billsportsmaps.com

August 29, 2015

USA/Canada soccer attendance map for 2014 – MLS, NASL (II), USL-Pro: all pro soccer teams in the USA & Canada in 2014 (43 teams)/ With an editorial on the mendacity of Major League Soccer.

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USA/Canada soccer attendance map for 2014 – MLS, NASL (II), USL-Pro: all pro soccer teams in USA & Canada in 2014 (43 teams)



    USA/Canada soccer attendance map for 2014 – MLS, NASL (II), USL-Pro: all professional soccer teams in the USA & Canada in 2014 (41 teams within the three pro leagues)./ With an editorial on the mendacity of Major League Soccer

By Bill Turianski on 29 August 2015; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.com.

Sources of attendance figures:
MLS, businessofsoccer.com/2014/10/29/2014-mls-attendance-review-a-look-ahead-to-2015 (businessofsoccer.com).
NASL and USL-Pro, 2014 Lower Division Attendances (dohertysoccer.com).

2014 North American pro soccer leagues’ cumulative attendance figures…
The 1st division: 2014 MLS, league average attendance (19 teams): 19,148.
The “2nd division”: 2014 NASL (II), league average attendance (10 teams): 5,501.
The “3rd division”: 2014 USL-Pro, league average attendance (14 teams): 3,114.

Highest-drawing team in USA & Canada…
Seattle Sounders (III): 43,734 per game (at 65.2 percent-capacity in the 67,000-capacity Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington state). Seattle’s crowds were biggest in MLS by a very considerable margin of more than 21 thousand (!) (the second-best attendance in MLS in 2014 was Toronto FC, at 22,068 per game).

Teams which played to 100-percent-capacity…
Sporting Kansas City.
Toronto FC.
Portland Timbers (IV).
Real Salt Lake.
Sacramento Republic [a brand-new USL-Pro team).
...

Elements of the map page
The map includes...
1). all 19 teams from the 2014 MLS (one of which, Chivas USA, is now defunct);
2). all 10 teams from the 2014 Spring & Fall seasons of the NASL (II); and
3). all 14 teams from the 2014 USL-Pro (two of which, Charlotte Eagles and Dayton Dutch Lions, have opted to turn amateur and join the USL-PDL, a development league that is the de-facto 4th division in USA and Canada).

On the map, team logos and team-colors-circles are sized to reflect attendance - the larger the logo-and-circle, the higher the attendance. I tried to have the circles on the map be composed of the colors each teams wore in 2014 (as opposed to simply the colors in each teams' logo).

On the map I also put in the locations of the two new expansion franchises of MLS for 2015 - New York City FC and Orlando City SC (II). [Orlando SC (II) replaces Orlando SC (I) of NASL (II), who dissolved to make way for the new franchise in MLS, under basically the same ownership (that is how "promotion" often works in the first division of American and Canadian association football, which is otherwise a closed shop)].

The chart at the far right-hand-side of the map page shows the following for each team on the map…2014 average attendance, stadium seating capacity, percent-capacity (which is average attendance divided by stadium capacity), year of establishment [first year the team played], total seasons played [to 2014], MLS Cup titles with last title listed (for the MLS teams only, of course), US Open titles with last title listed (for the USA-based teams only).

    Major League Soccer is a cartel that refuses to abide by rules of free trade and will keep the USA (and Canada) as soccer backwaters

Germany-born Jermaine Jones had a great World Cup for the US Men’s National Team in June 2014. The now-33-year-old Jones had had a successful career in the top flight in Germany (with Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen, and Schalke), in England (with then 1st-division-side Blackburn Rovers), and in Turkey (with Istanbul giants Beşiktaş). A few weeks after the 2014 World Cup, Jones expressed his desire to return to America (where he grew up), and to play professionally in the USA. The transfer of Jermaine Jones from the Turkish Süper Lig to Major League Soccer was handled this way… 1). As reported by the Washington Post, Jones wanted to play for the Chicago Fire, because that is where some of his roots are. 2). Major League Soccer said he could only play for either Chicago or New England. 3). A “blind draw” saw him chosen to play for New England. By the way, Sunil Gulati, president of the US Soccer Federation (which runs the USMNT), at that point in time (late summer of 2014) served as the president of Kraft Soccer Properties, tying him closely in a financial sense to the New England Revolution’s “owner”/operator, Robert Kraft. The New England Revolution are a team which draws somewhat poorly (15th out of 19 teams in 2014, at 16.6 K-per-game/ which is lame) and are in a bad stadium situation (playing to about 50,000 empty seats each home game at the NFL’s New England Patriots’ stadium, which is 20 miles outside of Boston).

