MLS catches up to MLB in popularity among young Americans, poll finds

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By CAITLIN MURRAY

The future of Major League Soccer is looking bright – at least according to a new poll out by ESPN.

MLS has caught up with Major League Baseball in popularity among Americans aged 12 to 17 as both leagues have 18 percent of that demographic calling themselves avid fans. While MLB was founded in 1869, MLS has been around since 1996.

“It is phenomenal that in just one generation it has gone from zero adherents to tying MLB,” Rich Luker, the study’s creator, told ESPN FC,  “especially when you recognize this is the first generation to only know the United States with a professional soccer league. MLS is in their generational DNA.”

The poll points to David Beckham’s massive celebrity status and the popularity of EA Sports’ FIFA video game franchise as contributing factors in MLS’ growth – but the report says it’s ultimately unclear what is driving the change.

The research also suggests respect is growing for MLS from American soccer fans born in other parts of the world, such as Europe and South America.

The same annual poll had two years ago determined soccer was America’s second-most popular sport among the 12-24-year-old group ahead of baseball, college football and basketball.

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What do you think of this poll? Is this a positive sign for MLS? Is MLS on its way to overtaking one of the other major sports leagues in the U.S.? What is helping drive young Americans toward the MLS?

Share your thoughts below.

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108 Responses to MLS catches up to MLB in popularity among young Americans, poll finds

  1. bob says:

    FIFA 14(and counting) dude..

    • Travis says:

      no game makes me more frustrated than fifa (especially ultimate team)

    • Good Jeremy says:

      I think my favorite part of the game is where it often freezes when I am losing and try to make a substitute or tactical change, it definitely saves me from some big losses.

      Then again, it does the same thing when I am winning and that is kind of a deal killer.

  2. Expat4455 says:

    Yes, it is definitely a positive sign for MLS. It is also a very good sign for the game of soccer in the USA.

  3. Brain Guy says:

    “The poll points to David Beckham’s massive celebrity status and the popularity of EA Sports’ FIFA video game franchise as contributing factors in MLS’ growth – but the report says it’s ultimately unclear what is driving the change.”

    How about the game itself? More and better teams, more and better TV coverage . . .

    • Expat4455 says:

      +1

    • TomG says:

      Don’t be ridiculous. It clearly can’t be the game. That’s too sensible and central to the issue. It HAS to be some off the wall tangential, and hopefully racy cause like a corresponding increase in streaking. Don’t you understand how our media works?

    • QuakerOtis says:

      Due to (poor) youth coaching and baseball/football parents bring ignorant or dismissive of soccer, most people I grew up with (myself included) did not really understand the sport until they played FIFA. It was huge when I actually understood WHY something like watching for the overlap mattered, why you don’t always pass forward, why you don’t always lunge for the ball as a defender, as basic as all that is. So yes, FIFA is a good gateway to understanding and appreciating the game itself.

      • QuakerOtis says:

        *being ignorant of the sport

      • broadsthooligans says:

        Yea, but so does playing the game IRL. Soccer is the most popoular sport for youth in America. That interest was bound to stick around as they got older. They probably also have a bit more nuanced version of the game than those who are just playing FIFA.

        • QuakerOtis says:

          True. I ‘ve encountered a good percentage of soccer fans with the same experience I have though, so it’s just interesting to see a poll back up the anecdotes.

        • QuakerOtis says:

          And obviously once the “in real life” playing begins, you appreciate the game that much more. I was taught baseball but can’t wait to teach my kids soccer.

    • Maykol says:

      Nope. Pretty certain its the game, almost everybody plays fifa today

  4. beachbum says:

    cool to hear

    and to all you coaches out there giving up your time and energy to help keep this going and building and for your work with these kids in that generation, thank you

    • slowleftarm says:

      I second that.

      • Ted Lasso says:

        I also want to thank every red blooded American for their will to dominate yet another sport and prove that the US is the best in the world at……everything.

