Within the past several years, soccer has been on the rise in the United States. The clubs and the new additions to the MLS have managed to bring a high amount of attention and player prestige to the league. This exposure has managed to increase the prestige of the league.
One of the main contributors to the rise in popularity of MLS, is the rise in stadium attendance. According to the MLS, for last season, attendance was on average 21,574 fans per game. The percentage jumped 12% from 2014 to 2015 and it is most likely to increase in 2016. The Seattle Sounders have managed to bring in the second biggest attendance per game in the Western Hemisphere, and stadium attendance has surpassed Liverpool FC.
Another reason as to why MLS is growing is its mass exposure. For the league, 2015 marked the first year that matches were available to watch around the world. Partnerships with massive media outlets such as ESPN, FOX, and Univision have broadcast the MLS countrywide and in multiple languages. Partnerships with Pan-European TV network Eurosport, in 2015, as well as Sky Sports in the UK and Fox Sports Africa are cultivating the league’s brand globally. This movement has increased the MLS’s credibility as an international league that can garner the interest of football fans worldwide, and its exposure is making more well known.
The demographic that watches MLS is a major factor as well. MLS has manged to capture the viewership of a young demographic mainly 18-34 year old’s. This young viewership will ensure that MLS will be watched, viewed, and have its interests held for a long time and continually will add new fans as well as having the next generation possibly grow up with the sport.
The inclusion of famous, high marketable names not just on the field but off the field is a great boon to the popluarity of MLS as well. With David Beckham in Florida and several Hollywood names establishing LAFC, the increase of soccer in these media centers will only draw more people into the world’s game in the United States.
Overall, the MLS is on the way to establishing itself as a major sport in the United States. Through high attendance at games to marketing and expansion the MLS could rival the big 4 of sports in the United States.
Photo: Victor Ariaza (via: Flickr)