The USL has reached an attendance milestone, as the circuit has welcomed more than 1.5 million fans during the 2017 season.
The milestone was achieved by the league on Wednesday, which featured a few mid-week matches that were met with strong fan support. In fact, the first three contests of the evening combined to draw nearly 31,000 fans, according to numbers from the USL, including a crowd of 20,058 that saw FC Cincinnati‘s match against the Ottawa Fury FC at Nippert Stadium.
There have been plenty of highlights for the USL on the attendance side in 2017, something is reflected in the numbers of some of its clubs. FC Cincinnati has followed through on its strong inaugural season by receiving robust support again in 2017, and Sacramento Republic FC continues to be one of the top-drawing clubs in the circuit. Yet, many other teams have been attracting fans in high numbers this year, something that USL president Jake Edwards noted in a letter to fans:
On Wednesday night, the USL surpassed 1.5 million fans in attendance for the regular season, a major landmark that is testament to the relentless passion and loyalty you, the fans, have brought to your respective clubs. With eight weeks remaining in the regular season, we have already surpassed our total attendance for 2016, and remain on target to welcome more than 2 million fans this season, a 34 percent increase over last year, a remarkable achievement by any standard, and a first for Division II soccer in the United States and Canada.
While FC Cincinnati and Sacramento Republic FC have continued to lead the way, averaging five-figure attendances again this season, clubs such as Louisville City FC, Phoenix Rising FC, San Antonio and Rio Grande Valley FC have been instrumental in the league’s continued rise in cumulative attendance. Those teams, and the league’s new additions in the Tampa Bay Rowdies, Reno 1868 FC and Ottawa Fury FC, all sit in the Top 11 in average attendance nationally outside Major League Soccer.
A major part of that has been the investment of our ownership groups in new, soccer-specific venues that have given fans the chance to see the game in a great environment. Venues like the Rio Grande Valley’s H-E-B Park, the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex and Orange County SC’s recently-opened Champions Soccer Stadium, which welcomed a sellout crowd this past Friday night, have helped the USL continue its strong momentum.
Remember to follow attendance numbers all season long on our 2017 USL Attendance page, which provides weekly updates.
Photo courtesy USL and Charlotte Independence.