I always say that I don’t defend soccer from the ninnies, the flat-Earthers and the fearful who wince at change in their world.
It doesn’t need defending. It is what it is. (Besides, they are ninnies, flat-Earthers and the fearful; they don’t do “reason” and aren’t worth the wasted breath.)
But I suppose there is another side when it comes to soccer being in a comfortable place. The game being “what it is” here and being OK with it – that goes two ways.
We really should stop drawing false conclusions on the game’s popularity. More to the point, we should resist the urge to proclaim MLS more popular than this sport or that one based on attendance data alone.
And what’s the point of comparing attendance of professional matches here to that in other lands? Because if you are telling me that soccer enjoys greater standing within the general populous here compared to, say, Brazil or Scotland, and you are basing that on attendance figures at professional matches – then you and I need to have a little sit-down about the blessedness of real-world truth telling.
In fairness, I don’t think that’s what everyone who has cited these figures is trying to say that. But some might be tiptoeing around it.
Yes, it is interesting that MLS average gate (18,828 at the time of this report) lands favorably alongside some far more storied and venerable global associations. But that’s it; “Interesting” is where it starts and stops.
Attendance figures are all tied into stadium size, regional availability of professional clubs to support, number of matches overall, etc.
As for comparing attendance data of MLS to NHL and NBA? Please.
That’s apples and oranges due to venue capacity (much smaller generally in NBA and NHL) and number of contests (a whole bunch more in NBA and NHL).