Top 20 largest football attendances in the US in 2022

Perhaps the largest metric used to measure the growing popularity of football in the United States is attendance. Bigger crowds means more money and more eyeballs. This in turn leads to greater crowds. And so on, until football becomes a behemoth. In examining the data for 2022, we’ve compiled a list of the 20 largest football attendances in the US.

So without further ado, here are the top 20 football attendances in the US for 2022:

Attendance figures for 2022
Date Event Match up Stadium Presence
July 30 Friendly Real Madrid v Juventus Rose bowl 93,702
July 23 Friendly Manchester City-Bayern Munich Lambeau field 78,128
March 5th MLS Charlotte–LA Galaxy Bank of America Stadium 74,479
3 August leagues cup LA Galaxy – Chivas & LAFC – Club America SoFi stadium 71,189
4th of May Champions League Seattle Sounders – Cougars Lumen field 68,741
August 6 MLS Atlanta–Seattle Mercedes-Benz stadium 68,586
February 27 MLS Atlanta-Sporting Kansas City Mercedes-Benz stadium 67,523
July 9 MLS Atlanta-Austin Mercedes-Benz stadium 67,516
September 27 Friendly Mexico-Colombia Levi’s Stadium 67.311
September 23 Friendly Argentina – Honduras Hard Rock Stadium 64,420
July 23 Friendly Arsenal-Chelsea Camping World stadium 63,811
September 24 Friendly Mexico-Peru Rose bowl 62,729
July 23 Friendly Barcelona vs Real Madrid Allegiant Stadium 61,299
July 20 Friendly Manchester City – Club America NRG Stadium 61,223
5 June Friendly Mexico Ecuador Soldier field 61.104
July 26 Friendly Barcelona-Juventus Cotton bowl 58,127
June 2nd Friendly Mexico-Uruguay State Farm stadium 57,735
the 28th of May Friendly Mexico Nigeria AT&T stadium 56,872
July 20 Friendly Charlotte Chelsea Bank of America Stadium 52,673
August 31th Friendly Mexico–Paraguay Mercedes-Benz stadium 51,387

Of the 20 most attended matches, only four are Major League Soccer matches. And three of those four are Atlanta United games. That means only 20% of the top 20 most visited games contain MLS games.

The competition certainly has a long way to go to attract more visitors. From this summer leagues cup could go a long way in increasing the audience by leveraging the support of Liga MX fans.

Largest U.S. Football Attendance for 2022

All told, there were 38 games played in the US in 2022, drawing more than 40,000 people. That number is higher than last year’s 28 such games. And it’s also much higher than in 2020, when there were three such games before COVID shut down the world. The crowds can be broken down as follows:

  • 18 mobs in the 40’s
  • 5 mobs in the 50,000s
  • 11 crowds in the 60’s
  • 5 crowds in the 1970s
  • 1 mob in the 90’s
European clubs

It has long been the case that European club teams tend to draw huge crowds for preseason games in the US. This year was no different. Five of the matches on this list were between two European clubs. Another four games on this list featured one European club.

Plus, it’s no surprise that some of the biggest crowds were on hand to see the biggest clubs from across Europe. Teams from England included Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal. There were the two Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. And of course the leagues of Germany and Italy were both represented with Bayern Munich and Juventus.

Mexican national team

The least surprising American football news is that Mexico draws some of the largest football crowds in the United States. Six of the seven games El Tri played in the United States in 2022 attracted large crowds. All six of those games have cracked the 50,000 mark. That’s a particularly impressive number when you consider that they were all friendlies rather than Gold Cup or Nations League matches.

Lack of US national team

The year 2022 marks the first time since 2006 that the list of largest soccer audiences in the US does not include the USMNT nor the USWNT. As frustrating as that is for American fans, it’s no surprise given US Soccer’s conscious and short-sighted decision to only play in the same few stadiums. Hopefully, with the USMNT coming off a Round of 16 appearance in Qatar, and the USWNT preparing for the Women’s World Cup, they’ll draw large crowds again.

MLS teams

For years, the Seattle Sounders were the beacon of what American football support could be. Then that mantle passed to Atlanta United. Both clubs are present on this list. The Sounders made it to the CONCACAF Champions League final against Pumas. And it featured the Cascadia Cup rivalry with the Portland Timbers. Nearly every Atlanta United game also had a sizeable crowd.

But not only Atlanta and Seattle are doing well. Charlotte FC, the MLS’ newest expansion team, generated several big attendances. Their first ever home game had the third largest crowd in the world on the weekend it was played. They had a huge crowd when they entered the race to the playoffs at the end of the season. And just for the record, they had a solid turnout for an exhibition game against Chelsea.

Stadium Size

Finally, when watching these games, pay attention to the actual stadiums in use. Almost all stadiums have a primary tenant who is an NFL team. Admittedly, Atlanta built its new stadium with the intention of enticing Major League Soccer to give Atlanta an expansion team. That was a success and Atlanta United has by far the largest stadium in Major League Soccer when it comes to reduced capacity. At full capacity, Bank of America, home of Charlotte FC, and Lumen Field for the Sounders can rival Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Still, those three stadiums are more known for their NFL teams. The Falcons, Panthers and Seahawks play at maximum capacity. Charlotte FC played at a capacity of 38,000 for much of the season. Seattle Sounders hovered just below. Therefore, it’s not too surprising to see some of the expanded capabilities in those locations. Still, it may be a testament to the popularity of those teams in those respective areas to have max capacity games that jump over 50,000 on special occasions.

PHOTO: IMAGO/Icon Sportswire

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