Number Crunchin’: 2016 Attendance

Photo by Detroit City FC
Photo by Detroit City FC

Your annual look at Detroit City FC’s home attendance numbers.

Links to previous editions:     2013     2014     2015

Data Sources:

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/kenn.com

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Previous home attendance averages (competitive matches only):

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
2015: 3528  CLICK HERE for game-by-game table

Final numbers for 2016:

2016att

Two handy graphs for the visually inclined:

2016gamegraph

2016yeargraph

Notes and Fun Facts:

(1) The growth in attendance from 2015 to 2016 was significantly greater than I expected (see Wild Guess #3). Average per-match attendance was up 48% and total attendance rose by a healthy 77%.

(2) 2016 total home attendance (52,550) was nearly equal to total home attendance for 2014 and 2015 combined (52,765).

(3) Attendance for the 2016 home opener against AFC Ann Arbor (7410) was just shy of the total attendance for the entire 2012 regular season (7774).

(4) The single-match attendance record for the entire Cass Tech era (3793 vs. Erie on 7/17/15) was topped in 9 of 10 home matches in 2016.

(5) Over the course of five seasons and 45 total home matches, City has drawn 131,177 fans.

How do we measure up?

If Detroit City FC was added to the following leagues, their 2016 regular season average attendance of 5208 would put them:

6th (out of 13) in the NASL, just behind the Carolina RailHawks (5346).

5th (out of 30) in the USL.

City led the NPSL in average attendance in 2016 and ranked 31st out of all men’s professional and amateur clubs (data as of August 1st).

Overview

One year ago, rumors of a move to Keyworth were picking up steam, but questions remained as to just how much of an attendance increase could reasonably be expected. In my 2015 attendance post, I wrote this:

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.

…which turned out to be far too conservative since that average was easily achieved this year.

As of this moment, City has the fanbase and the stadium infrastructure to make the jump to a professional league; it draws better than half of the NASL and all but the very top clubs in the USL. The biggest remaining hurdle is securing the funds to pay a league entry fee (about $3 million for USL; between $3 and $9 million for NASL) and to support a full-time roster of players, coaches, front office, and support staff.

In the more immediate future, there is still plenty of room for further attendance growth. Going by the single-match record of 7410 and judging from the picture at the top of this post, once Keyworth’s east stand is fully renovated (hopefully in time for 2017), total stadium capacity should push past 10,000. For 2017, I think an average of 6000-6500 would be a good mark to shoot for, and this would further solidify DCFC’s status as the best-attended amateur club in the U.S. Finally, under the right circumstances (improved on-field performance, continued expansion of marketing and community outreach), the 10,000+ single-match attendance mark is well within reach next year.

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2 thoughts on “Number Crunchin’: 2016 Attendance”

    1. No, to join the NASL you have to make at least 3 easy payments of $29.95. If you call in the first 30 minutes they double your order at no additional charge.

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