After poor crowds, College Football looks to Major League Soccer for solution

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With attendances falling in certain College Football conferences last season, they’ve turned to Major League Soccer for help.

According to a story released in the Wall Street Journal, executives from Florida University, the SEC and Big 12 have all studied MLS and the rise in attendances over the past few years.

[RELATED: MLS midweek  roundup]

The fact that MLS sides such as Sporting Kansas City and the Portland Timbers are not only attracting new fans but keeping the old ones is particularly interesting to College Football folk.

With insight from Portland Timbers president of business operations Mike Golub and CEO of Sporting Club Robb Heineman, we learn about how College Football programs are partnering with MLS clubs to help build and solidify their fanbases.

Here is an extract from Ben Cohen’s piece, which I strongly recommend you read in full by clicking here.

Sporting KC is trending in the opposite direction. The team formerly known as the Wizards averaged 10,287 fans a game in 2010. Then it rebranded, moved from a minor-league baseball stadium to soccer-specific Sporting Park and saw attendance climb to 17,810 a game. That number has increased this year to a franchise-record 19,709 per MLS game.

How they pulled that off intrigues colleges that are struggling to fill their mammoth football stadiums. In addition to Florida, which sent a representative to Kansas City in the fall before a bigger team went in May, three other SEC schools have visited Sporting KC, Heineman said, while Oklahoma State announced a deal with Sporting Innovations in March.