MLS Cup Playoffs: 2014 Attendance Down from 2013


Earlier in the week I wrote about how I was disappointed in the attendance for the first six matches of the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Mainly I was disappointed in the show of support (or lack thereof) for the Columbus Crew as they only filled their stadium to 50% capacity. After talking with a few friends about this matter, I decided to dig a little deeper. I went back and looked at the first six games of the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs to see the average attendance.

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After doing my research here is the conclusion I came to—attendance so far is down this season compared to last year.

If MLS had better attendance during the regular season in 2014 than 2013, why are less people showing up to watch their teams play in the playoffs?

It’s a simple answer honestly. It has a lot to do with the teams that are playing and where the first legs of the conference semifinals are being played. I’m not going to go back over what I wrote earlier this week, rather I am going to take you back to the first six matches of last year.

The first knockout round featured the Seattle Sounders hosting the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday October 30th. The announced attendance for the match was 32,204, which is actually low for the Sounders.

The match on Thursday, October 31st saw the Houston Dynamo host the Montreal Impact. Only 10,476 showed up to watch. It was Halloween night so I can give the lack of attendance a pass.

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  • On November 2nd, the Sounders hosted the Portland Timbers and had an announce attendance of 38,507, while the New England Revolution and Sporting KC match saw 15,164 attend. November 3rd saw the Dynamo rebound in the attendance number as they hosted the New York Red Bulls and 20,626 came out to watch. The sixth and final match of the first week saw the Los Angeles Galaxy play host to Real Salt Lake with 27,000 in attendance.

    2013 first six playoff matches: 143,977/6=23,996 average

    2014 first six playoff matches: 89,716/6=14,953 average

    Those numbers are a little skewed obviously as the Sounders hosted two matches in those first six games and they have yet to host one match as of Friday. After the final game, which is being played on Monday night November 10th, I will take a look back at the first 10 matches from 2013 and 2014 to see if the numbers turn out to be the same.