The popularity of Major League Soccer is beginning to outweigh that of Major League Baseball according to recently-released stats.
The 2011 MLS season has so far seen nine of the 18 teams pull an average home attendance better than MLB teams, indicating that fans are warming to the world game in a big way.
A report in The Street read: ‘The Houston Dynamo's more than 17,000 fans per game, the Philadelphia Union's 18,180 average and the New York Red Bulls' 18,200 regular attendees are all a better draw than the Florida Marlins, who are drawing an average of only 16,975 to their home games.
‘Toronto FC has been in the league for only four years, but its average attendance of 19,900 is 1,000 per game shy of baseball's Toronto Blue Jays, while the Los Angeles Galaxy's 22,200 puts it ahead of eight teams in Major League Baseball.
‘The MLS attendance figures are even more impressive in places where soccer is outdrawing major league baseball teams in their own city. Since moving to their new home at soccer-specific LiveStrong Sporting Park earlier this year, Sporting Kansas City has drawn nearly 19,200 fans to every home game. The same can't be said for the Royals, who are struggling to bring roughly 18,600 fans out to games.’
"Major League Soccer is the new kid on the block. We've only been around 16 years compared to Major League Baseball, which has been around for 142 years, and other leagues that have been around for decades," says Dan Courtemanche, executive vice president of Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing.
"We don't necessarily have the tradition in all of our markets that some of the major sports leagues in this country do, but we are fortunate that in some of our markets, including Seattle and Portland, there's a tradition dating back to the North American Soccer League that's carrying over into MLS."