ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – There is still excitement around the New Mexico United soccer team but attendance is down. It’s something people behind the city’s soccer stadium study saw coming. New Mexico United is still the second most popular team in the United Soccer League. However, crowds are down more than 30% from their first season in 2019.
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“Before we kicked the ball this year… we were thinking we may have games with no fans at all or 1,500 fans and best case scenario and obviously things improved rapidly. With the delta variant, we’re also seeing a step back,” said Peter Trevisani, owner of New Mexico United.
In 2019, the team was averaging more than 12,000 fans at each home game, number one in the USL. Now, that number is down to about 8,400 a game. The dip in crowds is happening as the team continues their pitch for the city to build a 10,000 to 12,000 seat stadium downtown.
Aside from the pandemic and fluctuating capacity limits, another possible reason for the drop is that the ‘honeymoon phase’ has worn off a bit. They’re also not winning as much as they did a couple of years ago.
Though Trevisani believes there’s still time to turn the season around. “I can’t wait for Saturday. I know the people that are going to be there are going to be super enthusiastic. We have a big game on the field. We need to get three points against a tough opponent… if we do… we’re right back in the middle of the playoff hunt,” Trevisani said.
New Mexico United has ten games left and six of them are at home including Saturday night’s game against Salt Lake City. Most teams in the USL have also seen a lot fewer fans in the stands this year. Meanwhile, attendance at Minor League Baseball games is also way down across the country.
The Albuquerque Isotopes are averaging 5,000 a game this season. Usually one of the top draws in the minors at 7,000 to 8,000 a game. The Isotopes did have the top single-game attendance in the country, pulling 13,000 for their July 4 fireworks night.