Here’s a numerical rundown for each team in USL-Pro in alphabetical order.
I also created fake awards to bestow on each club.
- High 5111, June 22 v VSI
- Low 2057, June 5 v Charlotte
- Difference 3054
- Average 3554
- Median 3392.5
Charleston gets a pat on the back for having the oldest soccer-specific-stadium in the country, the august Blackbaud Stadium, and I’ll give them an award for having the most Cuban-Americans fans in USL (at the very least the most Cuban-Americans on the field).
- High 1336, June 14 v Chicago Fire Reserves
- Low 332, April 19 v Rochester
- Difference 1004
- Average 807
- Median 718
The Eagles registered the best average attendance for any team playing on a high school ground this season. Congratulations to Charlotte for being the best of the worst; the king of the nerds, if you will.
Dayton Dutch Lions:
- High 1621, June 8 v Columbus Crew Reserves
- Low 250, July 4 v Rochester Rhinos (Rescheduled Holiday Match, from 7pm to 1pm)
- Difference 1371
- Average 766
- Median 615
Dayton went from a joke of a club two years ago to a solid playoff team this season, which earns them some sort of ‘Most Improved’ prize. If only they could learn to better tap into their full market in the off-season while the organization expands into nearby Cincinnati.
Harrisburg City Islanders:
- High 2170, August 10 v VSI Tampa (season finale)
- Low 730, May 10 v Antigua
- Difference 1440
- Average 1456
- Median 1521
HCI’s average from the second week (1385) only changed 71 by the end of the season, it’s a shame more people didn’t come out to see this team while they were on a tear. I’ll say they get a plaque for being the least hyped, most underground team; basically the hipster team because you’ve probably never heard of them but they’ve been around for a while.
Los Angeles Blues:
- High 1436, March 23 v Phoenix (season opener)
- Low 176, July 4 v Antigua
- Difference 1260
- Average 542
- Median 337
Award for being the worst at reporting attendances! And they can look forward to being the worst franchise in California as soon as Sacramento starts next year.
- High 10697, August 11 v Seattle Sounders Reserves
- Low 5985, August 8 v VSI Tampa Bay
- Difference 4712
- Average 8053
- Median 7930
You’re the best around! (Nothing’s ever gonna keep you down)
Phoenix FC Wolves:
- High 4198, March 30 v VSI Tampa Bay (season opener)
- Low 327, July 31 v Harrisburg
- Difference 3871
- Average 1532
- Median 1440
Phoenix FC Wolves get recognition for flying high early in the season before crashing and burning faster almost as badly as the USL Puerto Rico experiment. If only the league had a wealth of team execs and big-wigs who have run “successful” teams for over a decade, oh wait…
- High 4009, August 17 v Richmond (season finale)
- Low 3104, June 7 v Toronto FC Reserves
- Difference 905
- Average 3536
- Median 3474
Every match that Pittsburgh published attendance figures for (12 of the 14 home matches) the Riverhounds drew between 3104 and 4009. Therefore Pittsburgh and their fantastic, brand new, shiny Highmark Stadium get an award for the most consistent team in USL-Pro.
- High 4921, August 14 v Orlando
- Low 1694, May 31 v Phoenix
- Difference 3227
- Average 2527
- Median 2202
The Kickers are just about the only team whose attendance was somewhat related to the strength of their opponent, attendances against playoff teams was 36% higher than against non-playoff teams. I’m going to make up a Knowledgeable Fan-base award and give it to Richmond.
- High 7334, June 29 v Phoenix
- Low 4381, June 16 v Charleston
- Difference 2953
- Average 5840
- Median 5874
Why not give Rochester a certificate for drawing ticket sales even while the team suffered its worst ever season. Three cheers for season tickets and padded giveaways: Hip, hip, hooray!..
VSI Tampa Bay FC Flames:
- High 1032, April 13 v Rochester (season opener)
- Low 139, June 9 v Phoenix
- Difference 893
- Average 381
- Median 292
“Dumbest. Club. Ever.”
Also a minor award for a stupid alphabet soup name. They also drew 1/5th of their total fans to the season opening match against Rochester.
- High 5017, July 3 v Orlando
- Low 1769, August 14 v Pittsburgh
- Difference 3248
- Average 3162
- Median 3055.5
Besides being the only soccer team I could talk to non-soccer people about during Shark Week, Wilmington fans come out for the big games. Against Orlando City and the NY Red Bulls Reserves, the team averaged 1500 higher than the season average as a whole.
League wide average is 2680, though I’m missing data for a handful of matches.
Last year the figure was 2795, again missing 11 matches. The slight drop should not be that surprising considering that both expansion teams are well below 2012’s average even though Orlando City increased their attendance by nearly 1400.
League wide median is 2029.5. Harrisburg’s consistent draws of more than 1000 with the season finale gate of 2170 shows that there is some potential in the market or that the club isn’t that poor despite the fact that I don’t like them.
Phoenix FC averaged 2209 in their first 8 matches and just 631 in their final 6. There is certainly a mass of people in the Phoenix area willing to pay to see a professional soccer team, even if it is in a minor league. The club has to do a better job of normalizing a home facility, performing in their home games, and not having members of supporters groups escorted off premises by park rangers.
There are four teams that are embarrassing the league with their attendance figures. Charlotte, Dayton, Los Angeles, and VSI Tampa Bay simply need to do better. Charlotte has a strong history and Dayton has roots in their community. While VSI Tampa Bay pulled in a number of players from the club’s own PDL-team and nearby Florida teams, which provides ambitious players a chance to perform at a higher level, their attendance was atrocious and their facility was an eyesore. On the other coast, Los Angeles Blues have been an anomaly in USL-Pro. Continuing to bounce around venues has unsurprisingly not had a positive effect on their attendance numbers during their third year in the league.
The top half of teams that hosted games (I’m not counting Antigua) are Orlando, Rochester, Charleston, Pittsburgh, Wilmington, and Richmond. The average of these teams’ attendances is 4445.
Last year the teams above the median averaged 4692. In 2012 all NASL teams averaged 3805 and the 2013 NASL Spring attendance average was 4662. Solely in terms of attendance, any of the top half of USL-Pro would fit in perfectly in the NASL.
Orlando’s 8053 through Richmond’s 2527 slide in nicely anywhere from San Antonio’s 7140 through Edmonton’s 2059 from the Spring.
If you have any other questions be sure to comment below or contact me through email dohertysoccer [at] gmail
Thanks for reading!