So…let’s review…someone who is head of the US Soccer Federation (Gulati), but also worked then for some guy (Kraft), helped to send the best US player in the 2014 World Cup to that guy’s team – a team with no titles and a lame stadium situation. A team that needed some propping up. How rigged. How anti-competitive. How fixed. Why could Jones, a free agent, only play for two teams? And isn’t it such a coincidence that Jones ends up on the New England Revolution, a team run by Kraft, a man who employed the head of the US Soccer Federation in the capacity of the President of Kraft Soccer Properties? That goes beyond conflict of interest – this maneuvering goes way beyond that, into the realm of unethical behavior. What rule book did that come out of? This is what Deadspin writer Barry Petchesky had to say about that… {excerpt}…”It’s a function of MLS’s “single-entity” structure: the clubs aren’t independently owned, but are operated by league stakeholders. You’ve basically got a single corporate overlord deciding where in-demand players go, without the players themselves getting to choose. It’s absolutely absurd that this is how America’s top-flight league handles the acquiring of a top talent…” {end of excerpt at the deadspin.com article MLS Used A Blind Draw To Decide Where Jermaine Jones Will Play, from July 25 2014).

From World Soccer Talk.com, from Aug. 26 2014, by Robert Hay, MLS Again Creates New Rule to Appease Owners.

Note: the following bullet-points below were adapted from this article by Alex White, Major League Soccer: Deciphering the Single Entity (from otfsoccer.com from Feb. 9 2014).
Single-entity ownership in MLS means…
• All MLS players are employed by the league itself, not the soccer teams (franchises). MLS players do not work for the team that they play for – they work for the league itself.
• The league retains all intellectual property and negotiating rights, but employs “operators” to manage the franchises; these operators are misleadingly called “owners”, rather than what they really are: cronies in like Flynn.
• Individual franchises control player personnel within the organization (including trades to other MLS franchises), but are under a salary cap (currently at around $3.10 million).
• There is no collective bargaining and judges have upheld this (citing MLB’s and the NFL’s exemptions from certain labor laws).
• The minimum salary is set at an extremely low $36,500; this forces many MLS players to seek a second job to stay financially afloat.
• Ticket revenue goes to the league, with a percentage given back to the “owner/operators” (cronies). Therefore, bad-drawing franchises are rewarded, and good-drawing franchises are unfairly punished. Teams do not get to keep all the ticket revenue they earned, so where is the incentive to improve their product and attract larger crowds?
• “Owner”/operators (cronies) sit on MLS’s board and committees and collectively make league-wide decisions.

This is a major league? Major Leagues don’t consist of teams with all the players on all the different teams in the whole league getting their paychecks from a SINGLE SOURCE. That is by definition NOT A COMPETITION. Major League Soccer, with its single entity ownership format, is a closed-shop cartel (a monopoly) that refuses to follow the tenets of a competitive pro sports league, let alone follow the rules of capitalism (via restraint of trade by quasi-monopolization of the labor-pool of skilled workers [yes, they Union-bust]).

MLS is run by some rich and connected suits who have fixed the league. Fixed it so they don’t really have to compete with the rest of the world with respect to finding the highest caliber of player. Fixed it so teams that can’t draw well stay afloat when they deserve to go under – by pooling all ticket revenue. Fixed it so the cronies who pretend they are owners never have to compete with other pro and semi-pro teams for a place in the top division – like the rest of the world does (except in Australia). MLS is a retirement home for European club stars. MLS has restrained the labor trade so much that salaries are so low that many first team players must have other jobs (like semi-pro players in the 6th division in England have to do to make ends meet). MLS will always be second-rate because they have cornered a market without having to play by the rules of capitalism…thanks to the cronies who pretend to be owners who get away without having to compete with the rest of the association football world.

Call me a Euro-snob if you must. What I really am is someone who enjoys following competitive sports leagues. Which is something that MLS will never be under its single entity ownership format. Apologists for MLS say the single-entity-ownership and no promotion/relegation-format was and still is the only way pro soccer on a major-league-level could survive in the still-soccer-indifferent USA (and Canada)…by keeping salaries down and manufacturing competition, and making sure the “owners” teams never have to compete for a spot in the top flight like the rest of the world does (except in Australia). Outside of a few “franchise players”, many players are making near the minimum wage of $36.5 K a year. Nobody ever has to really scrape and battle because half of the teams make the playoffs and no one ever gets relegated and you can even be so bad and disliked that you can only be drawing 6 or 7 thousand a game and you will be safe for years (like Chivas USA was). The players are not under contract to the teams they play for, but to MLS itself. Think about that. And if you think that MLS produces an acceptable level of player-skill in its on-field product, then how come an MLS team has not won a CONCACAF Champions League title in 14 years? {See last paragraph further below for more on that.}