        All my fellow coaches out there, don’t forget to teach those young players how to tackle, it’s one of the most fundamental techniques in the game.

        • ETGoodyman says:

          That’s a great point. I coached my kids teams for about 7 years and I was extremely disappointed when the league wouldn’t even allow me to teach the kids how to properly tackle. Slide tackling was not allowed. I thought this was insane and a disservice to the players because they would definitely be tackling if they continued playing later in life. The fundamentals, of which tackling is an important one, must be taught at the earliest age and reinforced for years. I’m getting all worked up just thinking back on it now.

  5. milbo says:

    Standing between the stadiums in Seattle one can just watch the demographic entering each of the Sounders and Mariners games and see a striking difference

    • Neruda says:

      Yes. I’ve noticed this too. And I am an RSL fan with great respect for the sounders. I just hope Dempsey sucks for the sounders but excels for he US.

      • Duke says:

        Selectively sucking? NO way… Dempsey sucks for both teams

      • bodeguero says:

        Totally understand the sentiment, but given the low level of his play over the last year and a half, as an LA Galaxy and USMNT I am sincerely hoping that Dempsey starts kicking ass. Soon.

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

      Noticed that too Milbo.

      When they have a game at the same time which has happened more than I would like it to….wow.

  6. MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

    Interesting. I always hated the excuse non-soccer fans use when they say “soccer is to boring to watch”… Ha. Baseball is like watching paint dry.

    • Don the Jewler says:

      Ha! my 2 favorite sports, both which get critized for being boring. It really is in the nuances of each sport that make them fun to play and watch.

      • Ian says:

        Same here. Been a baseball fan MUCH longer than I’ve followed MLS, but each has its own merits. The sports are so different from each another. What I love most about soccer is that it’s 90 minutes of non-stop drama (I get that non-soccer fans don’t see the drama, but once you get it, you get it). The thing I love about baseball are the stats, the records, the history, the Americana. And likewise, non-baseball fans might find all those numbers boring and esoteric feelings of nostalgia a waste of time.

    • slowleftarm says:

      Baseball and soccer are by far my two favorite sports. I can understand why some people find baseball too slow but I never understood why people think American football is action-packed. Generally, it’s 2-3 seconds of “action” followed by 30-45 seconds of standing around. Not to mention constant time outs and endless replay reviews. Boring!!!

      • Sharkbait says:

        I swear sometimes I wonder if you’re not two different people. Half the time I’m thinking “Man I couldn’t disagree any more strongly with that” and the other half is like right now “I feel the exact same way.” NFL games on tv strike me as 3 hours of commercials with 10 minutes of gameplay scattered out amongst it. (Seriously, someone somewhere did a study of how long the ball is in play for a variety of different sports. NFL football came in at an average of like 11 or 12 minutes per game. Lower than what baseball averaged! If memory serves baseball was something like 18 or 19 minutes.)

        • Expat4455 says:

          But American football is violent, those 11 actual minutes played in a 2 1/2- 3 hour game are packed with graphic collisions.

          I swear, most fans of American football, and the advertisers as well, won’t be truly happy until the Colosseum is brought back.

  7. Jim says:

    As Grant Wahl pointed out on Twitter, it’s a nice bit of news but it doesn’t get truly significant until MLS finds a way to turn it into live TV ratings. Because that’s where the REAL $$ comes from.

    • Neruda says:

      Yes but do you think that the likes if espn may start taking more notice of mls in the near future? That’s the hope. Honestly though espn will not give soccer it’s due until a new generation of sports media who grew up watching mls take over espn. The old gaurd is still stuck on NFL and NBA with a little MLB and other sports thrown in.

      • Green76 says:

        +1

      • Kung Fu Kangaroo says:

        ESPN has NFL Live 1 hour 5 days a week. Give soccer a show or two each week. There’s lots to over, too foreign leagues, MLS, Champions League, National Teams , etc. ESPN could do a great job if they just put some effort into it. Soccer will gain more mainstream exposure and interest that will just keep growing.

