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MLS passes NBA as third most attended sport in USA

Real Salt Lake defender Chris Wingert (17) and Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder David Beckham (23) battle for the ball in the second half in the MLS Western Conference Final game at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California on Nov. 6, 2011. The Galaxy won 3-1. UPI/Lori Shepler.

This is great news for soccer in the United States:

Major League Soccer set a new high-water mark for average attendance this season, as expansion clubs in Portland and Vancouver lived up to preseason expectations for big crowds, and a new stadium and rebranding effort in Kansas City turned around that city’s once-ailing club.

Average attendance for the 18 clubs rose 7.2 percent to 17,872 spectators a game this season, surpassing the league’s previous record of 17,406, which was set during its inaugural season in 1996. The league’s lowest attendance came in 2000 when it averaged just 13,756 fans. Since 2007, its average has consistently stayed between 16,000 and 17,000. The strong showing at the gate brought MLS’s average above the most recent seasons for both the NHL (17,132) and NBA (17,323).

The new cities are making a big impact, and that’s a huge development.

Are American owners good for Premiere League football?

Here’s an interesting article from The Guardian that highlights some different perspectives.

It was not what Arsenal supporters, or indeed any supporters of Premier League clubs, might have expected to hear in Stan Kroenke’s first interview in England. Kroenke, however, made little attempt to sugar the pill. What had the Glazer family, he wondered, done wrong at Manchester United? In his deep Missouri drawl, the largest shareholder at Arsenal made it sound like they had his admiration.

“What was so tough about the Glazers’ situation?” Kroenke said. “They won. And they have increased revenues by a huge amount. If I was a fan of that club, I would sit there and go, ‘Wow.’ Because how could you do it any better? That’s what I would say.”

It was put to Kroenke that United fans were deeply unhappy at how the American owners had taken money out of the club, following their heavily leveraged takeover. “But they still won,” Kroenke said. “We don’t need to get into an exchange here but I don’t know as a fan … how could you do it much better? They have increased massively. Some of their players have taken money out and maybe they haven’t performed.

“We have a whole different philosophy in the States but I think it’s time, maybe, for everybody to think a little bit and, maybe I’m saying too much but I think they ought to think a little bit about who invests in these clubs. What do you want for the long term?

The entire article is worth reading.