USMNT turnout in 2022, worst since 2006

The year 2022 has been a resounding success for the USMNT TV ratings. After all, they qualified for the World Cup and advanced to the Round of 16. But their emergence didn’t benefit in the same way. In fact, the USMNT attendance in 2022 was the lowest since 2006.

Here’s how the crowds break down.

Date Competition matchup Stadium Presence
January 27 World Cup qualification US vs El Salvador field 20,000
February 2 World Cup qualification USA vs Honduras Alliance field 19.202
27 March World Cup qualification USA vs Panama Exploria Stadium 25,022
1 June Friendly USA vs Morocco TQL stadium 24,002
5 June Friendly USA vs Uruguay Mercy Park for children 19,569
June 10th nations league US vs Grenada Q2 Stadium 20,500
Worst attendance since 2006

In 2022, the USMNT totaled 128,295 fans over six games. That equates to an average of 21,383 fans per game. No average attendance for the USMNT has been this low since 2006 when they totaled 162,876 over the course of eight home games for an average of 20,360.

This excludes the 2020 COVID year when they averaged 5,836 per game. The U.S. played a total of four games that year, with only two at home: Costa Rica in February and then El Salvador in December (which was played under capacity restrictions).

Declining visitor numbers are not a new trend

The average of 21,383 per game in 2022 is a 15% decrease from 2021. That year, over the course of 15 home games, the United States averaged 25,155 fans per game. It was also the seventh consecutive year with an average attendance of less than 30,000. And it’s the eleventh consecutive year with an average attendance of less than 40,000.

But low attendance isn’t surprising when you consider that US Soccer has boasted about playing matches in smaller stadiums. This artificially increases demand. This allowed US Soccer to charge exorbitant prices for match tickets.

This was especially the case in 2022. All six games played took place in soccer-specific stadiums with a capacity of less than 27,000 people. And while playing in small stadiums is a surefire way to limit attendance, that number drops even further if some of those stadiums don’t sell out. Such was the case with the Panama game in Orlando and the Morocco game in Cincinnati.

How to increase attendance

Now it is worth noting that the US typically sees an increase in attendance the year after the World Cup. Attendance in 2007 increased 59% over the previous year from 20,360 to 32,282. Then there was a 13% increase from the 35,676 in 2010 to 40,314 in 2011. And in 2015 the average was 38,764, up 13% from 34,374 in 2014.

However, for that jump to happen in 2023, US Soccer needs to stop playing the same few venues over and over again. For example, the game against El Salvador in January was played at a Field in Columbus just three months after the last appearance there. The friendly match against Morocco at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati was played in June 2022. That stadium hosted a World Cup qualifier between the US and Mexico in November last year. To top it off, Q2 Stadium in Austin hosted its third competitive USMNT match in an eleven-month span when they played Grenada in the Nations League.

They’re not off to a good start in 2023, as the two January camp games will both be played in the Los Angeles area: first against Serbia on January 25 at Banc of California Stadium and then against Colombia at Dignity Health Sports Park. on January 28.

With the World Cup coming to the US in 2026, the best way to increase the USMNT presence and profile of the team would be for US Soccer to adopt a traveling roadshow mentality and take the team to as many new and different places as possible. There’s no better way to grow the team’s attendance than by bringing in tons of new fans who’ve never had the chance to see them play in person before.


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