NWSL Attendance and Viewership Mid-season Update

I have tried to stay away from posting attendance and viewership numbers on a weekly basis this year because I feel like the emphasis should be on the soccer. That being said, I do think that the attendance and viewership numbers are interesting and should be paid attention to. So here is a quick update now that we are almost to the mid-way point of the season.

Also, just as a note, I may not post about it every week, but you can find the latest Attendance and Viewership numbers for the NWSL right here.

NWSL Mid-Season Attendance Report for 2014

Not a lot has changed with NWSL attendance from year one to year two, at least not from a league wide perspective. Probably the biggest difference is the much smaller crowds at FC Kansas City compared to last season. But, the addition of Houston, despite not getting the numbers they would like, are still helping the leagues overall bottom line.  Here is how attendance looks, from a league perspective:

  • Total 2014 NWSL Attendance to Date:

    158,439

  • Average 2014 NWSL Weekly Attendance:

    22,634

  • Average 2014 NWSL Match Average Attendance:

    4,661

  • 2014 NWSL Weekly Attendance (Minus Portland):

    15,120

  • 2014 NWSL Match Average Attendance (Minus Portland):

    3,479

As you can see by the numbers above, the numbers change quite a bit when you take Portland out of the equation, but not as much as they did last year. I credit this mostly to the Dash and Spirit, both of whom are neck and neck for 2nd highest attendance behind Portland.

League Attendance Breakdown, By Team

chart_1

League Attendance Weekly Total vs Average

chart_2

As you can see through the chart above, the attendance has been fluctuating but is currently on a rise league wide. Those week 2 numbers are skewed thanks to a Chicago Fire and Red Stars double header which artificially bumped up Chicago’s numbers. Take that out, and the attendance has been on an overall rise since the start of the season. A very good sign.

Youtube Viewership Numbers

The leagues youtube viewership numbers are a little hard to nail down, so these numbers should be seen a general and not absolute. But that said, just as in physical attendance, the Portland Thorns seem to have the biggest draw in online viewing.

A nice surprise is the Houston Dash and Seattle Reign coming in 2nd and 3rd with very respectable stream viewership on their own.

chart_3

Final Thoughts

I think it is fair to say there is plenty of room for growth for the league, but these numbers should give hope that bigger and better attendance and viewership is possible with some hard work. In the end though, places like Boston and Sky Blue continue to struggle to get attendance, and the league and those respective FO’s need to do everything they can to remedy that.

What are your thoughts on this season from an attendance and streaming viewership standpoint? Are things going as you would have expected? Better? Worse? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!


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  • Lorehead

    One note: I don’t believe some of those numbers. They’re not attendance, but rather ticket sales, and if they’re true, there have been a lot of unused (season?) tickets. The Boston Breakers claimed over a thousand tickets sold for one midweek match in which only fifty people showed up at the start of the game—recall that there were twenty-two kids just lining up for the national anthem, and somebody drove them there. If there were over 4,500 people in BBVA Stadium for the second game against the Thorns, the lower bowl would have been 70% full, and it was clearly nowhere close to that.

    Houston is doing better than I expected. They’re an expansion team, they’ve had terrible luck with injuries, and the franchise is fundamentally very sound and poised to become profitable soon. I was honestly hoping that Seattle would take off faster than it has—if you live up there, you’re really missing out if you haven’t seen your world-class women’s soccer team. The game against Portland on July 27 should be something special. The drop in attendance for Kansas City seems to be because they moved to a nicer but smaller stadium and raised their ticket prices a lot.