History has taught supports of the American game that “soccer fans” do not necessarily trip over themselves to join the ranks of “MLS fans.”
So no one should get too geeked over the big crowd that showed up to watch as Brazil took apart Honduras last weekend in Miami. A crowd of 71,124 saw the stylish Samba soccer set beat down the still-growing Central American side, 5-0.
That crowd is significant because it was the second-largest soccer crowd in the United States this year, surpassed only by a crowd of 81,410 outside Dallas for a summer Gold Cup semifinal doubleheader (a pair of matches that involved the United States and Mexico.)
So, good on Miami for that one.
But that international soccer market can be a slippery set – a bit high browed as soccer fans go. Just because the area’s diverse demographic is intrigued by the chance to go see Neymar and his illustrious pals – minus a few injuries, Brazilian manager Luiz Felipe Scolari brought a very good squad to South Florida – that hardly means the fans will automatically flock to see the local MLS club on a regular basis.
Not even an MLS team fronted by even more illustrious David Beckham. That will still be about broader market dynamics, about how well the team develops its identity and how wisely it chooses its stadium, branding strategies, market approaches and such.
Still, it’s certainly not bad news that Miami can draw so well, if only for one night. The ongoing evidence that soccer fans do actually inhabit the South Florida area will help provide momentum as Beckham and Co. continue to explore their options.