    • Expat4455 says:

      Keep in mind that 21st Century Fox just signed a 5 yr. contract to broadcast Bundesliga I and II matches in North and Latin America.

      • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

        yeah, I wonder if the Bundesliga has passed MLB.

        Serious question that we all the know the answer too. No way
        The foreign leagues on at 4:00 in the AM will always be a niche market..
        English league same thing. Some guy will now quote stats of a game on national TV between two superpowers to show it isn’t a niche market, but it is.

        • Expat4455 says:

          Bundesliga I matches start at 9:30 am EST, with a couple at 12:30 pm. Bundesliga II games start an hour or two earlier.

  8. Neruda says:

    What’s driving mls popularity over baseball?
    Well for starters baseball offers no reason for youngsters or anyone else to pay attention until about October. I grew up with baseball and still enjoy it but the season is a complete bore. Also consider the fact that mls has taken root in some secondary markets where there is no mlb such as Columbus, slc and Portland. In Seattle there is a lot more youthful passion for the sounders and the mariners are very mediocre like Seahawks used to be.

    MLS is tapped into a global scene that offers a much larger world of sports than one of American only sports (I know baseball has become an important past time in a few parts if Latin America)

    • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

      I think baseball is losing the young demographic because its not very easy to play in urban areas. Football, hoops, & soccer just require a ball.

    • Increase0 says:

      Baseball is also incredibly time consuming. Who has 6 hours to watch a game anymore?

      Also the game lacks a sense of wonder. I never wonder how someone does something in Baseball. Each action in baseball is very simple. I’m not saying easy but its very conceptually simple.

      I mostly just think Baseball is old, made for radio, riddled by drug using muscle heads. When you make international cycling look like a clean sport you have a problem.

      • Spectra says:

        Wow you guys are awful. Why does this have to be about our sport vs. others? I love sport. My love of soccer doesn’t beat down my love of baseball and football.

        Yes baseball is slower and it is great while working in the garage and outside. Football is awesome because of the aggression. And I love soccer for the movements and the fact that I can barely take my eye off the screen the entire game.

        Stop trying to make your game better than others and start explaining to your friends who hate soccer why you love it and how it is different.

        Side note: Hockey and Rugby are awesome too but I get to see so little of it

        • Snare says:

          Completely agree. I love soccer, baseball, basketball, and hockey. I’m not an avid football fan, but I love watching big and important games.

        • CplDaniel says:

          OMG! Does Soccer even know that you’re cheating on soccer with all those other sports? Seriously, that’s just dirty! Baseball has a needle problem, NFL has domestic violence and puppy killers. You can do better than that. You need to stop being such a sport whore and focus on your love for the one Beautiful Game.

        • Neruda says:

          Well put. All sports are valuable (to watch or play) for different reasons.

          • White Kix says:

            I would argue that all sports are a complete waste of time, and we should all focus on more important things. Now, having said that, I just can’t stop myself from wasting time on soccer and am very much looking forward to watching the World Cup in my soon to be completed home theater with 120 inch screen.

        • Jimmy says:

          Thank you Spectra!
          I don’t understand how people here can just crap on baseball.
          Why does it have to be that if you like A you must hate B??? It’s not either/or.

        • Increase0 says:

          @ Spectra

          I more blame the Age we live in rather than the sport. Everyone “has to much to do.” Essentially Baseball is made for a slower era. When people weren’t attached to the internet everywhere they go.

          • Neruda says:

            You got me thinking with that. I grew up going to lots of A’s baseball games where the kids ran around the bleachers and concourse watching very little of the game and the adults sat there and shot the shi# socializing, watching even less of the game.

            The last time I was at a ball park for an MLB game (less than half attendance) I was thinking about how backwards it seemed with the stadium capacity. Baseball stadiums should be small 20K seat intimate parks while soccer teams will need larger stadia for the sports growing numbers.