MLS teams have no incentive to try to draw larger crowds – because MLS teams must pool all ticket-revenue (and get 1/20th of their hard-earned ticket revenue back)…
Meanwhile, according to MLS rules, a successfully-drawing MLS franchise (Seattle Sounders) must share their ticket-revenue with the rest of the franchises. There is no reward for drawing well in MLS – you send all your gate receipts to the league and you only get back a share. So the ability to draw good crowds is not rewarded, and thus incompetent teams catch a break (proof of that can be seen in the abysmally-drawing Chivas USA, who in a regular league format [with individually-owned franchises], would have folded several years ago, not just in 2014). The Seattle Sounders (III) are drawing twice what pretty much the rest of the teams are drawing (at 43.7 K per game; second-best draw in 2014 was Toronto, at 22.0 K). In a level-playing-field league, where every team gets to keep what it earned from the ticket-paying public, you should be starting to see the Sounders (est. 2009) beginning to turn that awesome drawing-power into being successful enough to start racking up the titles (you know, like how all the big clubs in Europe do, where drawing power equals financial clout, which equals the ability to hire a better class of players). The Sounders have only won the Supporters Shield once, in 2014 (the Supporters Shield “title” is for best regular season record, which is meaningless, because, you know, there are playoffs in MLS).

And if the fear of relegation killing off relegated franchises is such a big issue, then I submit to the anti promotion/relegation ideologue this salient point…if your team can’t survive a year or two having to play in the second division, where – horrors – you must play against teams from places like Greater Raleigh, NC or Rochester, NY, then do you really think your team deserves to exist as a quasi-major league team? Because your team is being propped up by a closed-shop oligarchy that exists nowhere else and goes against the 125-year-old established protocols of professional association football and the multiple-centuries-old tenets of a free-trade society. And who says the second division has to be continental? Make it two leagues in the 2nd division – with the eastern-most teams in one 2nd-division league and the western-most teams in the other 2nd-division league (like they do in the third tier in Spain and in the fourth tier in Germany and in the sixth tier in England). And have a promotion playoff like they do in England, Spain, and Italy ( among many other countries with similar set-ups).

Proposed MLS/2nd division Promotion/Relegation system…
Proposed changes to 2nd and 3rd divisions in USA/Canada… the 2nd division in USA/Canada would be comprised of all NASL teams + all USL-Pro teams, combined into a geographically split ~36-to-40-team-sized two-league-second-tier {ie, 18-to-20 teams in a Western 2nd Division and 18-to-20 teams in an Eastern 2nd Division}).

Proposed changes to MLS… no change to MLS league structure except…A). The last-place finishers in each of the two MLS Conferences would get sent to face off in the MLS Relegation Match (with game to be played at the site of the team with the better head-to-head record in MLS that season). B) Winner of the MLS Relegation Match stays up, and the loser is automatically relegated out of MLS and into the 2nd division for the following season. C). The second division would send its 2 champions to the MLS Promotion Playoffs. D). The 2 second-division champions would face off in a two-legged match-up for the 2nd division title. E) Winner of the MLS Promotion Playoffs would be automatically promoted and would gain the right to play in MLS the following season.

Cost-cutting measures to mitigate the penalty of relegation…By splitting the 2nd division in USA/Canada into two separate league on the same Level, travel costs would be significantly reduced. Each new season, the second division would be sorted so that the Western-second-division-league (a separate league in itself, much like the 2 league/6th Level in England) has all the western-most teams in it; and the Eastern-second-division-league has all the eastern-most teams in it. Finally, many-millions-dollars-large parachute payments would be paid out to the team relegated out of Major League Soccer (just like they do in England, with regards to just-relegated Premier League clubs).

Here is an article from January 16 2014, by Billy Hailsey at Deadspin, which points out the inherent stacked-deck that non-MLS pro soccer teams face in the US, How U.S. Soccer Ensures The Fort Lauderdale Strikers Never Get A Chance. In the article, Hailsey points out this…{excerpt}…”The likelihood of the Strikers making much noise outside the orphaned second-tier league that is NASL is small, and will be smaller still if a group of owners headlined by David Beckham successfully bring an MLS team to Miami. This is the real shame of America’s lack of promotion and relegation. That system allows ambitious owners to buy up lower division clubs for not too much money, invest in them in ways they believe will bring sporting success, and potentially, reach the pinnacle of the pyramid. It allows for innovation, like the Strikers’ plans for international fame or the New York Cosmos’ announced strategy of bringing in good players from abroad but mainly focusing on finding and developing the best youth talent. But without the possibility of promotion, there’s a ceiling on the return on these clubs’ investments, and in turn the number of clubs with the ability to improve the game as a whole. In the other direction, the lack of relegation protects MLS franchises like the Red Bulls—whose new owners are dropping costs like Ronaldo needs to drop pounds—or the (possibly) pending Miami team from any real risks of competition. The status quo benefits the bulk of MLS owners happy with low costs, low risks, and an appreciating asset, but hamstrings nearly everyone else.”…{end of excerpt}.

