Major League Soccer has finally broken through, according to Darren Eales, the president of professional soccer club Atlanta United FC, who describes his city as the hotbed for U.S. soccer.
“We always joke about this being the next big sport in America – they’ve been saying it since the ’70s,” he told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on “Varney & Co.”
Eales, a Brown University hall-of-famer who played U.S. professional soccer player, cited the youth and international demographics of the game’s most loyal fans as keys to success.
Currently in its second season Atlanta United FC holds the single-game attendance record in American soccer and expects to draw an average of 53,000 fans to each game this year.
That compares with the New York Yankees’ average attendance of about 40,000. A Major League Soccer team plays 34 regular-season games while a Major League Baseball team plays 162.
Representatives for the Yankees hadn’t responded to a request for comment from FOX Business at the time of publication.
Last year, the Atlanta team drew more than 70,000 to the first match of its inaugural season and led the league in attendance.
Eales expects his team to rank 15th worldwide in average attendance.