No World Cup? No problem as soccer attendance continues to soar

The average attendance for 10 pro soccer matches in U.S. Saturday was higher than that of the day's MLB games

A month after the U.S. was eliminated from the World Cup, the country's new-found passion for soccer showed no signs of ebbing, with 10 soccer games drawing a higher average attendance, than 15 major league baseball games on Saturday.

According to Soccer America's Paul Kennedy, the average attendance for 10 professional soccer matches Saturday -- six in Major League Soccer and four in the International Champions Cup tournament -- was 36,317. Saturday's 15 major league baseball games averaged 34,179.

The soccer numbers were helped by the record 109,318 fans who turned out to see Manchester United beat Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup at Michigan Stadium. That was the largest crowd ever for a soccer game in the U.S.

Another Champions Cup game between Liverpool and AC Milan at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte drew 69,364, the largest crowd ever to watch a game in North Carolina. The largest MLS crowd was the 48,765 that turned out to see the San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders christen the 49ers' new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.

Still not impressed?

Well, a day later the Portland Thorns and Houston Dash of the National Women's Soccer League broke the league attendance record when 19,123 showed up at Providence Park in Portland. That was larger than the crowd that turned out in Cleveland to watch the Indians and Texas Rangers and just 800 less than the attendance in Houston where the Astros played the Blue Jays.

All this comes on the heels of the first post-World Cup friendly in the U.S., which drew 86,432 to the Rose Bowl on July 23 to see Manchester United rout the Galaxy, 7-0.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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