-MLS is shutting itself out of smaller-city markets by refusing to adapt promotion/relegation like the rest of the association football world…
-MLS gives franchises to cities that don’t support soccer very well (like with Orlando & soon with Atlanta & Miami), and ignores cities that have done so and drawn over 10 K (like Rochester, Sacramento, & Indianapolis)…
And meanwhile, two American pro soccer teams in the minor leagues just shot up out of nowhere in 2014 and drew 10.4 thousand and 11.2 thousand per game respectively, both in inadequate stadiums. Those two teams are the Indy Eleven and the Sacramento Republic. But will they get a shot at being a major league team? Doubtful, because both are not from the sort of glamorous locales that Garber and Company favor. And meanwhile a 5-year-old franchise from a glamorous part of the country (Orlando City), that never drew above 8 thousand per game (in a giant and modern stadium), is getting a place in the MLS. Did Orlando City earn it? They certainly didn’t earn it by gate figures. And meanwhile, Miami, that uber-galmorous city full of probably the worst sports fans in the Western Hemisphere… a city that failed spectacularly at pro soccer – twice – will soon get another shot at a place in MLS (the Miami David-Beckhams). Because in MLS, it’s not what your team does on the field and at the turnstile that counts…its where your zip code is and its who you know that counts. MLS: the opposite of a meritocracy.

[Note: UK population data in the following four paragraphs is from the following, List of urban areas in the United Kingdom (en.wikipedia.org).]
If you are a soccer fan in a city in the USA or Canada that has a pro soccer team…but will never be granted an MLS franchise (such as my home town of Rochester, NY), what actual reason do you have to follow Major League Soccer? Because to the Rochester, NY soccer fan, MLS is just a walled-off city of elites. A walled-off city of elites which mid-sized-city-rabble (like us Rochester, NY-based soccer fans) are never allowed to partake in. Because we come from a city that is not big enough or glamorous enough to make the cut. Hey MLS, have you ever heard of Blackburn, Lancashire? Well, not only was this city (currently the 56th-largest city in United Kingdom) of around only 105,000 inhabitants in Northwest England allowed to play in the English First Division, the local club there were a founding member of the Football League in 1888, and Blackburn Rovers FC have won three national titles, the last of which was won relatively recently in 1994-95. Now, granted, Blackburn are currently stuck in the second division, but you know what? A mere three years before Blackburn Rovers shocked the newly-minted Premier League in 1994-95 and won the title, they were (circa the late 1980s and early 1990s) a second-division team. But they got promoted back to the top flight, got even better, and three seasons after being a second division club the Blackburn Rovers won the national title. A town of less than 125,000 people was the home of the champions. In the modern age, the Blackburn Rovers could only ever exist as a first-division-team because of promotion/relegation. It would be like Binghamton or Utica, New York having a team in the first division. Does this hurt soccer (association football) in England? Not in the slightest. It only makes it stronger. Do association football clubs go out of business in England because they have been recently relegated? Not in the first or second or third or fourth division. Maybe in the fifth or sixth division (like Halifax or Aldershot or Newport County). And anyway, virtually every 5th-or-6th-divison football club in England that has ever went belly-up has been replaced, by its supporters, with a Phoenix-club (like Halifax and Aldershot and Newport County), which has begun a climb back up the leagues ladder.

And here is another thing that MLS-with-no-promotion/relegation apologists need to consider…you say a national second division in a country as big as the USA would irreparably hurt relegated teams because of the huge travel costs? Well how come my hometown team the Rochester Rhinos has managed to stay afloat since their formation in 1996, despite having to play away games these last 20 years in every time zone in the Continental USA and Canada? We are talking about having to fulfill a fixtures list that has included trips to places as far-flung as Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Yet the not-so-well-drawing Rochester Rhinos are still chugging along.

Rochester, NY, with the Rochester Rhinos, was pulling 11 K, as a second-division soccer team (in 1999 and 2000 and 2001), in an inadequate 12.5 K minor league baseball ballpark back when MLS league-average was only about 3.5 K higher…and MLS said “fuck off, Rochester, you can’t be in our cartel because Rochester is not glamorous and we would be embarrassed if your uncool city would ever be associated with us”. That is what happened. Don’t bother trying to obfuscate that fact, MLS apologists. Rochester was drawing higher than any other city without an MLS team, back in 2000, and MLS said Rochester could go fuck themselves, whether they (we) built a new soccer-specific stadium (which we did), or not.

