The early success for FC Dallas this season has been notable but so has the play at FC Dallas Stadium. Currently the Hoops are undefeated at home this season and people are starting to take note around town. In fact, FC Dallas is currently on pace to best their all-time mark for season attendance average, besting their average the club set back in the inaugural season in 1996.
Back in 1996, the club averaged 16,011 per game at the Cotton Bowl. Things were a tad different back then as the league was new and fans were curious to see what the game had to offer. The history of the club's attendance has been written and beaten to death a thousand times by many folks around the country. From the Southlake days all the way up to where we are now, we know it has been a long and bumpy road.
After 18 years, the club is finally hitting a turning point with their attendance as the last three years the club has invested in more sales personnel in the front office and are getting more local sponsors.
Kris Katseanes is the club's Vice President of Ticket Sales and he feels that the club is far from where they were just three and four years ago.
"I think the growth is a combination of things," said Katseanes. "The team winning will never hurt our attendance, and the successful start on the field is exciting for everyone. We have also grown our season ticket base, which directly affects the annual year over year increase in attendance. We actually view the back half of our season schedule as equally favorable in terms of being able to sell the matches, so we're excited about what the rest of the season will bring."
So far this season FC Dallas ranks 12th in the league's attendance with an average of 15,937 per game at FC Dallas Stadium. That is just a few dozen shy of that all-time mark and it is also a 13% increase from the 2012 numbers.
These numbers are and will likely change in the month of May as FC Dallas has three more home games, including two next week against the Portland Timbers on Wednesday and D.C. United next Saturday. Midweek games are typically a tough draw for FC Dallas and having a home game just a couple days following that could mean trouble for the front office in terms of marketing those two games.
Katseanes said there is a challenge in selling two games in one week for the sales staff but the Portland game was one that they circled once the schedule came out.
"The Portland mid-week match was one we circled as that kind of outlier before the season started," said Katseanes. Our next evolution is being able to work to ensure that all 18 matches in our season ticket package have a full building of fans."
FC Dallas will have a little more time to market their next two home games. San Jose comes to town later this month after the clubs visits Seattle. The front office will then have the fun task of marketing the Sporting KC game in June, their only home game of the month.
There are still plenty of chances for FC Dallas to continue to do well at the gate. As long as the club continues to win, fans will continue to come out. It also doesn't hurt that the team still has another visit from the LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps, not to mention Eastern rivals visit later in the season when the Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire come to town. Then there is also that July 4th game against Chivas USA that is bound to sell out as well.
"We absolutely feel good about the rest of the season," said Katseanes. "We are evolving to where our fans are coming to see FC Dallas every match regardless of opponent. I think a lot of people expected LA attendance to drop off this year without Beckham, but we had a capacity crowd there to support FC Dallas. You'll see consistently good crowds because of the fan avidity for our team, and not so much the ‘attraction' of whatever team/player/event surrounds the match."