United Soccer League Attendance Increases 33 Percent in 2016
The United Soccer League (USL) has announced a 33 percent attendance increase following its 2016 regular season.
The league, made up of 29 teams throughout the country, reported a total season attendance of nearly 1.5 million, which is greatly improved from the 2015 season.
Overall, the USL averaged 3,439 per game and recorded 58 sellouts during the 2016 season.
"It has been another record-breaking season for the USL and its 29 teams as the attendance numbers reflect the growth and momentum we continue to experience,” said Jake Edwards, USL President.
“A 30-plus percent jump in league attendance is unprecedented in professional sports and illustrates the exceptional quality of USL and unique soccer environment our passionate fans are creating across North America.”
Here are some other attendance notes courtesy of the USL:
- Expansion side FC Cincinnati totaled a league-record 259,437 fans for the season and averaged a league-record 17,296 per game at Nippert Stadium. The team surpassed 20,000 in attendance on four occasions. This began with 20,497 on April 16, a USL attendance record for regular season and playoffs with 23,375 on May 14, 20,151 on July 23, and then broke its own league record with 24,376 on September 17.
- Sacramento Republic FC continued its impressive attendance run totaling 172,711 fans, selling out 14 of 15 games and averaging 11,514 per game at Bonney Field. Since joining the USL in 2014, the Republic have sold out 45 of 47 regular season and post-season games.
- In its second season, Louisville City FC totaled 108,269 in attendance for an average of 7,218 and recorded its first crowd of 10,000-plus at Slugger Field on June 25.
- In its first season in the USL, San Antonio FC averaged 6,170 per game and surpassed the previous single-game attendance record for soccer with 8,466 on April 9 at Toyota Field.
- Nine different clubs – the Charleston Battery, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, FC Cincinnati, Rio Grande Valley FC, Sacramento Republic FC, Saint Louis FC, San Antonio FC, Toronto FC II and Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2– recorded at least one sellout during the season.
- Three teams – FC Cincinnati, Louisville City FC and Sacramento Republic FC – surpassed at least 100,000 in attendance, marking the first time in USL history that multiple teams reached the milestone in a single season. Before 2016, only three times had a team reached the mark in League history.
These numbers prove that soccer undoubtedly continues to be on the rise in the United States.
The 2016 USL Cup Playoffs are preparing to get underway, with the playoffs conclude on October 23 with the 2016 USL Cup Final live on ESPNU and the WatchESPN app.