      • slowleftarm says:

        Baseball games don’t take six hours and given the diluted MLS playoffs, I don’t think you can argue baseball allows too many teams in the playoffs (10 out of 30 compared to 10 out of 19 in MLS).

        But I also agree with the posters above that there’s no reason you can’t follow more than one sport.

  9. Relegate US says:

    Despite the ramblings from the Euro snobs, MLS is a really good, exciting-to-watch product. It is also one of the most evenly competitive leagues I’ve ever seen in sports. That keeps the standings exciting all the way up to the end of the season.

  10. CeezNYRB says:

    Any “sport” that moves as slow as baseball does and is as unexciting as baseball is is bound to be caught up to (or eclipsed) sooner or later.

    Keep it up U.S. Soccer/MLS!

    • whoop-whoop says:

      If there is a game more long winded, slow moving, mundane and hard to understand than baseball, it is cricket and it manages to survive with a pretty large following in football crazy Britain.

    • slowleftarm says:

      People have been saying this about baseball my whole life, yet TV contracts and attendance keep getting bigger. The new national tv contract for MLB guarantees teams an extra $25m a year on top of what they were already making. And that’s before they sell their local tv rights, radio or any tickets. MLS has a long way to go.

    • CeezNYRB says:

      I’m thinking long-term guys. Not in our lifetimes. I know, “how convenient of you to say that…there’s no way you can back up what you’re saying”.

      Fair criticism. Valid observation. I just have faith.

      In such a saturated national sports market, something has to take the place of the other. There’s no major baseball league in England nor a major basketball league nor a major gridiron league…darts and cricket can compete.

      In the push to be America’s number 1 sport, either gridiron or baseball will have to take the fall. It’s going to be baseball. Again, just not in our lifetimes. And again, criticism is fair and valid. That’s just what I think, though.

  11. GJJ says:

    I think this is as much to do about the decline of baseball as the rise of soccer. I live about a mile west of Wrigley field in Chicago about five doors from a grammar school. In the 1970s and 1980s you would have seen kids in the playground throwing a ball. Now they are kicking it. I always said that they way you knew that the sport had truly made it in the US was when you saw young kids playing pick up games with no adult around who had organized the game. In Chicago, at least, we are now at that point.

    I’d also like to say that as much as I have problems with some things AYSO has done, it’s role in growing the sport in this country cannot be overstated. At least 80% of the kids my daughters went to grammar school with had played AYSO at some point. While their dad’s grew up in an era where adults actively derided the game, these kids came up as players of at least a basic level and a decent understanding of the rules and basic strategies.

  12. the original jb says:

    Put simply, soccer is simply a more exciting and action-filled sport than baseball. Fwiw, I grew up playing and enjoying both and still do. I think this is completely inevitable given the way both sports are played at the highest level. Only diehard MLB fans have OVER 4 HOURS to watch a game. Meanwhile, soccer matches are two action-packed 45 minute halves. My kids are still little, but I shiver all over thinking about trying to take my boy to a baseball game and sit all the way through it. On the other hand, I took him to the US v Mexico WCQ last summer in Columbus and he had an absolute blast.

    • the original jb says:

      I meant to add that if MLB enacted some rule changes to speed up the game, I think it would make a big difference.

    • Increase0 says:

      Ya, I mentioned that earlier. It’s just too long.

      What do you think about Performance Enhancing Drugs? Did it devalue the MLB in your eyes? I’m not saying that no one in Soccer uses PEDs but there isn’t chronic history of it and it certainly wouldn’t help as much.

      At least, the game is clean on the field(outside of Italy).

      • Jim says:

        Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if there was far more PED use in soccer than has come to light. Things like HGH can greatly help with recovery during those 3 match weeks.
        But I think the big differences is that most fans don’t care that much. Baseball’s best feature is its tradition. The connection to the past, and above all those sacred numbers (61, 56, 614, etc.) were severely harmed by the PED scandals. Soccer has a great history, but the connection has nothing to do with stats.

