The sellout crowd of 11,569 fans that saw Sacramento Republic FC's clash with Phoenix Rising FC on Saturday night sent the league past the 1 million total attendance mark for the 2018 season. | Photo courtesy Sacramento Republic FC
TAMPA, Fla. – Attendance in the 2018 USL season continued its record-breaking pace this weekend as the league surpassed one million in total attendance at the earliest point in its history. Arriving exactly one month prior to what was a league high 2017 season at the turnstiles, Saturday night saw the league top the major milestone in just the 13th week of the regular season.
This historic achievement comes just over a month from Week 8 of the regular season, when 105,072 fans poured into USL venues for the first six-digit week of attendance in the league’s history. The USL has drawn more than a half-million fans in attendance over the past six weeks, and reached one million in attendance in 27 fewer games than a season ago.
With more than half the 2018 regular season remaining, the USL is on pace to raise the bar once again for single-season Division II attendance in North America. The USL Independent Clubs currently average 5,743 fans per game, a number that is likely to rise as the race for the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs builds over the coming months.
“The incredible passion that fans have for our clubs and our league continues to be demonstrated by the outstanding attendance figures we see on a weekly basis across the league,” said USL President Jake Edwards. “That we’ve reached one million in total attendance in just 13 weeks speaks to the high level of competition on the field, and the outstanding work being done behind the scenes by our clubs and league staff to drive awareness of the USL both in local markets and on a national level. The best is yet to come – we are excited for what is shaping up to be an extremely competitive second half of the season, which should have fans on the edge of their seats as the battle for a berth in the USL Cup Playoffs heats up.”
Sacramento Republic FC’s sellout crowd of 11,569, the final game of Saturday night’s slate, sent the league past the one-million mark, with Indy Eleven also welcoming a five-figure crowd to Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night as 10,034 fans saw the hosts take a 2-0 victory against ATL UTD 2. The Tampa Bay Rowdies continued their strong season at the turnstiles as 6,082 fans were on hand for a compelling contest against fellow Eastern Conference playoff contender Nashville SC, while Penn FC recorded its highest attendance of the season with 4,507 fans on hand for a thrilling 3-2 victory for the hosts against Toronto FC II.
The 2018 USL regular season continues this Wednesday night with a seven-game slate of action that sees some of the league’s top teams in action, with FC Cincinnati set to face Bethlehem Steel FC at Nippert Stadium in the USL Game of the Week on ESPN3 in the Eastern Conference. The night also features big Western Conference action on ESPN+ that will see the Swope Park Rangers host conference-leader Real Monarchs SLC, the first meeting between regional rivals Fresno FC and Sacramento Republic FC, and a must-see game as Phoenix Rising FC welcomes Las Vegas Lights FC.