As of Monday, May 14 here are the ranking of teams in the two professional leagues under MLS, the North American Soccer League (NASL) and the United Soccer Leagues Professional Division (USL-Pro), in terms of average home attendance:
- San Antonio Scorpions: 10934 [NASL]
- Rochester Rhinos: 7953 [USL-Pro]
- Orlando City: 7681 [USL-Pro]
- Atlanta Silverbacks: 4301 [NASL]
- Minnesota Stars: 4185 [NASL]
- Wilmington Hammerheads: 4070 [USL-Pro]
- Charleston Battery: 3745 [USL-Pro]
- Fort Lauderdale Strikers: 3483 [NASL]
- Richmond Kickers: 3224 [USL-Pro]
- Carolina Railhawks: 3147 [NASL]
- Tampa Bay Rowdies: 3030 [NASL]
- Harrisburg City Islanders: 1223 [USL-Pro]
- Los Angeles Blues: 1217 [USL-Pro]
- FC Edmonton: 1197 [NASL]
- Antigua Barracuda FC: 1067 [USL-Pro]
- Puerto Rico Islanders: 1019 [NASL]
- Dayton Dutch Lions: 882 [USL-Pro]
- Pittsburgh Riverhounds: 784 [USL-Pro]
- Charlotte Eagles: 702 [USL-Pro]
As of Monday, May 14 here are the averages for each of the two leagues:
- USL-Pro: 87223 total over 35 games makes a 2492 average per game.
- USL-Pro team median is 1223.
- The average of the top half (teams above the median) in the USL-Pro is 5335.
- NASL: 101041 total over 26 games makes a 3886 average per game.
- NASL team median is 3315.
- The average of the top half (teams above median) in the NASL is 5726.
These compiled data point to the fact that while the NASL has a higher average attendance, several USL-Pro clubs can hold their own and impress in a national comparison.
Though I am a fervent supporter of a USL-Pro club, I am not one for the bickering between leagues. I find it very good news that one half of the top ten teams in terms of attendance are from each league respectively. However, it troubles me that six of the bottom eight teams are from USL-Pro, including all the teams currently drawing an average under 1000. Both the Dayton Dutch Lions and Charlotte Eagles have played matches at multiple sites and neither team nor the Pittsburgh Riverhounds has its own soccer specific stadium.
Speaking of stadium facilities, Atlanta Silverbacks deserve a round of applause for routinely reaching or approaching the capacity of Silverbacks Park. Though the team itself has come under some scrutiny for its overtly abrasive style and physical dramatics, the fan-base in Atlanta consistently packs into the stadium to support their team. Kudos there.
San Antonio Scorpions are experiencing the boom of expansion fever impressively drawing five figures to Heroes Stadium. As of this week, they continue to draw a higher average than the New England Revolution of MLS (10934 for SAS vs 10394 for NER). Without wanting to disparage the organizational efforts in San Antonio, these figures are unlikely to hold up but the team will still probably end the season with the highest attendance.