In the early days of its 2010 season Major League Soccer's average crowd (17,092) was up and on par with NHL (17,069) and NBA (17,150) numbers in '09--10. And this spring four MLB stadiums have seen their smallest gatherings ever. So ... at long last, is soccer about to crash the major North American sports-popularity party? Pick a side and play on.
MLS simply gets it.
Right-sized stadiums are the new paradigm. Most of the MLS teams that are thriving play in cozy, soccer-specific venues that shrewdly cater to crowds of 18,000 to 27,000.
Sports wax and wane.
Primacy is not a given. (Think boxing and horse racing.) NHL attendance dipped for the first time since '04, and the NBA played to fewer fans per game than it drew in 1995--96.
Soccer fever goes beyond MLS.
The D2 Pro League Portland Timbers, which are set to join MLS in 2011, sold all 15,418 of their seats to open their 2010 season on April 17.
We're in a recession, and MLS is cheap.