        • Increase0 says:

          Ya, Messi used to take Hormone treatments when he was younger.(Pre -first team days) Clearly needed it on some level dude is tiny. I’m not sure if I consider that unfair or not. I guess not. Other than healing… What does it really do for a soccer player? I just think the on the Field effect of doing it would be minimal.

          PED’s wouldn’t give him talent though.

    • bodeguero says:

      +1

      I have zero interest in taking my son to a boreball game that lasts 4 hours. We’re not in an MLS market, but we have a minor league pro team nearby, so in another year or so we’ll definitely go. With the expansion of minor leagues franchises in the sport, just imagine how frickin’ cool the US Open Cup is going to be in a generation?

      Didn’t Garber talk a couple of years ago about how soccer benefits from DVR and hi-def tv more than any other sport?

    • slowleftarm says:

      Average MLB game is under three hours. No need to exaggerate to make your point.

      • CeezNYRB says:

        The AVERAGE is UNDER three hours? I need to see numbers. Before I pushed baseball and gridiron aside, I was an active follower of those sports. I can’t honestly say, in good faith, that the average baseball game runs for less than three hours. Maybe if both pitchers pitched perfect games and the game ended in a draw! If I was biased, maybe I would make that claim but I can’t. Baseball is just a far slower game than soccer is…maybe too slow. I find it hard to believe that any CASUAL observer would disagree with that statement.

        • Sharkbait says:

          I don’t see anyone suggesting that soccer isn’t a faster game than baseball, don’t know where you’re going with that one. But several people on here have thrown out 4 and 6 hours for baseball games, which can certainly happen but are rare. Google “average length for a baseball game” and you’ll see several articles saying approximately 3 hours. A Boston Globe article from last year looked good I thought.

          If we’re all being fair here then people need to remember that for every 4-6 hour marathon game you also have 1.5 hour pitcher duels, hence the 3 hour average. Baseball is played until you have a winner, there are no ties. That’s just the way it is, doesn’t have to be anything good or bad about it. To each their own.

      • Matty C says:

        Not in my market! Yanks vs Sox, home of the 3.5 hour snooze-fest…

  13. tom says:

    Baseball is great for listening to on the radio basically as background when you’re doing something else. But now most sports are consumed by watching 50 inch high-def TVs with constant instant replays. Baseball just isn’t made to be consumed like that. Soccer is probably ideally experienced in a packed and passionate stadium…but it’s good on TV if the angles are right and if the crowd is mic’d up to hear supporters.

  14. OB Rick says:

    Who would invent a sport that requires that you have to spend half of it sitting on a bench in a little room?

  15. shawn says:

    Honestly outside of post season baseball you have to be a very knowledgeable person on baseball to enjoy it. It looks like pitch and catch to the casual fan. Btw I cant watch baseball.

  16. Rock in the face says:

    To a young kid learning baseball, their trying to avoid getting bit with the ball while learning to play catch. I was Assistant coach to a LL team recently, and the parents would drop off kids with an oversize, heavy, stiff mitt. Trying to catch even the softer junior balls was daunting for these kids.

    Soccer balls at the same age (5-8 yo beginners) rarely travel above waist high. Young kids actually feel like their playing soccer if they just get a touch. Barrier to entry is way lower for soccer.

  17. Adam M. says:

    Soccer has long been a popular play sport for kids, but the key to this poll is that the 12-17 year olds never were without MLS. MLS really hit its stride in the last four-five years, when these kids were 7-12 ish and they have literally grown up with it. Its just a regular part of the landscape for them, not something new or strange. “Baseball” in this case, is probably a good stand-in for “sports” in general. These kids like sports, probably like the NFL and college sports a little more than “sports” generally, and hockey remains more of a niche.

  18. Expat4455 says:

    It is great to see soccer in the USA make such recent gains in popularity among the 12 -17 year old group, but I believe it has made strong recent gains across all ages as well and I hope it continues its growth.

