The Sedin twins kickin' it.
Messing around on the 'net today, I found an article from October of '08 stating that in 2009 the MLS will pass the NHL and NBA in average attendance per game. Naturally, this got my wheels turning, as this is very much a possibility.
Below is the chart that the blog Synthetic Turf provides for their argument:
I thought this might be possible with the relatively old news that Major League Soccer's new franchise this season, Seattle Sounders FC, have sold over 18,000 season tickets for this upcoming season of MLS, and expect to average around 20,000 a game. In 2008, the MLS averaged 16,459 spectators per game; down just about 2% from 2007. By looking at the chart above, Synthetic turf is projecting an average attendance below/around 17,500 per game for the MLS over the summer of 2009. Now I'm not sure what number he used for the new Seattle franchise to come up with a the projected number for MLS in 2009, but using the season-ticket sales number (18,000) for Seattle FC, I came up with the following three projections:
- MLS '09 (down another 2%) - 16,885
- MLS '09 (flat difference) - 17,229
- MLS '09 (up 2%) - 17,574
With all NHL teams having played past the statistical "halfway point" of 20 home games each, I will use this average. According to my excel graph, the NHL average for the first 20 home games, or 300 games this season, was 17,242 per game. Compared to my 2009 projected MLS numbers, only a raise in attendance (1-2%) for the MLS will put them over the NHL average attendance mark. But, this neglects the second half attendance boost the NHL receives, which as of tonight before the games were played was up from 17,242 by a little over 1.5%, or 17,512.
Could the MLS pass the NBA and NHL in average attendance per game? Absolutely. Is it fair to compare these numbers? Absolutely not. The amount of teams (30 for NBA and NHL; 15 for the MLS) along with the number of games (82 each for NBA and NHL; 30 league games each for MLS) make the attendance comparison unfair. If the MLS ever gets near the total fans for each sport (According to my spreadsheet, just under 10.4 million fans went to NHL games in the first "half"), then maybe we will talk.
- Update: 11:35 PM EST
According to TSN's Darren Dredger, an offer has been made to buy the Phoenix Coyotes. Someone must have been drinking somewhere...
More on this tomorrow (hopefully).