Before I get started, I’d like to thank Indomitable City Soccer for providing an outlet to share some of this work. As a Tampa Bay Rowdies supporter, ICS has been a great place for me to get acquainted with all things USL – beyond just Republic.
If you follow me on Twitter (or on Reddit), you know I’m an “attendance guy”. For me, it’s one of the few visible metrics that gives us insight into the business aspects of how clubs run – particularly in lower division soccer where ticket sales are the primary driver of revenue. I started doing this work a few years ago, originally just with the Rowdies, then expanding into NASL and now USL. On Twitter each week, I post a high-level overview of all of Division 2, showing the last game and average compared to last year. Each week here on ICS, I’ll get into a deeper dive on USL attendance and show some of the things I can’t fit on one Twitter graphic.
(Apologies for the long preamble…I won’t do this every week. Probably.)
Week 17 USL Matches
This week the top honors go to Louisville City FC, who welcomed their beloved rivals from north of the border into town with an impressive 11,632 – a season high for LCFC. Lots of Cincy supporters made the trek (with estimates of up to 500-700), resulting in an over-capacity crowd (for soccer) at Slugger Field.
Two other teams set season highs with San Antonio FC bringing in 8,131 on Friday night against OKC Energy and Harrisburg City Islanders with 3,289 versus Richmond. Phoenix, Ottawa, and St. Louis also turned in 5k-plus performances.
2017 USL Attendance: Through Week 17
In the overall table, Cincy was away, but a string of good performances in previous weeks has them dangerously close to the 20k average they had their eyes set on when the season began. Currently nine USL teams are averaging over 5,000 fans a game and the independently owned USL clubs sit at 5,832 (a 22.3% jump from last year.)
ONE MORE THING: USL teams measure attendance differently – there’s not one set standard in the league (nor is there in NASL). Some teams count tickets scanned at the turnstile, some count tickets sold, and some include tickets distributed in promotions or corporate giveaways. For these reports, I focus on the numbers the league publishes. Some matches pass the eye test better than others, where the numbers in the stands match up to the numbers on the chart. Others don’t look quite right, because tickets sold or distributed never showed up at the gate. So, when you’re addressing your letters to the editor, know that for consistency I stick with the same source, each week. Be kind to the messenger.
Reactions, points of clarity, analysis? Add your commentary on your club (or the league) in the comments below!