Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gold Cup Attendance

Gold Cup 2009 Review

After a long vacation that ran right in the middle of the Gold Cup I am back. Sorry for not posting but I felt a little let down after the Yanks lost. Sitting back a while I had time to reflect if this was a successful Gold Cup. I have to say yes it was. Total attendance was 468,688 (average 36,053). This was slightly down from Gold Cup 2007 488,722 (37,597). This was a success since it was less than a 10% drop from 2007 but still outpaced Gold Cup 2005 340,131 (26,164avg). When reviewing averages we all must understand that it is Mexico’s participation that drives the total and average for the Gold Cup. Reviewing each group we can clearly see what national teams Concacaf officials want to advance in the Gold Cup.

Group A was considered the group of death going into the tournament. I still believe it was the most competitive group. Canada was the surprise here beating Jamaica 1:0 and El Salvador 1:0 with a possession game and timely scoring. They tied Costa Rica 2:2 to give them 7 points and group winners. Costa Rica was the second place team with only 4 points. They beat Jamaica 1:0 and ties Canada after losing their opener. They again mad the knockout round. Jamaica was a huge disappointment to me. They had the talent and the title of Caribbean Champion going in but they only went 1 win and 2 losses. El Salvador was the wild card. They question was could they win outside of Cuscatalon Stadium. They answered that by beating Costa Rica 2:1 in the opening games. This was no lucky upset either El Salvador outplayed the Tico’s most of the game.

Attendance Group A The fans packed into the Home Depot center making officials very confident in the opening game. “A sold-out stadium of 27,000 clearly favored El Salvador, as the stadium was awash in blue and white and producing a bone-chilling atmosphere. The decibel levels reached during the El Salvadorian national anthem were high enough to make even David Beckham blush.”[1]

This was the best Group A could do though. The next double headed was in Columbus and attendance was a flop at a group low of only 7,059. Columbus was a nice small stadium with natural grass however no on in Columbus cared. The Gold Cup may never return to Columbus after this attendance figure. The group recovered somewhat with 17,269 in Miami. The atmosphere was great however the only problem at FUI stadium “The Cage” was artificial Turf. This will be a problem for any future MLS franchise looking to play in or near Miami looking for a stadium. Group A total cam in at a respectable 51,328 total.

Group B had the favorite USA (the host) and regional power Honduras come in a predictable 1 and 2 to advance. Haiti also made the knockout round with a win over lowly Grenada and a tie against the Yanks. That would be the highlight for Haiti but they did get their fans excited at Gillette Stadium with the historic 2:2 tie. The games opened with a huge disappointment in Seattle. The Seattle Sounders were averaging about 28,000 for league games and officials wanted to capitalize on this factor. They even played the host there but a small crowd of 15,387 shoed in Seattle. This was the second lowest total of all games in the Gold Cup. IT could have been the match up however Seattle was a big let down. RFK had 26,079 in attendance and about ½ were Yanks fans. This was good after Honduras fans outnumbered Yanks in Chicago earlier in the year for a WCQ game. The group again went to Gillette stadium and again Gillette showed it’s consistency and had 24,137 in attendance. The group outpaced Group A with 65,603 Total spectators. Seattle will be the odd city out next Gold Cup.

Group C the favorites Mexico win this group in typical style. They beat Nicaragua and Guadeloupe and tied Panama in another physical game. Guadeloupe again made the knock out round coming in second with 6 points. Guadeloupe has now been playing very well for 4 years and their style of play is tactically sound. Nicaragua was happy to be there and has a long way to go before it becomes a consistent team. They did not score a goal nor were they an embarrassment. Hopefully they can repeat their UNCAF magic and become a consistent player in CONCACAF. The Central American Champion, Panama, slipped into the knockout round with 4 points getting by Jamaica and El Salvador.

This group led attendance because of Mexico. 32,500 turned out in Oakland which was on grass field. Then 47,714 turned out to see Mexico take on and tie feisty Panama in Reliant stadium in Houston. Houston continues to be a Gold cup favorite with it’s huge Mexican fans base. The group then traveled to Phoenix and the 3rd smallest crowd of only 23,876 watched this vital match. It is safe to say Phoenix had it’s chance to shine but the Gold Cup will avoid Phoenix in the near future.

The group total attendance of 2009 was inline with the 2007 total. I do not know if playing only 1 game at each venue prevented a bigger discrepancy but facts are facts and there was not a huge dip.

The quarter finals in Philly pitted the highly confident Canucks against the Catrachoes. The feature game had the Yanks against Panama. I was very disappointed in the very physical Panamanian national team. They played like thugs and wined like babies after the game was over. There was a clear foul in the box against Cooper and the correct call was made. Panama lost but almost assaulted the ref after the game. The Canucks finally lost to Honduras 1:0. Attendance in Philly was a respectable 31,087 but was no where near the 82,252 that packed into Cowboy stadium. That is correct 82,252 and this is why Mexico is the lead factor in attendance. They have almost 3 times as many fans as any other national team in the states.

The semi final in Chicago turned out 55,173 with Yanks beating Honduras again 2:0 and Mexico tying Costa Rica 1:1. This game had to be decided on penalty kicks. Mexico outlasted Costa Rica and another Mexico-USA match happened.

Mexico took a test book approach to control the fast athletic yank team by playing a very conscience ball control game. El Tri slaughter the Yanks 5:0 in front of 79,156 fans at Giants Stadium near New York. The fans were mostly Mexican in New York and they had a lot to cheer about. They had not beaten the yanks on US soil since 1999.

Mexico beating the yanks to give CONCACAF a new champion was good for CONCACAF and great to revitalize Mexico. They Yanks had won 3 of the last 4 Gold Cups and the tournament was getting a little predictable. Mexico had been lacking in confidence and are in 4th place in WCQ. This will be a huge boost for their confidence going forward. Whether we want to admit it or not CONCACAFR needs Mexico in the World Cup. They are a team that consistently plays well on the World stage and they will have a good chance of advancing out of group play.

Total Attendance 2005 Gold Cup 340,131 (Average Att 26164)

Total Attendance 2007 Gold Cup 488,772 (Average Att 37597)

Total Attendance 2009 Gold Cup 468,688 (Average Att 36053)



Anonymous said...

good to see your blog back hopefully you can write about the up and coming qualifiers

Michael said...

This article was helpful as well. I'm glad I discovered you blog. Where do you get your numbers from? And are there any figures as to the percentages of each nationality in attendance at the various matches, ie Gold Cup, MLS, etc.?