This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Soccer Beating Baseball to Ticket-Buyers

Like their Pacific Northwest rivals, the Sounders' NASL tradition (1974-83) and longstanding lower-level rivalries gave the club a bit of a head start when it joined MLS in 2009. That was no guarantee that they'd be more popular than their next-door neighbor at Safeco Field, but baseball's Mariners are bringing in nearly 15,000 fewer fans per game than the Sounders. Considering neither the Sounders, Whitecaps or Timbers were in the league three years ago, MLS' Northwest-navigated attendance boost seems well overdue.

"The passionate fan base has always been there, but in some cases it was the stadium or an ownership group," Courtemanche says of the teams, which count Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report)-founder and Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen, former Yahoo! (YHOO - Get Report) Chief Operating Officer Jeff Mallett, Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash and Price Is Right host Drew Carey among their owners. Qwest Field in Seattle, now CenterLink Field, wasn't built until the late 1990s and Jeld-Wen park, formerly Civic Stadium, was more of a baseball facility and underwent a $35 million renovation to host a Major League Soccer team, he says.

It's only fair to note that the Mariners and other major league baseball teams play 162 games per season compared with 34 for Major League Soccer. That said, the Sounders would have the ninth-highest attendance in baseball if they managed the same average in the majors.

It's no small feat for a league that contracted its counterparts to baseball's Marlins and Rays -- the Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny -- in 2001, had no television contract and shrunk to 10 teams playing mostly in outsized football stadiums. Today, the league has 18 teams; television deals with ESPN (DIS), Fox Soccer (NWS) and Univision; and a fan base that's growing in all the right demographics.

Roughly a third of MLS fans are Hispanic, Courtemanche says, and are increasingly drawn to the league as it brings in stars from 60 countries -- including New York defender and Mexican national team captain Rafael Marquez, 19-year-old Colombian forward for FC Dallas Fabian Castillo and his countryman and Seattle Sounders striker Fredy Montero, who's given Seattle a lot to cheer about lately. It also benefits from a coveted 18-to-24-year-old fan demographic that's a lot more familiar with Major League Soccer than the generation before.
3 of 4

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
MSFT $49.94 0.14%
TM $101.27 0.65%
YHOO $36.94 2.61%
YUM $80.84 0.24%
AAPL $93.24 -0.41%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,660.71 +9.45 0.05%
S&P 500 2,050.63 -0.49 -0.02%
NASDAQ 4,717.0940 -8.5450 -0.18%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs