Did the World Cup cause MLS attendance to increase? Not yet

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I wondered if the MLS was experiencing a post-World Cup bounce in attendance. Answer: not yet.

I looked at attendance figures from the 7 games since the World Cup ended and compared them to averages in those stadiums. I found that attendance was down slightly, about 500 fewer people per game…

It’s interesting to look at the two teams that hosted 2 home games – DC and Columbus (CMB). Both teams had higher attendance in the 2nd game since the World Cup. Perhaps there is some lag, and potentially we won’t see the peak of post-World Cup attendance for some time.

Or, it could be visitor draw. If teams hosted lousy opponents, it could be skewing results.

I pulled the average visitor attendance to normalize my comparison. Surprisingly, DC United draws the most fans as the visiting team (despite their 3 measly wins).

I normalized the figures for visitor draw, and found little difference in results. Attendance is down by about 3k fans, or about 400 per game – a slightly smaller gap than before, but still no sign of a post-World Cup bounce.

However, looking at DC and Columbus, the previously observed deltas are now even bigger. Also, the three largest gains (DC, CMH, DAL) are all on last days of the observation period. So perhaps it’s too early. I’ll check in on this again in a month or so to see if the bounce ever materialized.

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