Some were skeptical the South would embrace soccer, but Atlanta United fans proved that skepticism to be unfounded.
In the five years since Arthur Blank started an MLS club in Atlanta, fans have set numerous attendance records, currently holding the ninth highest attendance totals in league history.
Earlier this month, Atlanta United set an MLS regular season attendance record with 72,548 tickets sold and distributed for its 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy.
So it should come as a surprise to no one that personal finance website WalletHub ranked Atlanta in the top 10 cities for soccer fans.
To determine the top spots, WalletHub compared more than 280 U.S. cities with at least one college or professional soccer team across five divisions and examined each based on 52 key metrics. The data set ranged from minimum season-ticket price for a game to stadium accessibility to the number of trophies won (we have two of those, as of August 14).
Los Angeles came out on top, with a score of 54.64 out of 100.
How did Atlanta fare?
- Overall rank: 6
- Total score: 42.84
- MLS rank: 3
- NWSL rank: 10
- USL rank: 31
- College soccer (Div. I men’s) rank: 52
- College soccer (Div. I women’s) rank: 138
When dividing the results by city size, however, Atlanta finished in fourth place, behind Los Angeles; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, in that order.
Atlanta ranked No. 1 for best performing MLS team; No. 4 for highest MLS stadium capacity; and tied with Orlando for No. 1 most engaged MLS fans. It was ranked among the worst cities for minimum season ticket price, however.
Atlanta United has four supporter groups: Footie Mob, Resurgence, Terminus Legion and the Faction. “Together, we strive to create the loudest, most creative, most passionate and stunning, gritty yet flashy sporting experience in North American soccer,” Atlanta United’s website states.
“Passion and energy” are two traits that make a good soccer fan, according to Ernest T. Jones, director of Athletics at Florida Memorial University. “Loud and enthusiastic fans are the best fans.”
But Atlanta isn’t the only Georgia city on WalletHub’s ranking. Statesboro finished No. 142 overall and No. 67 among small cities. Macon-Bibb County finished No. 166 overall and No. 39 for midsize cities. Kennesaw ranked No. 172 overall and No. 83 for small cities. And Athens finished No. 215 overall and No. 57 for midsize cities.
» For our complete coverage of Atlanta United, go to AJC.com/sports/atlanta-united.
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