And here is a little history lesson for you ill-informed MLS apologists…In the late 1970s, the Rochester Lancers of the old NASL drew better than NASL teams back then from (the much-larger cities of) Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Houston, and Atlanta. (The Rochester Lancers drew 7-to-8.6 K per game circa 1978 and 1979/ for a look at crowd-sizes in the old NASL, see my NASL 1979 attendance map, here.)

The Rochester Rhinos were drawing over 11.4 K per game in a minor league baseball stadium in the late 1990s up to 2000 (and became the only non-MLS team to ever win the US Open Cup in 1999) (Rochester Rhinos’ attendances, here.) But the Rhinos can’t even draw over 6 K these days – mainly because around 10 or 12 years ago, so many Rochester, NY-based soccer fans (like me) realized that the Rochester Rhinos would never be allowed to play in Major League Soccer (as long as Garber and his cronies run the show), and thus lost interest in attending games for a team that is literally not allowed to advance. But regardless, the Rochester Rhinos these days only draw 5.8 K per game, and yet they can still afford to travel the length and breadth of the US and Canada to fulfill their schedule requirements. So I am quite sure a theoretically-relegated MLS team could afford to slum it in Rochester, NY in order to fulfill their theoretical-second-division schedule-requirements.

Currently (2015), a huge city like Leeds, West Yorkshire (which is the fourth largest city in the United Kingdom) does not have a team in the 20-team English first division. But meanwhile, tiny Swansea, Wales (which only has a population of around 300,000 in its metro-area, and is about the 27th-largest city in the UK) does currently have a first division team. The 20-percent-supporter-owned entity that is Swansea City AFC is there, in 2015, in the top flight of the most successful association football league in the world (the Premier League) because of real community support and because of hard work and dedication. And that in a nutshell is the simple and powerful beauty of the promotion/relegation system. Not only are the most-competent rewarded (like in the rest of the business world), and not only are the Davids given the chance to compete with the Goliaths, but the Davids can actually beat the Goliaths (such as the fact that Swansea City swept Manchester United and Arsenal last season [2014-15], and such as the fact that Swansea won the League Cup title in 2013 and played in Europe in 2013-14).


Here is a remark from a reddit.com-commenter {from this post on how poorly MLS’ television ratings are}…
“The fact is that the MLS product is simply not attractive to watch on TV compared to its soccer competition. Liga MX, EPL, UCL, etc., those not only have far better quality, but the competition is engaging and meaningful, and the clubs are independent and authentic. The clubs that are on have been vetted by history and competition.

MLS has to compete with that when it comes to the soccer product. It sucks, but it’s the reality.

So then, what does MLS do to try to compete? It makes its teams hit-or-miss branded franchises all owned by one single entity, it implements restrictive salary and roster rules to cut costs, it has no promotion and relegation to provide real competition/consequences and potentially bring in new markets and/or investment every year, it doesn’t compensate local youth clubs for producing top-level talent, etc. MLS does all of these things that negatively affect the quality of a product that’s already far behind its competition in many areas, all in the name of protecting MLS ownership’s investment.

I, personally, have an incredibly hard time giving a fuck about protecting the profitability of a bunch of zillionaire’s investments. I have a hard time not thinking about all of the other things I consume every day where I don’t think twice about whether the people that bankrolled it are losing money or not. And yet many of us MLS fans look at MLS ownership as saviors for “taking a chance” on the domestic game for us. We talk to people that object to MLS policy about how “its not our money at stake”, and shoot down ways that might force MLS owners to spend competitively because we are terrified we’ll scare them off. Like, what other product do we do this with?” (comment by YOULOVETHESOUNDERS).

You MLS-apologists have been brainwashed by rich people and corporations.
You MLS apologists keep on defending this corrupt anti-trust violating cartel, designed specifically to screw players over and keep their salaries artificially low for the benefit of entitled rich oligarchs. As the lawyer Elizabeth Cotignola says in the recently published article Major League Loophole: A look at MLS’s shaky single-entity status …{excerpt}…”As negotiations over the new collective bargaining agreement reach the tipping point in the month or so before the 2015 MLS season is scheduled to kick off, the league once again finds itself at a crossroads. According to a recent study conducted by the Daily Mail, the league’s average salary currently falls behind that of obscure leagues in China, Austria and Ukraine and even, in some cases, leagues that aren’t their nation’s top flight. Couple that with the league’s ludicrously convoluted rules regarding player movement and the arbitrary, less-than-transparent way they are enforced, and it is painfully obvious why Major League Soccer lags behind Europe’s “Big Four” leagues (or even the world’s top 20). In today’s globalized game, no one with options will opt to ply their trade in an arrangement that alarmingly resembles a legally sanctioned form of indentured servitude (for all but the select few that form the league’s elite, that is).”…{end of excerpt from http://www.soccerwire.com/news/pro/mls/major-league-loophole-a-look-at-mlss-shaky-single-entity-status/ by Elizabeth Cotignola from January 15, 2015}.

