Fans turned out to Nippert Stadium in droves on Saturday, as more than 35,000 spectators saw FC Cincinnati host a friendly against Crystal Palace F.C.
One of the bigger stories out of the USL this year is the success of FC Cincinnati. In its inaugural season, the club is drawing strong attendance figures at the upgraded Nippert Stadium, a venerable football facility that has proven to be a fine soccer venue.
Friendlies against Premier League teams have drawn large crowds in other cities, but a few things stand out about FC Cincinnati’s performance. The final attendance figure of 35,061 is an all-time high for games hosted in the state of Ohio, and the match outdrew the weekend’s MLS regular season contests.
It is no secret that FC Cincinnati officials have lofty ambitions, as Cincinnati is suddenly emerging as a credible candidate for an MLS expansion franchise. While factors beyond attendance will surely be in play, the crowd for Saturday’s game certainly helps to generate more awareness of Cincinnati’s case. More from the Telegraph:
The Ohio club have the backing of wealthy Cincinnati businessmen – including owner Carl Lindner III whose father was one of the richest men in the US with a wealth once estimated at $2.3 billion.
And they have made their aims to become an MLS team clear from the get-go.
Conversations have already begun between FC Cincinnati owners and MLS officials about what exactly it would take to gain invitation to MLS – and were told attendances of 10,000 were indicative of gaining credibility.
One thing that would bolster Cincinnati’s pitch for an MLS entry is further upgrades to Nippert Stadium. Among the changes that have been previously discussed for next season include expansion to a full 115-by-75 yard soccer pitch, and previous upgrades may allow the club to install more premium seating areas.
Image courtesy FC Cincinnati.