Congratulations to the 53,471th person to walk through the turnstiles at CenturyLink Field over the weekend. You were the four millionth fan to attend a Major League Soccer game in 2012. A ridiculous 60,908 people — the highest number of the season — watched the Sounders soundly defeat the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Soccer America takes the opportunity to note some Fun Attendance Facts:
* Seattle’s current average is 41,480. Seattle had set the all-time MLS attendance record in each of its first three MLS seasons: 2011 — 38,496; 2010 — 36,173; 2009 — 30,897.
* MLS league-wide attendance this season after 213 games is 18,814, an 8.6 percent increase over the average of 17,295 after Week 22 in 2011. (The highest season attendance averages were 17,872 in 2011 and 17,406 in 1996.)
But also, there’s a little cause for concern hidden around the edges. Seven teams are averaging lower attendance then last year: Chivas USA, D.C. United, the Galaxy, the New England Revolution, the New York Red Bulls, Toronto FC, and the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Some of those are understandable. New England is flat terrible, and Gillette is a disaster. Chivas and TFC are also struggling in the standings. (That said, it’s a shame to see TFC lose support since they had such great crowds in the past.)
Some isn’t. Red Bull Arena is down more than 2,000 fans per game. That’s not good, especially for a venue that was supposed to be one of MLS’s calling cards. (It’s still a very good fan experience, however.) D.C. United’s constant state of unrest is starting to have a negative effect. (Hopefully the new owners can fix that up.) The Whitecaps are fun and good and you have to wonder what’s up in Vancouver.
So: Mostly good but a little of the bad. Put it this way: People aren’t exactly waiting in line to get tickets to MLS games, but the league is making progress slowly. That’s all you can ask.