As commenter niton said at the MLS sub-reddit…”Single entity is one of those necessary evils that while serving a critical function for many years will eventually come to be a curse. You’ve essentially got a structure which prioritizes the league business over everything else. That’s great while the league needs protection due to the lack of fans, money and attention which also serve as natural checks to greed. But as the sport grows and MLS’ clout grows with it, it’s going to allow the league to do a whole lot of things that the fans don’t like and which aren’t in the best interest of US soccer as a whole but which make the owners tons and tons of money. We’re not there yet but I’m seeing the early warning signs. Monopolies hurt the consumer and for all the legal technicalities that can be argued around the label, we have one in MLS.”…{comment from the thread The real reason MLS owners won’t budge — single entity at reddit.com/r/MLS.}

MLS holds back the game in the USA and Canada…
Major League Soccer, where the Seattle Sounders organization has to give away the lion’s share of the gate revenue that THEY earned. Major League Soccer, which does not reward drawing power and protects incompetence by pooling ticket revenue. Major League Soccer, where every player on every team gets his paycheck from the same office in NYC. Major League Soccer, which conspires to keep salaries down for its peon-workers, and tells its stars where they will play. Major League Soccer, which uses the closed-shop-oligarchy as its business model, in direct violation of established tenets of a free-trade society. That’s not a major league – that’s an exhibition pretending to be a competitive league. That’s ridiculous. That’s corrupt. It is an example of a cartel. It is an example of restraint of trade. Major League Soccer, with its single-entity ownership system, will always make the US and Canada world football backwaters.

Proof that Major League Soccer literally sucks: none of their teams have won the CONCACAF Champions League in 14 years…
Just two CONCACAF Champions League titles have been won by a Major League Soccer team in all the 18 seasons that Major League Soccer has had teams compete for that title. MLS was formed in 1996, and first had teams compete in the CONCACAF CL in 1997…and, Major League Soccer teams’ only titles won in the most prestigious competition in soccer in North America were…the 1998 CONCACAF CL title won by the DC United; and the 2000 CONCACAF CL title won by the LA Galaxy. That is it. MLS is just 2 for 18 in CONCACAF CL titles, and has won no CONCACAF CL titles since 2000. Mexican teams usually win it these days, while a few Costa Rican teams have also won it recently. Hey MLS, all you have had to do is beat some Mexican and Costa Rican clubs to win that title, and you can only do that 11 percent of the time, and not even once in the last 14 years ! Pathetic.

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Thanks to Brendan Doherty for tirelessly tabulating lower-division attendances (no one else [that I know of] does), at Doherty Soccer – Not just another American soccer blog.
Thanks to Scott Phillips at MLS, 2014 MLS Attendance Review & A Look Ahead to 2014.
Thanks to NuclearVacuum for the blank map of North America, File:BlankMap-North America-Subdivisions.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
Thanks to the contributors at en.wikipedia.org, Major League Soccer
; North American Soccer League [(II)];
USL-Pro.

August 21, 2015

Germany: 2015-16 Bundesliga location-map, with: 14/15 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed.

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Germany — admin @ 12:53 pm

Please note:
My latest Bundesliga map-&-post can be found here, category: Germany.]

bundesliga_2015-16_map_clubs-2014-15-attendance_clubs-1st-div-seasons_titles_post_i_.gif
Germany: 2015-16 Bundesliga location-map, with: 14/15 attendance data, seasons-in-1st-division-by-club & major titles listed




Links…
-Teams, etc…2015–16 Bundesliga (en.wikipedia.org).
-English-speaking Bundesliga coverage: News, fixtures, results, table, etc…bundesligafanatic.com.
-Official site of the Bundesliga in English (offizielle webseite der Bundesliga)…bundesliga.com/en/.
-Table, fixtures, results, stats, etc…Bundesliga (soccerway.com/national/germany/bundesliga).

By Bill Turianski on 20 August 2015; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.com.
For this map-&-chart, I have continued using the new template from my 2015-16 English football maps {such on my 15/16 Premier League post}. On the map, I have included the 6 largest cities in Germany (all cities above 600K in the city-population: Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart) {source: here}. Also included are the 9 largest metro-areas in Germany (all metro-areas above 3.0 million population) {source, see last sentence at the foot of this post}. German states and the 3 city-states (Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen) are listed on the map, as well. This season, as usual, the state of North Rhine Westphalia, home to the sprawling Rhine-Ruhr mega-city, has the most Bundesliga clubs – 5 (Dortmund, Schalke, Köln, Mönchengladbach, Leverkusen).

