Upon a recent visit to the team, MLS commissioner Don Garber expressed confidence in FC Dallas, even as the team deals with attendance issues.
Currently FC Dallas is atop the Western Conference standings, and the team’s owners–the Hunt Sports Group, which includes brothers Dan and Clark Hunt–have been one of the biggest advocates for soccer in North America. Despite that, FC Dallas has had problems attracting fans to Toyota Stadium in Frisco. Attendance figures entering the week show the team with a per-game average of 13,944, which is last in the 20-team MLS. That is down from FC Dallas’ final figure in 2015, when an average of 15,981 was good for 18th in attendance.
Despite FC Dallas’ totals for this year, Garber believes that the team’s numbers are bound to rise, even as it competes for fans in the hyper-competitive Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. More from SportsDay:
“I made some season-ticket calls today. That’s the first time I’ve ever done that,” Garber said. “I thought that was fun and interesting. Frankly, I think I should do more of that, speak to fans who are buying tickets to understand what they want to see more from clubs. This is a tough market. It’s not an easy sports market.”
Despite continued success on the field, FCD has struggled to get fans to Toyota Stadium, in contrast to other teams in the growing league. For the commissioner, it’s not about converting fans of other Dallas teams but capturing the fans of international soccer who already live in North Texas.
“I’m very confident that it’s just a matter of continuing to turn this market on to Major League Soccer,” he said. “Our issue here isn’t how do we compete with the Cowboys; the issue is, how do we get all the soccer fans to be more engaged with FC Dallas?”
Image courtesy of FC Dallas.