One of the most popular pieces that I’ve posted on BIR is my compilation and analysis of Detroit City’s attendance numbers for its first two seasons. Now, with year three in the books, it’s time for an update.
Sources are as follows:
Detroit City FC attendance numbers are announced at games and posted to the club’s official Twitter account.
And now for this year:
- Including friendly, regular season, and playoff games, Detroit City played 10 times at home in 2013 and 8 times in 2014. Despite this, total attendance rose by 7108 this year, a jump of 45%.
- This year’s regular season average of 2857 nearly doubled last year’s average of 1484 (an increase of 92.5%).
- 2012’s single game record of 1743 was topped 4 times in 2013. 2013’s single game record of 2634 was topped 6 times in 2014, with a high of 3398.
- This year’s lowest attendance, 2147, was still higher than every single friendly and regular season game in both 2012 and 2013.
- Over the course of three years and 26 home games, City has drawn a total of 48884
Would you like a graph showing game-by-game attendance over a three-year period? Of course you would.
How do we measure up?
If Detroit City FC competed in the following leagues, their 2014 regular season average attendance of 2857 would put them:
2nd (out of 65) in the PDL
6th (out of 15) in USL Pro
10th (out of 11) in NASL, going by the spring season numbers.
What does it all mean?
Based solely on attendance, Detroit City is operating at a third division level while playing in the fourth. If you took the club and plopped it down into USL Pro without making any other changes, it would immediately outdraw more than half the teams in the league.
Before this season started, I made what I thought were some reasonable predictions: an average attendance of 1750, and at least one crowd of over 3000. These turned out to be far too conservative as the increases from 2013 to 2014 easily outpaced the growth from 2012 to 2013.
The good news is that the club’s popularity is growing exponentially; the bad news is that we’ve effectively outgrown Cass Tech.
At this year’s final regular season game, 400 people were reportedly turned away since the stadium was at capacity. At $10 per ticket, that’s $4000 lost due to lack of seating. If DCFC remains at Cass in 2015, using simple extrapolation, the club would stand to lose nearly $30,000, if not more. Luckily, I’m not the only one who’s aware of this problem.
If Cass can somehow be temporarily expanded, or if a larger appropriate venue can be found, I have little doubt that next year’s attendance could creep up into the 3500-4000 range. I won’t make any predictions just yet since the stadium situation is in flux, but it’s clear that support for the club is only accelerating and we haven’t even come close to touching our ceiling.