The two promoted sides are very small, with little or no previous Bundesliga experience. Darmstadt, who have now won back-to-back promotions, are located in southern Hesse state nearby to Frankfurt; the club had previously managed only two seasons in the Bundesliga (1978–79 and 1981–82). Darmstadt’s spartan stadium has a 17 K-capacity (reduced-capacity for safety reasons), and Darmstadt drew 14.1 K in 2014-15. Ingolstadt, from central Bavaria (about halfway between Munich and Nuremburg), are making their Bundesliga debut. Ingolstadt has a 15 K-capacity stadium, and drew 9.8 K last season.
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Thanks to all at the links below…
-Blank map of Germany by NordNordWest, File:Germany location map.svg (en.wikipedia.org).
-Attendances from E-F-S site, european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.
-2014-15 stadium capacities (for league matches) from Fußball-Bundesliga 2014/15 (de.wikipedia.org).
-Titles and seasons-in-1st-division data from Bundesliga (en.wikipedia.org).
-Metropolitan regions in Germany (en.wikipedia.org).

August 7, 2015

England: Premier League [1st division], 2015-16 location-map with: 14/15 attendances, all-time seasons in 1st division + major titles listed./ Plus, a few words about each of the 3 sides promoted for 15/16 (Bournemouth, Watford, Norwich City).

Note: to see my latest map-&-post of Premier League, click on the following, category: Eng>Premier League (Eng. 1st division). Otherwise, if you really do want to see an out-dated map. scroll down.
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http://billsportsmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/2015-16_premier-league_post_d_.gif
England: Premier League [1st division], location-map with 14/15 attendances, all-time seasons in 1st division + major titles listed




Links…
-Teams, etc…2015–16 Premier League (en.wikipedia.org).
-News, fixtures, results, table, etc…Premier League page at BBC.
-My favorite site for articles on the Premier League, etc…The Guardian.com/football (theguardian.com/football).
-Table, fixtures, results, stats, etc…soccerway.com/national/england/premier-league.
-Kits…Barclays Premier League 2015 – 2016 [home, away & alternate kits] (historicalkits.co.uk).

    England: Premier League [the first division], location-map with 14/15 attendances, all-time seasons in 1st division + major titles listed…

By Bill Turianski on 7 August 2015; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.com.

Promoted from the League Championship for 2015-16…

-AFC Bournemouth (aka the Cherries) – This is the top-flight-debut-season for the cherry-red-&-black-striped Cherries, who hail from the south coast of England in Dorset. Bournemouth is about 40 km (or 25 mi) SW of Southampton. It might surprise you to know that Bournemouth is actually the 16th-largest city (metro area) in the United Kingdom {see this} [Bournemoth/Poole built up area has a population of around 466,000]. Bournemouth, with only an 11.7 K-capacity ground (Dean Court), and a ~10-K-sized fan base, are certainly one of the smallest-ever Premier League clubs (ie, since the formation of the Premier League in 1992-93/ other contenders would be Wimbledon FC, Oldham Athletic, Swindon Town, and Blackpool).
{Sources for last sentence: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Premier_League_clubs;
european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm}.

Bournemouth were almost liquidated in Feb. 2008, when the then-fourth-division club were stuck with around £4 million in debts…and after the automatic 17 points penalty they were handed, they narrowly avoided relegation out of the Football League the following season (in 2008-09). So…from the brink of banishment from the League in May 2009, to three promotions in the next six seasons incl. a Premier League debut in August 2015. Holy Cow.

Bournemouth are majority-owned (since 2011) by Russian petro-chemical-mini-oligarch Maxim Denim (cash-wise he’s probably one-twentieth, or less, as rich as Roman Abramovich [the Chelski owner]; Denim can also be compared to Abramovich in that both are discreet and publicity-shy in their ownership roles).

Bournemouth are managed by the up-and-coming 37-year-old, Eddie Howe, who played for Portsmouth and for Bournemoth as a DF, before the injuries mounted up. And so, as a 27-year-old, he retired from the pitch – which led to his decision to acquire his coaching badges. Howe was first hired as Bournemouth manager in January 2009, when he was only 32. Bournemouth under Howe won promotion to League One in 2009-10. A half-season later in Jan. 2011, he left to manage Burnley, to lukewarm effect over a 2.7 season-spell. And then in Oct. 2012, Howe simply resigned from his manager’s role at Burnley, and immediately returned to his manager’s role at Bournemouth. He then led the Cherries to promotion to the Championship that season (2012-13), and, two seasons later, he led the Cherries to promotion to the Premier League. Howe likes his squad to move the ball around on the ground and constantly press for scoring chances – and they scored a League Championship-best 98 goals last season. Bournemouth could be shaping up to be a real neutral’s favorite for 2015-16.

