Major League Soccer attendance Article

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Major League Soccer is the premier professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. Competition began in 1996, the 2016 season saw an average 21,692 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 21,692 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. [1]

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

2018 season

The following is a list of the average attendance during the 2018 regular season for each of the 23 MLS teams that were active in that season. It includes the team, the average attendance during the 2018 regular season, the average attendance during the 2017 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 2018 season's average attendance. Percentages are adjusted to reflect any home games that were held at venues other than the team's usual stadium. [2]

Team 2018 average
attendance
2017 average
attendance
Percent
change
Stadium Capacity
(unrestricted)
Percent
capacity
Atlanta United FC 53,002 48,200 +10.0% Mercedes-Benz Stadium* [a] 42,500 (at least 72,035) 124.7% (73.6%)
Seattle Sounders FC 40,641 43,666 −6.9% CenturyLink Field* 39,419 (69,000) 103.1% (58.9%)
Toronto FC 26,628 27,647 −3.7% BMO Field 30,000 88.8%
LA Galaxy 24,444 22,246 +9.9% StubHub Center [b] 27,000 90.5%
Minnesota United FC 23,902 20,538 +16.4% TCF Bank Stadium* [c] 21,895 (50,805) 109.2% (47%)
Orlando City SC 23,866 25,028 −4.6% Orlando City Stadium 25,500 93.6%
New York City FC 23,211 22,643 +2.5% Yankee Stadium* 30,321 (47,422) 76.6% (48.9%)
Los Angeles FC 22,042 N/A N/A Banc of California Stadium 22,000 100.2%
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 21,946 21,416 +2.5% BC Place* 22,120 (54,500) 99.2% (40.3%)
Portland Timbers 21,144 21,144 0.0% Providence Park 21,144 [d] 100%
Sporting Kansas City 19,950 19,537 +2.1% Children's Mercy Park 18,467 108%
San Jose Earthquakes 19,032 19,875 –4.2% Avaya Stadium [e] 18,000 95.6%
Real Salt Lake 18,605 18,781 –0.9% Rio Tinto Stadium 20,213 92%
New York Red Bulls 18,601 21,175 −12.2% Red Bull Arena 25,000 74.4%
Montreal Impact 18,569 20,046 –7.4% Saputo Stadium [f] 20,801 80.2%
New England Revolution 18,347 19,367 −5.3% Gillette Stadium* 20,000 (65,878) 91.7% (27.8%)
D.C. United 17,635 17,904 −1.5% Audi Field [g] 20,000 88.7%
Houston Dynamo 16,906 17,500 −3.4% BBVA Compass Stadium 22,039 76.7%
Philadelphia Union 16,518 16,812 –1.7% Talen Energy Stadium 18,500 89.3%
FC Dallas 15,512 15,122 +2.6% Toyota Stadium 20,500 75.7%
Colorado Rapids 15,333 15,322 +0.1% Dick's Sporting Goods Park 18,061 84.9%
Chicago Fire 14,806 17,383 −14.8% Toyota Park [h] 20,000 74%
Columbus Crew 12,447 15,439 –19.4% Mapfre Stadium 19,968 62.3%
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 2018 season was the first in which Atlanta United had use of Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the entire season. United played its first nine (out of 17) 2017 home games at Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium prior to the opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
  2. ^ Now known as Dignity Health Sports Park.
  3. ^ The 2018 season was Minnesota United's last in TCF Bank Stadium. United will open its new Allianz Field (capacity 19,400) in April 2019, and will play its entire home schedule in the new venue.
  4. ^ Providence Park is currently being expanded; the final capacity has not yet been revealed, but is expected to be about 25,000. The Timbers are playing their first 12 league games in 2019 on the road in order to accommodate the construction schedule.
  5. ^ The Earthquakes played one 2018 home game at Stanford Stadium (capacity 50,424).
  6. ^ The Impact played one 2018 home game at Stade Olympique (capacity 61,004).
  7. ^ Audi Field opened during the 2018 season. Prior to its opening, D.C. United played one 2018 home game at the Maryland SoccerPlex (capacity 4,000) and one at Navy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (capacity 34,000).
  8. ^ Now known as SeatGeek Stadium.
* Stadium capacity artificially reduced for soccer matches

Season averages

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

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.

