By Cesar Trelles 7/21/14
NASL attendance figures jump 143% in week two of the season
There was so much chatter in Cosmos Country last week around attendance and how the fall season opener was so poorly attended. In looking around the entire NASL, you could also make the same argument. For the New York Cosmos, this week they took to the road for their week two match and did not have the opportunity to bounce back and show that their 3800 attedance showing in week one was just an anomaly. No worries however. The rest of the NASL took care of that for them.
With the exception of the FC Edmonton versus Atlanta Silverbacks match, all other NASL matches in the league were extremely well attended in week two of the season. Of course in Ottawa, they set a modern day NASL attendance record by having 14,593 fans pass through the turnstiles into TD Place for the opening of that stadium. But that was not all. The Indy Eleven, despite having a losing record at home in 2014, continue to draw in excess of 10,000 fans every home match. Further, in Minnesota and in San Antonio, both matches held in those respective stadiums drew on or around 7,000 fans. The total attendance differences between both weeks were so drastic that a percentage change shows an astronomical increase of 143% in week two over week one.
So what exactly does this mean?
On one hand it can be debated that week one truly suffered from a sort of soccer burnout due to the World Cup. It can be argued that fans had sat thru a month of non stop soccer and needed sort of a breather from the sport. Conversely, one can also argue that in week two there was a stadium being opened with a record crowd which helped the average attendance swell so much. But here’s food for thought. San Antonio has been in the league now for a few years and continues to draw 6-7k each home game. Indy has sold out every home match this year with 10,000 plus fans. Minnesota continues to draw well especially with their recent success. You would expect Ottawa to draw great crowds as well through the end of 2014. At what point do we start to say, hey maybe the NASL is onto something here?
The Cosmos will have to wait their turn until August 2nd to show that their attendance numbers indeed can bounce back. If they do and do so on a consistent basis to the tune of 6k or higher, that would mean that 50% of the teams in the NASL are averaging north of 6k fans per game, a respectable claim for a league with a division two label.
The fall season will be one to watch from an attendance point of view, especially when it comes to Cosmos home matches at Schuart Stadium.