-Watford FC (aka the Hornets) – This [2015-16] will be the 9th season in the top flight for Watford (last in 2006-07). The club usually draws around 13-16 K when in the second division, and are situated just outside of, and north-west of, the official boundaries of Greater London, in Hertfordshire. But the town of Watford’s real connection to London is apparent in the fact that one of the London tube [subway] lines reaches Watford. Watford FC are nicknamed the Hornets, but their crest features a domestic breed of deer with huge antlers (a hart; which is a reference to the club’s home county of Herts). Watford’s kit is yellow jerseys and usually black pants (and their gear usually has some red trim). Watford FC is rock legend Elton John’s club – he is lifetime President (a role he shares with former Watford manager and England coach Graham Taylor), and which is a title he has earned, for sure, by bailing out the club more than once, via solid cash, or via the odd benefit rock concert at the club’s Vicarage Road ground (present capacity 21 K).

Watford are now one of the 3 homes of the Italian experiment…see this, How the Pozzo family have fueled Watford’s Premier League dreams (theguardian.com/football by Simon Burnton from 3 Aug. 2015). Not sure if I am rooting for their business model, which involves a cartel-style approach with respect to farming a giant in-house roster amongst their 3 top flight clubs (the Pozzos also own Udinese Calcio [a top flight Italian club] and Granada CF [a top flight Spanish club]). As a commenter said in the Guardian article linked to above, “hmm its at least dubious to ‘acquire’ players without any fee, who no other club has access to. sounds like a form of cheating to me. certainly don’t see how it benefits other clubs.” (< comment by ID9782772.) Another thing bothersome about how Watford currently does business is that they shed managers like crazy...since the Pozzos took over the club in the summer of 2012, seven different people have managed the club (that is an average of 2.3 managers per season). And they had FOUR managers last season. The current person in charge (for now) is the Spaniard Quique Flores.

-Norwich City FC (aka the Canaries) – (2015-16 will be Norwich City’s 25th season in the first division; their highest finish was third place in 1992-93.) It is always good to see the Canaries back in the Premier League…this time they bounced straight back after winning the 2014-15 Football League Championship Play-off Final at Wembley, in front of 85.6 K, besting Middlesbrough 2-0, with goals from MF Cam Jerome in the 12th minute, and from Winger Nathan Redmond 3 minutes later (15′). Both Jerome and Redmond return for Norwich this season. This is one serious yo-yo club: Norwich City have won three promotions to the Premier League in the last 12 years (since 2002-03), a time-period which also included a one-season stint in the third tier in 2009-10 (where their solid ~24-to-26-K crowd-size did not drop at all…the club averaged 24,671 per game at home when they were in the third division, which, believe it or not, was the 19th best in all Leagues in all of England and Wales that season / fair play Norwich City fans).

The club is from the city which is the smallest perennial top flight city in England – Greater Norwich only has a population of around 213,000, and is just the 36th-largest city (metro-area) in the UK. And, for the longest time, Norwich was the largest settlement in the UK which was not connected to a major roadway…hence the club was sometimes mildly patronized as a club supported by country yokels (not). But, as pointed out by commenter R Groom in the Comments section futher below, the city of Norwich finally does have a proper major roadway connection to London, etc. Anyway, they sure can pack ‘em in up there in East Anglia, as Norwich City constantly draws to +95-percent-capacity (at around 26 K-per-game in the 27-K-capacity Carrow Road). Love their kit, too, which is, of course, bright yellow-orange jerseys and brilliant turtle-green pants. Managed by Scotsman Alex Neil, who is just 34, and was hired by Norwich City in Jan. 2015, when Norwich sat 7th, 3 points off the play-offs. Neil’s previous stint was as player-manager with plucky Scottish top-flight-minnows Hamilton Academical, whom he led to promotion in 2013-14.
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Thanks to all at the links below…
-Blank map of UK historic counties, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:United Kingdom police areas map.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Blank relief map of Greater London, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater London UK relief location map.jpg.

-Attendances from E-F-S site, european-football-statistics.co.uk/attn.htm.
-2014-15 stadium capacities (for league matches) from soccerway.com, us.soccerway.com/national/england/championship/20152016/regular-season/r31555/.

-League histories of clubs:
-England – First Level All-Time Tables 1888/89-2013/14.
-Footy-Mad sites’ League History pages, such as Swansea City-mad, here, swanseacity-mad.co.uk/league_history.

-Titles…
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_football_champions.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_FA_Cup_finals.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Football_League_Cup_finals.

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