That the Seattle Sounders will set another MLS attendance record is not really news. In fact, they already have the single-season MLS attendance record. In the game against DC United, the Sounders broke their old record, which they set in 2010 when they broke the record they set in 2009. Sense a pattern?
A pretty loud exclamation mark will be put on this season's home attendance figure on Oct. 15 in what will be Kasey Keller's final regular-season game. It has been announced that 57,000 tickets have already been sold for that game. By the time the game rolls around, it will probably be closer to 60,000. While that won't be a single-game MLS attendance record, it will be one of the highest attended games in MLS history that will not require any kind of asterisk. (Side note: That's also the day of "Date with Sounder at Heart." Have you RSVP'd?)
In fact, it will likely be the third highest attended regular-season game that was neither part of a double-header nor played on the Fourth of July. Only the first ever MLS game played at the Rose Bowl, which drew more than 69,000, and David Beckham's first MLS game, which drew more than 66,000, will have drawn more.
Even more impressive is the realization that the Sounders are poised to draw more than 800,000 people to games this year.
Placed in context, those numbers become even more remarkable. Assuming a crowd of about 20,000 shows up for next week's CONCACAF Champions League match against Monterrey, the Sounders should draw about 830,000 people this year. That includes exhibition games at CenturyLink Field, as well as U.S. Open Cup and CCL. In total, that's 27 matches (Community Shield, Manchester United friendly, four Open Cup games, four CCL games and 17 MLS games).
- That figure would surpass all but two NHL teams' 2010-11 total, despite the fact that they play 41 home matches.
- It would also be more than all but two NBA teams' 2010-11 totals. NBA teams also play 41 home dates.
- Even if you only count the Sounders' 17 regular-season home games, the Sounders would outdraw 30 of 32 NFL teams.
The Sounders' projected attendance for regular-season home matches will be about 650,000 for an average of about 38,000.
- That average would rank them seventh among Major League Baseball's 30 teams.
- They would rank seventh in this year's Premier League.
- Based on last year's Serie A numbers, the Sounders would be fourth there
- They would have been 12th in the Bundesliga
If you look at where the Sounders are in MLS history, it becomes almost comical. The year before the Sounders entered the league, the Galaxy were the top drawing team with about 390,000 people showing up to Home Depot Center. That was the highest single-season total since the Galaxy set the MLS record in 1996 (462,656).
- The Sounders are poised to break the record they set last year by more than 100,000 people
- Even accounting for the two extra games, they'll draw about 2,000 more people per game than they did last year
- No team other than the Sounders or Galaxy have ever averaged more than 24,000 a game or drawn more than 380,000 people, something the Sounders have now done for three straight years.