NWSL Attendance Watch: Opening Weekend

Weekly attendance watch for NWSL. Opening weekend numbers for 2014 and for comparison, 2013’s numbers.

New Stadiums and Notes

Total opening weekend attendance was up 24.4% from 2013.

2014: 16,531

2013: 13,284

FC Kansas City is playing in a new stadium, Verizon Wireless Field at UMKC’s Durwood Stadium, which has a capacity of 3,200. Last year, the team played at Shawnee Mission District Stadium, which has seating capacity of 6,150. The venue change means a loss of seating but the team gains a soccer-specific stadium, and players and fans will no longer have to contend with a football-lined field. Certainly, home opening attendance was down 54.2% from last year’s opener in a larger stadium, but this year’s attendance (3,107) was near capacity.

Houston Dash opened up additional seating to accommodate more than 8,000 fans in its inaugural match, after selling out the 7,000-seat lower bowl of BBVA Compass Stadium.

Seattle Reign FC moved from Starfire Sports Stadium to Memorial Stadium, with seating capped at 6,000. It’s 2014 home opening attendance (3,021) was up 15.3% from its 2013 home opening attendance (2,618)

Washington Spirit’s 2014 home opening attendance number of 2,306 is down 49.5% from its 2013 number (4,569). Area schools started Spring break over the weekend, which might have contributed to the Spirit’s lower-than-average home game attendance (3,625 in 2013).

The Week Ahead

This weekend, six teams play on Saturday, while Houston and Boston face off on Sunday. It’s Easter weekend so that could be a factor for attendance. Last year, Spring break sessions in several areas and Easter weekend were in March, two weeks before the start of the NWSL season.

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Head to Head

Attendance numbers in the teams’ first head-to-head meeting. Dash versus Thorns got off to a promising start number-wise and the second meeting, also in Houston, as well as the third and final meeting of the regular season in Portland could yield even higher numbers.

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