March 11, 2018 Atlanta: A Atlanta United fan toasts the team as they take on the D.C. United during their home opener in a MLS soccer game on Sunday, March 11, 2018, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton

Atlanta United’s attendance 10th highest among world’s clubs

Atlanta United had the 10th-highest average attendance among soccer clubs around the world, according to a recent study.

The Five Stripes’ average attendance of 51,457 from 2017-18 placed it ahead of prestigious clubs such as Manchester City (50,864), Chelsea (41,463) and Juventus (38,778) in averages from 2013-18, according to CIES Football Observatory.

Atlanta United midfielder Jeff Larentowicz said capacity of Mercedes-Benz Stadium and willingness of supporters to show up are two of the factors that have led to the team’s average attendance.

“The fact that our people show up week in and week out, and they’ve done it since we were at Bobby Dodd,” he said.

“I’ll never forget getting off the bus at Chattanooga when we didn’t really know what was going to happen and there were loads of people there. The commitment, the willingness to show up, the willingness to support has always been there.”

Atlanta United has led MLS in average attendance each of the past two seasons and has the eight most attended games in league history. The team uses tickets sold and distributed, not actual attendance, for its per-game total, a number than be considerably more. Tickets sold and distributed is considered the norm for calculating attendance in professional and college sports in North America.

Among leagues, the average attendance of MLS games has increased 34 percent from 15,920 to 21,358. It’s the second highest increase behind only Poland’s first division. Mexico’s average of 25,582 for its first division is the highest among leagues outside of Europe. MLS is third behind China (22,594).

“Pro sports in the last 100 years is pretty cyclical,” Larentowicz said. “Some come in and fade away, but this may be the moment when soccer comes in.”

The list of the top 20:

1. Borussia Dortmund, 80,230
2. Manchester United, 75,218
3. Barcelona, 74,876
4. Bayern Munich, 73,781
5. Real Madrid, 69,822
6. Schalke, 61,328
7. Arsenal, 59,793
8. Hamburger, 52,349
9. Stuttgart, 52,012
10. Atlanta United, 51,457
11. Borussia M’gladback, 51,369
12. Manchester City, 50,864
13. Newcastle, 50,721
14. Benfica, 50,077
15. Ajax, 49,781
16. Celtic, 49,697
17. Hertha Berlin, 49,476
18. Rangers, 49,064
19. Koln, 48,346
20. Eintracht Frankfurt, 47,942

Other notables:

29. Seattle, 42,797
31. Club America, 41,527
32. A.C. Milan, 41,495
37. Monterrey, 40,658

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