Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Both Maria Burns Ortiz of FOX News Latino and Jim Edwards of CBS News presented articles during 2011 which showed just how far the MLS has come.
Burns Ortiz focused on the fact that soccer is on the way to overtaking hockey presenting information about attendance and ratings along the way. Here are a few tidbits from her article via FOX News Latino.
"In 2010, MLS average attendance was 16,675 spectators per game, a 4 percent increase over 2009. The NHL drew an average of 17,072 fans per game last season, a 3 percent drop from the year prior."
"Meanwhile, the NHL experienced a 66 percent decrease in average attendance with 20 of the league’s 30 teams posting lower attendance numbers in 2009-10 than 2008-09."
"With regard to ratings, MLS also is making a surge. The league’s televised 2011 opener between the Galaxy and Sounders on ESPN was up 129 percent in ratings and 112 percent in viewership, drawing 604,000 English-language viewers. The game’s Spanish-language broadcast on ESPN Deportes drew another 79,000 viewers, an increase of 84 percent from a year ago."
While Ortiz focused on these things, and points to one major component for that growth in the process, Edwards article later in the year looks mainly at the attendance.
He showed that the MLS had indeed surpassed the NHL and the NBA in attendance but also spoke of one thing to take into account. Via CBS News:
"Of course, mere attendance at stadia isn't the full measure of a sport's popularity. The indoor arenas of basketball and hockey have structurally smaller audience capacities than the capacious outdoor arenas of football. And percentage attendance at NBA and NHL games tends to be nearer capacity than attendance at soccer."
That statement concerning the difference in capacity and the percentage of attendance means that that those numbers shouldn't be blown out of proportion but they are still important.
Either way, both these articles show how things have changed in the sporting landscape so far, and because it is up it, is very likely that things will continue to get better for the MLS and soccer in general.