by Dick Mac
Three weeks into the 2010 Major League Soccer season, attendance is up to an average of 18,452. This might not sound like a lot, but it places the league third in the rankings of professional sports attendance, right behind Major League Baseball (30,213, last season) and just ahead of the National Basketball Association (17,110, in its current season).
NFL - 67,508 (2009 season)
MLB - 30,213 (2009 season)
MLS - 18,452 (current season)
NBA - 17,110 (current season)
NHL - 17,004 (current season)
It is possible that MLS could drop down the list as the season progresses, if attendance wanes. In a World Cup year, however, it is expected that interest in the league will increase.
MLS attendance numbers benefit from remarkable attendance in Seattle, with a regularly sold-out 36,000 seat stadium and 31,000 season ticket holders (most in the league).
It is hoped that the addition of a new franchise in Philadelphia, and the opening of Red Bull Arena, in Harrison, NJ, will continue fueling the broadening interest in the sport.
I got the soccer bug while living in London and learned about MLS when I returned to New York. I have been a fan since, and my daughter and I are season ticket holders.
If you haven't seen an MLS match live, I recommend it.
If you are in the Metropolitan New York area, come out to Red Bull Arena: Tickets to Individual Red Bull New York Matches
If you are in another area, perhaps there is a match near you: MLS Clubs