MLS attendance vs. other North American leagues

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 2016 69,325 +549 17,468,825 [15]
Major League Baseball Baseball 30 2018 28,830 –1,212 69,625,244 [16]
Canadian Football League Canadian football 9 2016 24,692 –46 2,000,010 [17]
Major League Soccer Soccer 22 2017 22,113 +421 8,270,187
National Basketball Association Basketball 30 2017–18 17,987 +103 22,124,559 [18]
National Hockey League Ice hockey 30 2016–17 17,501 +19 21,451,041 [19]

MLS attendance vs. other soccer leagues worldwide

No. League Country Federation Season Teams Games Total
attendance
Average
attendance
Ref
1 Bundesliga Germany UEFA 2016-17 18 306 12,702,427 41,511 [20]
2 Premier League England / Wales UEFA 2016-17 20 380 13,612,316 35,822 [21]
3 La Liga Spain UEFA 2016-17 20 380 10,499,350 27,630 [22]
4 Chinese Super League China AFC 2017 16 240 5,785,776 24,107 [23]
5 Liga MX Mexico CONCACAF 2017-18 18 306 7,197,456 23,521 [24]
6 Serie A Italy UEFA 2016–17 20 380 8,422,378 22,164 [25]
7 Major League Soccer U.S. / Canada CONCACAF 2018 23 391 8,552,503 21,873
8 Ligue 1 France / Monaco UEFA 2016-17 20 380 7,825,115 21,148
9 Superliga Argentina Argentina CONMEBOL 2016 20 372 6,999,924 21,374 [26]
10 Eredivisie Netherlands UEFA 2016-17 18 306 5,841,521 19,090 [27]

Historic average attendances

Current active teams

Season ATL CHI 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

Defunct teams

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 7,063

Notes:

  • Bold indicates franchise record high for season average attendance.

Individual game highest attendance

Regular season

Rank Home team Score Away team Attendance Stadium Date Ref
1 Atlanta United FC 1–1 Seattle Sounders FC 72,243 Mercedes-Benz Stadium July 15, 2018 [28]
2 Atlanta United FC 3–1 D.C. United 72,035 Mercedes-Benz Stadium March 11, 2018 [29]
3 Atlanta United FC 2–0 Real Salt Lake 72,017 Mercedes-Benz Stadium September 22, 2018 [30]
4 Atlanta United FC 4–0 Orlando City SC 71,932 Mercedes-Benz Stadium June 30, 2018 [31]
5 Atlanta United FC 2–2 Toronto FC 71,874 Mercedes-Benz Stadium October 22, 2017 [32]
6 Atlanta United FC 2–1 Chicago Fire 71,812 Mercedes-Benz Stadium October 21, 2018 [33]
7 Atlanta United FC 3–3 Orlando City SC 70,425 Mercedes-Benz Stadium September 16, 2017 [34]
8 Atlanta United FC 1–1 FC Cincinnati 70,382 Mercedes-Benz Stadium March 10, 2019
9 LA Galaxy 2–1 NY/NJ MetroStars 69,255 Rose Bowl April 13, 1996 [35] [34]
10 Seattle Sounders FC 1–0 Portland Timbers 67,385 CenturyLink Field August 25, 2013 [36]
11 Seattle Sounders FC 3–0 Portland Timbers 66,452 CenturyLink Field October 7, 2012 [37]
12 New York Red Bulls 5–4 LA Galaxy 66,237 Giants Stadium August 18, 2007 [35] [34]
13 Seattle Sounders FC 1–1 Los Angeles Galaxy 66,216 CenturyLink Field October 27, 2013 [38]
14 Seattle Sounders FC 2–1 Portland Timbers 64,358 CenturyLink Field August 30, 2015 [39]
15 Seattle Sounders FC 2–0 Portland Timbers 64,207 CenturyLink Field July 13, 2014 [35]

MLS Cup playoffs

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 Atlanta United FC 0–0
(1–3 pen.)
Columbus Crew Knockout Round 67,221 Mercedes-Benz Stadium October 26, 2017 [43]
5 New England Revolution 0–1 LA Galaxy Final 61,316 Gillette Stadium October 20, 2002 [35]
6 Montreal Impact 3–2 Toronto FC Conference Final 61,004 Olympic Stadium November 23, 2016 [44]
7 D.C. United 2–1 Colorado Rapids Final 57,431 RFK Memorial Stadium October 26, 1997 [35]
8 Chicago Fire 2–0 D.C. United Final 51,350 Rose Bowl October 25, 1998 [35]
9 Seattle Sounders FC 2–1 LA Galaxy Conference Final 46,758 CenturyLink Field November 30, 2014 [35]
10 Real Salt Lake 1–1
(5–4 pen.)
LA Galaxy Final 46,758 Qwest Field November 22, 2009 [35]
11 Seattle Sounders FC 3–0 Houston Dynamo Conference Final 45,298 CenturyLink Field November 30, 2017 [45]

