With another season in the books, it’s time to take a closer look at this year’s attendance numbers.
Sources are as follows:
Detroit City FC attendance numbers are announced at games and posted to the club’s official Twitter account.
NASL numbers: Soccer Stadium Digest
USL-Pro numbers: Wiki page/uslsoccer.com
PDL numbers: kenn.com
Previous average home attendance numbers (Competitive Matches):
2012: 1295 CLICK HERE for game-by-game table
2013: 1715 CLICK HERE for game-by-game table
2014: 2857 CLICK HERE for game-by-game table
And now for this year:
- The 2014 attendance record of 3398 (7/11 vs. Fort Pitt) was topped 5 times this year, and was actually lower than the regular season average of 3528.
- City drew over 3000 for every single league match in 2015.
- Combined attendance at this year’s three friendlies isn’t far from matching 2012’s TOTAL season attendance (8582 to 9948).
- Since the beginning, the club’s yearly attendance averages have nearly tripled (1295 in 2012 vs. 3528 in 2015).
- Over the course of four years and 35 home games (competitive + friendlies), City has drawn a total of 78,627 fans.
A Couple Handy Graphs:
How do we measure up?
If Detroit City FC was added to the following leagues, their 2015 regular season average attendance of 3528 would put them:
1st (out of 66) in the PDL
9th (out of 25) in USL Pro
11th (out of 12) in NASL
Additionally, when it comes to the NPSL, Chattanooga had massive crowds for their playoff matches (including over 18,000 for the League Final), but City actually had a higher regular season average attendance (3528 to 3084).
What does it all mean?
At the final league match of 2014 against Fort Pitt, around 400 people were turned away at the gate. I took this as evidence that we had effectively outgrown Cass Tech and that the club stood to lose tens of thousands of dollars in 2015 in lost ticket sales from refusing people admission.
As it turns out, we still had a little room to grow. Ownership took steps to push capacity up by a few hundred with a couple added sitting and standing areas, and I don’t believe anyone was turned away until the final stretch of Lansing-Michigan-Erie.
That being said, I do think that we’ve NOW officially outgrown Cass. There just isn’t any more space, and it doesn’t make sense to dump more money than necessary into a venue at which you don’t have a long-term future.
While all signs continue to point to Keyworth Stadium as City’s probable next home, the timetable remains unclear. The initial estimate for the cost of renovations has slowly crept up from $1 million to $3 million to the most recent figure of $5 million. Because of this, it appears that the club will most likely remain at Cass in 2016, with the final word probably coming sometime in September or October.
One more year of the status quo wouldn’t be the end of the world, but for the club to continue growing, it needs a bigger home in 2017. Before there can be serious discussions about City moving up to a higher division, I think average attendance needs to grow to at least 5000-5500, which would put the club at or near the middle of the NASL.
Going by current growth rates, if a move to Keyworth happens, I think we could reach those numbers by the second or third year. I’ve held back on making this prediction for a couple years, but with all I’ve seen and heard over the past 18 months, I’m ready to pull the trigger and say that I think City will be in the NASL or an equivalent league by the end of the decade.