Why It Makes Sense
The Rise of Major League Soccer
Attendance averages for MLS are continually rising and in 2011 they surpassed both the NBA and NHL so that MLS now has the 3rd highest average attendance of all American leagues. The intense mega-passion of new markets (exhibits A-D: Toronto, Portland, Seattle, Philadelphia) has shown the appetite for not just soccer fans, but sports fans in general who want more than commercial breaks and prerecorded fight songs. Soccer has been and always will be a sport of fan passion. That passion is intense and communal. Minnesota has a long history of supporting professional soccer and that includes our professional soccer players being actively engaged in the community through sponsoring youth teams and supporting charities.
Can Minnesota Support an MLS Team?
The Twin Cities soccer market has shown over the past 35 years that they will turn out for any major soccer event. The Minnesota Kicks were regularly near the top in per game attendance while in the NASL, averaging over 30,000 for two years, and always in the top half. The Minnesota Strikers, in their one year of outdoor soccer, was second in the NASL in attendance. The Minnesota Thunder, a D-2 team, had three games with attendance of over 10,000 and seven games with attendance of over 9,000. including three D-2 league regular season matches, two friendlies with MLS teams, the A-League Championship match in 1999 and the Copa Minnesota match against the Beckham-led L.A. Galaxy, which drew over 20,000 in 2007. There is nothing that says that Minnesota won’t support an MLS franchise.
They have all the amenities necessary to support any event the MLS chooses to hold here. Hotels, restaurants, media outlets, convention centers, etc. It has a history of hosting major national sporting events. The Twin Cities metropolitan area is a thriving, growing, relatively economically stable (in comparison with any other major metropolitan area) place to market an increasingly more popular sport.
It is the 15th largest Nielsen TV market in the country, a major factor in the setting the value of network TV contracts. According to the way the US census determines metropolitan areas, the Twin Cities area is the 13th most populated metro market in the country with over 3 million people. That’s a lot of people to market MLS merchandise to, as well as potential consumers for the companies who sponsor and advertise with MLS.
Average Attendance at Met Stadium:
Do you know where the MLS National Sales Center is located? That’s right, Minnesota. Read about it here: http://www.sportsnetworker.com/2011/03/23/mls-national-sales-center-inside-look-with-vp-bryant-pfeiffer/