It seems as though soccer has truly arrived in the US. Now, you've probably heard that said many times over the past 30 years, but this time we've got some surprising numbers to back it up. With a per game average attendance of 17,780, MLS has passed the NBA as the #3 most attended sports league in the US.â†µ
The MLS now has 3% more fans per game than the NBA and 4% more than the NHL. Combine that with the fact that MLS signed a major new deal with NBC Sports to show it's games and it's becoming pretty clear that they have to be considered a major American sports leauge. Here in Philadelphia, we've had a front row seat to the growth of the league. The Philadelphia Union have sold out every game for their first two seasons, they've got a local TV contract with Comcast and ABC and will have their games boradcast on WIP next season.
Actually, forget just American sports league. MLS is now the 10th highest attended soccer league in the world. Again, in terms of per game attendance. As Yahoo! sports points out, the numbers do get a bit skewed by how popular soccer is in certain areas of the country, namely the pacific northwest.â†µ
Fans in Seattle are the main reason for this impressive MLS move. The Seattle Sounders play in the Seahawks stadium and led the league in attendance with 38,495 fans on average, according to the Examiner.â†µ
But so what? Popular teams in any league drive their attendance numbers. So really, MLS isn't unlike any other leauge in that regard. That said, while they've passed the NBA, they still have a long way to go to catch MLB, who averages over 30K per game and the NFL who dwarfs all at nearly 67K per game.