MLS attendance down despite Seattle bump
Major League Soccer average attendance declined 2.6 percent in 2009, but it could have been a lot worse.
Without the expansion Seattle Sounders, who set an MLS record with an average attendance of 30,897 fans a game, the league's average attendance would have been down 9 percent.
MLS attendance was helped by the exciting playoff race in which all but three teams were still alive on the final week of the regular season.
Average attendance in October climbed 4.6 percent from 16,815 fans a game in 2008 to 17,593 a game in 2009. If you throw out the one Seattle game in October, average attendance was up 0.9 percent.
Four MLS teams saw modest growth in 2009. The biggest increase was San Jose's 2.9 percent, but the Earthquakes' average was boosted considerably by their game at San Francisco's Candlestick Park, the pregame to the Barcelona-Chivas match that drew 61,572. Throw out that crowd, and the Quakes' average attendance fell 21.8 percent.
Three MLS teams saw their average attendance fall more than 21 percent: New England (21.9 percent), New York (21.5 percent) and Los Angeles (21.5 percent). D.C. United and Chicago also experienced double-digit percentage declines in average attendance.
The David Beckham factor? Average attendance for L.A. Galaxy road games also fell more than 21 percent.