Skip to content

What is a worthy attendance for U.S.-Canada in January?

Jan 20, 2013, 11:30 AM EDT

BBVA Compass

I saw some worry wafting last week out of Houston, where tickets for the Jan. 29 U.S.-Canada contest at BBVA Compass Stadium, kicking off the U.S. national team’s big year, are not exactly checking the box for “hot item.”

Glenn Davis, the veteran broadcaster/ blogger/ reporter out of Houston, said early last week that about 8,000 tickets had been sold. So the alarm bells went off and the usual discussion points over soccer and ticket sales – prices, school night, relative roster strength, perceived mistakes in marketing the game, etc. – were dragged out and given the once-over.

This is always an area vulnerable to local soccer community worry, especially as competition for World Cup qualifiers and other premium international soccer events gets heavier. I get that.

But let’s sprinkle some critical context into the discussion. In a nutshell, it’s this:

These U.S. national team matches in January are rarely big sellers.

The domestic soccer market is fairly sophisticated, which means potential buyers understand that bigger and better dates are ahead.  In 2013, that means World Cup qualifiers (Aren’t those always a hoot!), Gold Cup matches and a likely friendly against three-time World Cup champion Germany. Thus, a friendly in January featuring Jurgen Klinsmann’s “B” team is unlikely to be a fantastic draw no matter where you put it.

Similar early-year U.S. matches over the last 10 years have averaged about 13,000 and change. My guess: next week’s contest in Houston will top that, although perhaps not by a large margin. And that’s fine.

(For that average I just mentioned, I excluded early-year friendlies in 2007 and 2008 against Mexico. Those, I believe we can all agree, are a whole different jar of salsa. One of those contests, by the way, was in Houston, where it attracted 70,000-plus.)

If the U.S.-Canada contest at BBVA approaches the number of tickets sold for a United States contest two years ago in January against Chile (18,580), U.S. Soccer and the Houston community can fly the flag of success on this one. Celebrate, I say! ‘Ritas and Tex-Mex for all!

By the way, I love Canada and Canadians and Steve Nash and a whole bunch of other Canuck-related this and that. But Canada as opposition does lack a little fizz. Bless Dwayne De Rosario’s heart, but our northern neighbors are already out of World Cup consideration, having failed to escape the semifinal round.

Last time these teams hooked up in a January friendlies, in San Diego in 2006 and in Fort Lauderdale back in 2003, neither match reached 7,000 in attendance. Houston already has that beat.

Latest Posts
  1. Manchester United adds another Class of ’92 member to training pitch

    Apr 23, 2014, 8:04 AM EDT

    Manchester United v Queens Park Rangers - Premier League Getty Images

    Paul Scholes joined former teammates Ryan Giggs, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt as Manchester United prepared for this week’s match vs Norwich

  2. Barcelona’s transfer ban suspended by FIFA, should allow club to make summer moves

    Apr 23, 2014, 7:32 AM EDT

    Neymar Getty Images

    This is a massive break for the Blaugranas and will no doubt be met with consternation by its rivals.

  3. Champions League preview: Defending champion Bayern Munich looks to end Real Madrid quest for 10th title

    Apr 23, 2014, 6:12 AM EDT

    Czech Republic Soccer Super Cup AP

    Bayern is two steps away from back-to-back titles. Real Madrid’s the same distance from its decima.

  4. Alex Ferguson backed David Moyes’ firing, will help select a successor

    Apr 22, 2014, 10:31 PM EDT

    Britain Soccer League Cup AP

    Ferguson has kept quiet during the club’s latest transition, but according to reporting Tuesday night, he’ll play a part in finding David Moyes’ replacement.

  5. Mourinho is ready to turn Chelsea’s back on the Premier League

    Apr 22, 2014, 9:14 PM EDT

    jose_mourinho AP

    With injuries forcing his hand, the Blues’ boss wants to concentrate on Champions League.

  6. ProSoccerTalk’s MLS Team of the Week – Week 7

    Apr 22, 2014, 7:51 PM EDT

    2013 MLS Cup - Real Salt Lake v Sporting Kansas City Getty Images

    They only took one point from Vancouver, but LA Galaxy won three spots in this week’s Best XI.

  7. Chelsea suffer season-ending injuries, suspensions as old guard evaporates

    Apr 22, 2014, 6:28 PM EDT

    john_terry AP

    Chelsea boss has a big job on his hands ahead of the second leg:

  8. Five moments that defined Chelsea’s Champions League trip to Atlético Madrid

    Apr 22, 2014, 6:05 PM EDT

    diego AP

    Mourinho’s approach; Lampard’s card; and the Blues’ two big injuries.

  9. Three things we learned from Atletico Madrid vs. Chelsea

    Apr 22, 2014, 4:55 PM EDT

    Spain Soccer Champions League AP

    Chelsea do a job on Atleti, as everything’s up for grabs in the second leg:

  10. Champions League: Chelsea plays to type, holds Atlético Madrid to 0-0 draw in leg one

    Apr 22, 2014, 4:47 PM EDT

    juanfran_willian AP

    Evoking memories of their 2012 championship run, the Blues played out a scoreless draw in leg one.

  11. PST’s Major League Soccer Player of the Week: Nick Rimando

    Apr 22, 2014, 4:06 PM EDT

    nick_rimando Getty Images

    He missed out on our award in Week One. Six weeks later, those no denying the RSL number one.

  12. The Manchester United Supporters Trust really really hates the Glazers

    Apr 22, 2014, 2:17 PM EDT

    David Moyes' United side have a mountain to climb after being torn apart by Olympiakos. Getty Images

    Excepting Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United Supporters Trust is really not fond of any higher-up at the club right now.

  13. Lineups out for Atletico Madrid and Chelsea; Fernando Torres up-top

    Apr 22, 2014, 1:56 PM EDT

    Chelsea's Fernando Torres celebrates scoring a goal against Manchester City during their English Premier League soccer match at Stamford Bridge in London Reuters

    The lineups are out for Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea in Spain.

  14. Report: Giggs won’t be considered as permanent Manchester United boss

    Apr 22, 2014, 12:58 PM EDT

    Ryan Giggs, Markel Bergara AP

    As much as he loves the club, perhaps even Giggs knows he’s not completely ready for the gig.

  15. USMNT players prepare to settle slimy food bet in Seattle this weekend

    Apr 22, 2014, 12:02 PM EDT

    GEODUCKS AP

    A lost Super Bowl bet means Colorado defender Shane O’Neill will be enjoying a gooey treat courtesy of Seattle’s DeAndre Yedlin.

  16. Hull player earns fine for perceived support of quenelle celebration

    Apr 22, 2014, 11:20 AM EDT

    Chelsea v Hull City - Premier League Getty Images

    The celebration has now cost Anelka a job, West Bromwich Albion some sponsors and Sagbo some money.

  17. Moyes proved too ordinary for greatness of Manchester United job

    Apr 22, 2014, 11:05 AM EDT

    Everton v Manchester United - Premier League Getty Images

    Replacing Sir Alex was always a tall order, but Moyes never seemed to fit.

  18. Robben: Real Madrid “the most dangerous opponent we could have faced”

    Apr 22, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    Britain Soccer Champions League Final

    “We are no longer favorites,” said the Dutchman.

  19. LIST: The worst moments of David Moyes’ tenure at Manchester United

    Apr 22, 2014, 9:10 AM EDT

    5353ed4e01003_DavidMoyesysys Reuters

    David Moyes is out at Manchester United after less than a year. How did we get here?

Featured video

FIRED: Where David Moyes went wrong