ESPN has seen a 36% increase in its ratings compared to the World Cup four years ago as suddenly soccer became a sport that the mainstream media covered. But the question that Major League Soccer probably wanted answered was did that interest in the world cup translate to more fans going to MLS games? The answer to that question is yes.
CSNE.com had some MLS attendance data that nine out of 12 MLS teams to have hosted a match since the World Cup started saw attendance go up from its last pre-tournament figure.
From the article:
“The return of Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle to MLS action on Sunday also marked the LA Galaxy’s first match since before the World Cup. Twenty-seven thousand flocked to the stadium to welcome the duo home from South Africa, a mind-boggling 37.5 percent increase over the Galaxy’s 2010 average attendance coming into the match. On the field, the twice-teammates showed their camaraderie when Donovan assisted on a Buddle goal early in the 19th minute as the Galaxy improved to 11-1-3 on the season with a 3-1 win over Seattle Sounders FC. The hookup furthered Buddle’s and Donovan’s respective MLS leads in goals and assists, as each has now compiled 10 in his given category. MLS attendance at large is up nearly 10 percent in 2010 from 2009, averaging over 16,442 fans a game.”
The 10% increase in MLS attendance is really good considering the state of the U.S. economy. By comparison, Major League Baseball has seen its attendance drop by about 1% this season over 2009.
Soccer interest in the U.S. will not end with the World Cup Final tomorrow. The arrival of Manchester United in Chicago on Monday signals the beginning of a month where some of the biggest clubs in the world will be training and playing games in the U.S. Fan interest is extremely high for these games and hopefully the MLS can continue to turn that interest in seat buying fans.