Hey, non-Sounders fans! Take a look at this article about how artificial turf will be the end of the world as we know it!
Are they gone? Good.
As a Seahawks fan, I am one of the lucky ones. While some around here spent the whole offseason on pins and needles, I had the pleasant distraction of a championship team and a mere one month of Seattle Sports Withdrawal (also known as SSW). As soon as first kick arrived again though, that feeling returned anew. It really is a special thing, having all those people clapping and chanting and singing together as one. The sheer numbers are a big part of it.
Last August, I wrote about how the raw numbers of people who go to Sounders games is really, really high. If you're on this site, that probably isn't news to you. But the fact is that by the end of this season, Seattle will likely have drawn more people through six years than three original MLS teams. Each of those three teams have played at least three times as many games.
MLS Regular Season Attendance Records: All-Time
|New York Red Bulls||279||19,461||4,831,428|
|New England Revolution||280||14,844||4,331,193|
|San Jose Earthquakes||249||12,765||3,199,245|
|Real Salt Lake||143||19,218||2,484,809|
|Tampa Bay Mutiny||94||000||1,040,483|
Based on the home opener against Kansas City, it appears that the team has not opened up any new sections for day-to-day ticket sales. For 12 of the 17 home matches this season, capacity will be right around the listed 38,500.
Of course, those aren't the only games that factor in. The team will have five MLS matches in front of a full capacity stadium, each of which can allow for an absolute most 68,000 and change. These are the games which will likely boost Seattle's per-game average over 45,000 for the first time, which pencils out to a total of 765,000 fans through the turnstiles. Added to their previous total attendance...
San Jose and Sporting KC have little hope of keeping pace, even if the new Earthquakes arena had opened this year as was scheduled. They will have the benefit of a full-capacity game at the new Santa Clara 49ers stadium. FC Dallas would need a significant uptick in butts in seats to hold out through 2014. By the end of the year, Seattle will have reached the eight-spot, surpassing three of the original MLS teams.
Seattle won't reach the 6 million plateau (where LA is now) for four years. When they do, it won't be long before they catch the Galaxy as the top attended team in American soccer history.
These numbers, this pursuit of history, is one of the many reasons I love the Sounders. I love the Seahawks just as much. However, while I've been blessed to get to attend almost every game for each of these teams the last six years, financial considerations have forced me to make a choice this season. I'm picking one, and I'm picking soccer. I'll still make a few Seahawks games in 2014, but I will be selling the majority of my tickets to friends and family. De nada with my original Sounders tickets from 2009. I'm holding onto these... until I die, most likely.
As Sounders fans, many of us hear a lot about how we like to toot our own horns. And that may be true. But don't forget for a moment how special this all is. We enjoy this because it is so special, and it is special because we enjoy it so much. It is more than just the terrific supporters groups. I'm looking forward to the day when the numbers truly reflect what this team means to us.