    What do people think would happen to the popularity of soccer in the USA if Julian Green declares, plays in the 3 WC tune-up games and goes to Brazil?

    • away goals says:

      Nothing whatsoever. The only americans who have any idea who julian green is are already soccer fans.

      • Expat4455 says:

        away goals. That is probably true today. But if he plays in the 3 send-offs, and in Brazil, (and if he does I believe he will score at least 4 goals) he will become known.

        This kid is the real deal, he could become the Tiger Woods of soccer. The bidding between Nike and Adidas alone could reach $50 million.

  19. Raymon says:

    It is probably also a function of the trajectories going in opposite directions for each sport, and this is the point in time where they meet in the road while one goes up and the other goes down.

    I believe the same can be said of youth participation rates in each sport. One is on the ups while the other is declining.

  20. Dennis says:

    Soccer has been the leading sport in terms of participation for quite a while now. It is not always true that participants turn into fans, but it does’t hurt. Even the kids who did not play at a level above the local rec. league at least learned a lot about soccer. Those kids who played rec. soccer in the 80s are now parents with little ones who will learn from their parents and will have a step up in appreciation of the game. One thing standing in the way of further player development is the lack of free-play time for kids to gather and play on their own.

  21. George says:

    There is no need to bash other sports. Enjoy what you like and “to each his own’.

  22. Dave says:

    Why all the bashing of baseball here? There is plenty of room in the American sports world for MLS, MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL to all be popular at the same time. We’ll see how well this poll translates into success and ratings for MLS but don’t fool yourselves believing baseball is going away. It is by far the most difficult sport to play and it takes patience to watch but it’s ingrained in our culture. A 0-0 MLS match can be pretty boring to watch too if you don’t know the game well.

  23. TomG says:

    I think the growth of supporter culture has been huge. It’s so much fun to go to games and that grows the popularity on a grass roots level.

  24. AzTeXan says:

    The biggest advantage I see for MLS is the time of a game is 2 hours every game. A Yankees/Red Sox playoff game lasts 5-6 hours. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I’m not 5 years old anymore and I’m not 55 years old yet. Baseball is tied with the NHL for me ranked behind MLS, NBA, NFL, College Football & basketball for me. I only watch MLB if it’s playoffs and it’s the Sox/Yankees/relevant team where relevant = not the Marlins or Devil Rays.

  25. iggy says:

    While this is great news, to play devil’s advocate the headline is more a function of baseball’s decline than MLS’s gain. in the graph, MLS hasnt made a lot of meaningful movement since 2008, aside from the dip down and recovery.

  26. just saying says:

    its great that number will be bigger than the nba in about 6 -8 years. imagine you have all of these little kids playing now that actually can go and watch a professional match, thats the difference they can strive towards that compared to my generation. also this dude writing the report is wrong not every country south of the border from the united states is from south america, being south american doesnt mean being from south of america. dumb a$$. is called the united states OF AMERICA the continent, not a country. mexicans are americans, brazilians are americans, guatemalans are americans, canadians are american. you get the essence of my rant. so next time he could say people from europe and the americas.

    • RBNY says:

      I don’t think MLS ever eclispses the NBA though. NBA is worldwide and still growing at a massive rate. Baseball has been on the decline for decades – it’s only right for MLS to take its place.

      • slowleftarm says:

        MLB is far more popular than the NBA, at least in the US. Higher tv ratings, salaries, revenue, attendance. Any way you slice it.

        • RBNY says:

          Not sure how realistic that is. MLB plays more games than NBA, has bigger stadia than NBA. NBA arenas are frequently sell outs. For example the Knicks sell out every game at the Garden, Yanks don’t come close to selling out The Stadium. I can turn on my TV and catch 3 NBA games in a row between ESPN and ABC on any given Sunday afternoon. During Baseball season, its one game that Fox shows on Saturday.

