphia, PA 4th 69,144 Eagles (NFL)
23,475 Phillies (MLB)
19,271 Flyers (NHL)
17,706 Union 13,940 76ers (NBA)
Denver, CO 4th 76,939 Broncos (NFL)
31,334 Rockies (MLB)
16,176 Avalanche (NHL)
15,657 Rapids 14,700 Nuggets (NBA)
Washington DC 5th 77,220 Redskins (NFL)
32,745 Nationals (MLB)
18,238 Wizards (NBA)
18,054 Capitals (NHL)
15,393 D.C. United ---
Chicago, IL 6th 61,681 Bears (NFL)
32,742 Cubs (MLB)
21,769 Blackhawks (NHL)
21,343 Bulls (NBA)
20,896 White Sox (MLB)
15,694 Fire ---

MLS attendance is for the 2015 season.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2013 Final Attendance Update". MLS Attendance. Blogger. Retrieved November 10, 2013. 
  2. ^ "1996 Full Season Stats". Major League Soccer. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  3. ^ "1997 Full Season Stats". Major League Soccer. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  4. ^ "1998 Full Season Stats". Major League Soccer. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  5. ^ "1999 Full Season Stats". Major League Soccer. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  6. ^ "2000 Full Season Stats". Major League Soccer. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  7. ^ "2001 Full Season Stats". Major League Soccer. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  8. ^ "2002 Full Season Stats". Major League Soccer. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  9. ^ "2003 Full Season Stats". Major League Soccer. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  10. ^ "2004 Full Season Stats". Major League Soccer. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  11. ^ "2005 Full Season Stats". Major League Soccer. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  12. ^ "2006 Full Season Stats". Major League Soccer. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  13. ^ "2007 Full Season Stats". Major League Soccer. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  14. ^ MLS attendance second best in history, Soccer America, October 30, 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  15. ^ "Cowboys Retain NFL Attendance Crown; Rams Rank Last In Home Percent Capacity". Retrieved May 22, 2016. 
  16. ^ "2014 vs. 2015 Attendance". baseball-reference.com. October 4, 2015. Retrieved October 27, 2015. 
  17. ^ 22, 2016 "2015 CFL Attendance" Check |url= value (help). 
  18. ^ "MLS Attendance". MLSSOCCER.COM. Retrieved January 9, 2016. 
  19. ^ "2016 NBA Attendance Info". Retrieved May 22, 2016. 
  20. ^ "2015-16 NHL Attendance Report". ESPN. Retrieved May 22, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Bundesliga 2015/2016 - Attendance". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  22. ^ "Premier League 2015/2016 - Attendance". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  23. ^ "Primera División 2015/2016 - Attendance". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  24. ^ "Primera División 2015/2016 Clausura - Attendance". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  25. ^ "Serie A 2015/2016 - Attendance". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  26. ^ "Chinese Super League - Attendance numbers (Detailed view) | Transfermarkt". Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  27. ^ "10-08-15_Stats_Standings.pdf". mlssoccer.com. Major League Soccer. 
  28. ^ "Ligue 1 2015/2016 - Attendance". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  29. ^ "Eredivisie 2015/2016 - Attendance". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  30. ^ "J1 League 2015 1. Phase - Attendance". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  31. ^ "J1 League 2015 2. Phase - Attendance". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  32. ^ "2. Bundesliga 2015/2016 - Attendance". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  33. ^ "Championship 2015/2016 - Attendance". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  34. ^ "Série A 2015 - Attendance". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 2016-08-24. 
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "MLS Factbook 2012" (pdf). MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  36. ^ "SEA vs POR". 
  37. ^ "SEA vs POR". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  38. ^ "SEA vs LA". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  39. ^ "SEA vs POR". soundersfc.com. Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  40. ^ "Match Center". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  41. ^ "Chivas USA 1-1 New England". ESPN, Inc. Retrieved September 24, 2012. 
  42. ^ "Count down to SuperClassico". Chivas. Retrieved May 16, 2012. 
  43. ^ "over-35000-tickets-sold-june-30-match-vs-la". San Jose Earthquakes. Retrieved October 16, 2012. 
  44. ^ "Los Angeles Galaxy 2006". San Jose Earthquakes. Retrieved October 16, 2012. 

Notes[edit]