Doubleheader games highest attendance

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 [46]
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 [47]
4 San Jose Clash 1–1 D.C. United 73,123 July 4, 1999 (1999-07-04) [35] USA women vs. Brazil women [48]
5 Houston Dynamo 0–1 Los Angeles Galaxy 70,550 August 9, 2006 (2006-08-09) [35] FC Barcelona vs. Club América [49]
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 metro area

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
Orlando, FL 1st --- 23,866 City SC 17,893 Magic (NBA)
Vancouver, B.C. 1st --- 21,946 Whitecaps 19,975 BC Lions (CFL)
18,078 Canucks (NHL)
Portland, OR 1st --- 21,144 Timbers 19,398 Trail Blazers (NBA)
Salt Lake City, UT 1st --- 18,605 Real Salt Lake 17,922 Jazz (NBA)
Atlanta, GA 2nd 72,898 Falcons (NFL) 53,002 Atlanta United 31,552 Braves (MLB)
14,409 Hawks (NBA)
Seattle, WA 2nd 69,001 Seahawks (NFL) 40,641 Sounders 28,388 Mariners (MLB)
Toronto, Ontario 2nd 29,066 Blue Jays (MLB) 26,628 Toronto FC 19,839 Raptors (NBA)
19,187 Maple Leafs (NHL)
14,211 Argonauts (CFL)
Montreal, Quebec 2nd 21,299 Canadiens (NHL) 18,569 Impact 17,332 Alouettes (CFL)
Columbus, OH 2nd 16,659 Blue Jackets (NHL) 12,447 Crew
Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN 3rd 66,811 Vikings (NFL)
24,489 Twins (MLB)
23,902 MN United 19,036 Wild (NHL)
17,056 Timberwolves (NBA)
Kansas City, MO/KS 3rd 75,972 Chiefs (NFL)
20,556 Royals (MLB)
19,950 Sporting
Boston, MA 4th 65,878 Patriots (NFL)
35,747 Red Sox (MLB)
18,624 Celtics (NBA)
18,347 Revolution 17,565 Bruins (NHL)
Houston, TX 4th 71,804 Texans (NFL)
36,796 Astros (MLB)
17,900 Rockets (NBA)
16,906 Dynamo
Los Angeles, CA 5th/
6th
72,429 Rams (NFL)
47,042 Dodgers (MLB)
37,286 Angels (MLB)
32,768 Chargers (NFL)
24,444 Galaxy
22,042 LAFC
18,934 Lakers (NBA)
18,240 Kings (NHL)
17,019 Clippers (NBA)
16,635 Ducks (NHL)
New York, NY 5th/
7th
77,982 Jets (NFL)
76,940 Giants (NFL)
42,998 Yankees (MLB)
28,164 Mets (MLB)
23,211 NYC FC
18,601 Red Bulls
19,331 Knicks (NBA)
17,851 Rangers (NHL)
15,429 Nets (NBA)
15,200 Devils (NHL)
12,002 Islanders (NHL)
Washington, DC 5th 61,028 Redskins (NFL)
31,620 Nationals (MLB)
18,774 Capitals (NHL)
17,973 Wizards (NBA)
17,635 D.C. United
Philadelphia, PA 5th 69,696 Eagles (NFL)
27,318 Phillies (MLB)
20,329 76ers (NBA)
19,517 Flyers (NHL)
16,518 Union
Dallas, TX 5th 91,619 Cowboys (NFL)
26,013 Rangers (MLB)
19,791 Mavericks (NBA)
18,110 Stars (NHL)
15,512 FC Dallas
Denver, CO 5th 76,448 Broncos (NFL)
37,233 Rockies (MLB)
17,141 Nuggets (NBA)
15,586 Avalanche (NHL)
15,333 Rapids
San Francisco Bay Area, CA 6th 69,148 49ers (NFL)
57,919 Raiders (NFL)
38,965 Giants (MLB)
19,596 Warriors (NBA)
19,427 Athletics (MLB)
19,032 Earthquakes 17,365 Sharks (NHL)
Chicago, IL 6th 61,815 Bears (NFL)
38,793 Cubs (MLB)
21,653 Blackhawks (NHL)
20,776 Bulls (NBA)
20,110 White Sox (MLB)
14,806 Fire

MLS, CFL, MLB, and NFL attendances are for their 2018 seasons. NBA and NHL attendances are for their 2017–18 seasons.

See also

References

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