          The numbers for MLB are inflated for whatever reason. They don’t pass the eye test at all for me.

          • slowleftarm says:

            The Yankees still averaged around 43,000 a game (which is a near sellout) and before they moved to the new stadium they sold out almost every game, in a much bigger stadium than the Knicks.

            The fact ABC likes to put NBA games on TV doesn’t make it bigger. MLB is bigger by any way you measure it.

            And I’m not anti-NBA at all. I like it. But it’s not MLB.

      • shawn says:

        soccer can eclipse nhl and mlb, golf. It might take a little bit of time for it to pass nascar. But It wont eclipse college or professional basketball or football

      • just saying says:

        we dont need world wide i think those statistics where from within our country in that aspect you may be correct but my hypothesis is based on the fact that soccer is the one sport in this country where we beat any other country in the world when it comes to youth involvement in an organized fashion. previously to the mls most of those kids lost interest because there was no professional outlet for them to watch or dream to play in someday and now there is. i dont think the nba will decline but the mls will rise and match that because of those little kids.

  27. RBNY says:

    The biggest lie that has been perpetrated for decades: “Baseball is a team sport”. The game is clearly made up of 1 on 1 battles. Boring.

    The atmosphere also has something to do with this. Anybody that comes to a live MLS match always comes out of it blown away by the support. Go to an MLB game and the spectators are the least involved in the game of any sport. Homeruns get hit and if you clap too loud, the stewards will kick you out of the stadium. Boring. Can’t remember the last time I actually had fun at a baseball game.

    • slowleftarm says:

      There’s no need to bash baseball. With the tepid support we see for most games at RBA (I’m a RBNY season ticket holder so believe me I know), I don’t think the atmosphere is any better than Yankee Stadium. You get kicked out of the stadium for clapping? Where was this?

      It’s not an either/or thing – you can like more than one sport. And this article is about the growth of soccer, not the decline of baseball or any other sport.

      • RBNY says:

        I too am a Season ticket holder and Supporter. I stand in 101 every single match. I wouldn’t call our support “tepid”. It far exceeds anything that you would find at a Yankees or Mets game.

        • slowleftarm says:

          While there is no equivalent to the supporters section at baseball games (or any other US sport) the RBNY support is not exactly robust compared to many other MLS clubs. Overall, I don’t think our fan base is that impressive. Not when I see the atmosphere in Portland, Seattle, KC and other towns with a fraction of the population of the NYC area.

          I can promise you the first four home games this year at least we will have tiny crowds with the upper deck mostly empty. I’ll be there for all of them but there won’t be enough people with me! And it’s a shame because RBA is awesome when it’s a full house.

          • RBNY says:

            Maybe you should come join us in 101 a couple times and show us how to properly support the club then. I’d rather take player’s word for it. Our support is fantastic. We help make RBA one of the toughest places to play in the league – there is nothing pedestrian about the atmosphere in that stadium.

        • Neruda says:

          It’s useless comparing sports in terms of supporter culture and in other ways as well. Baseball fan culture is the equivalent to the actual support. Short bursts of action sandwiched between waiting for action. It would be pretty tiring to stand for a whole 9 innings like fans do in soccer games.

          Some soccer supporters stand for the whole 90+ minutes of action banging on drums and waving flags because the players create a constant stream of action for the same 90 min.

  28. Drewbles says:

    This is a really big deal for MLS. Why? Because MLB is the only sport that shares a similar calendar schedule with MLS. Really makes it clear that they should try to avoid moving to the “FIFA-approved” calendar.

    On a personal note, I do like baseball, grew up playing all my life, but 162 regular season games is just too many in my opinion and dilutes the importance of the games.

  29. NASL to El Paso tx says:

    In 2030 MLS will be behind NFL, or even 2025. It’s not about being better than EPL or Laliga in Spain but better than NBA,NHL,MLB and especially NFL.
    Once MLS challenges NfL, with a proper division 2 and schedule, then automatically MLS will rival EPL.