Wednesday, March 10, 2010

3/10/2010: Hooray Attendance Smack Talk

Empty seats are the norm in Champions League, not just a Columbus problem.

From Major League Soccer Talk:
That’s what Major League Soccer’s focus needs to be. It needs to create new teams across the country in areas where MLS has no team and where there’s a large soccer fanbase. Otherwise those fans who have no MLS team near them have few reasons why they should watch MLS on TV but plenty more choices to watch games from other leagues and tournaments from around the world.

Take last night, for example. For most 9-5 employees who live on the East Coast of the United States, they would have come home Tuesday with a few choices of games to watch on television. They could have watched Columbus Crew against Toluca in the first leg quarter-final of the CONCACAF Champions League. Or, if they had taped the games, they could have watched Arsenal against Porto or Fiorentina versus Bayern Munich.

Those same decisions of which games to watch Tuesday night would have entered the minds of soccer fans in the Columbus area. Should I go to the game to see the Crew play, or should I stay home instead and watch games on television? The answer was loud and clear last night. The attendance at Crew Stadium was only 4,402 for a very important cup game. Where were the fans? Were they all watching Arsenal against Porto in the comfort of their living rooms?

My thoughts: Let's see I can think of many reasons for the attendance. It's a Tuesday night, it's a cup game that most of America (including Columbus is unaware of), the game is not part of a season ticket package deal, the team markets the game minimally, and for those with other commitments on a Tuesday the game is on TV.

It was fun trying to explain all of this to my Isreali friend I brought to the game with me, who does not have the greatest overall English skills. He is a Bietar Jerusalem fan and he was like where are these hooligans, hooligans where I come from usually have beards, crazy eyes, and have been to prison. I had to spend most of the night explaining differences between American soccer and Isreali soccer to him; one funny thing was that in Isreal, they would never have a stadium like CCS because fans would run on the field all the damn time. "Where are the fences?" he asked. But, even he sort of understood the attendance issue, as he said, "yeah, some Cup games do not get the best attendances all around the world."

But, some people who try to analyze MLS have a greater difficulty understanding and so they keep writing the same tardtastic articles (read as well in the MLS Talk article's comments section about how Kartik Krishnayer thinks Houston pushes the television needle more than Columbus, lol I don't think any MLS team pushes the tv needle more than any other MLS team except a Beckham LA). Anyway, your getting the same sort of crowd on a Tuesday night under the same conditions everywhere except Seattle and Toronto, and maybe a little more fans at Houston (then again they market more). So, I find it amusing that some writers cannot realize that we still live in America and instead expect 15,000-20,000 on a Tuesday night under those conditions.

I would love a crowd like that but under the current conditions it isn't going to happen. And, I would also like these same people to watch the Wednesday night game in Toluca next week. I bet they have a similiar crowd because under these sort of CONCACAF conditions not many fans show up. As very few Mexican teams have good attendances for any CONCACAF Champions League games until the semi-final or final.

The main problem is that the CONCACAF Champions League isn't as popular in the region as the European Champions League is in Europe, and it probably will never be. Also, for most fans (including Toluca's) the Saturday game against Cruz Azul or whoever is more important (or rather more interesting for them) than their Wednesday match up against a MLS team.

1 comment:

  1. id have been there but its kind of hard to get up to cbus from athens on a tuesday night the week before exams as a freshman with no car