Saturday, 20 Apr 2024

Atlanta United FC: Revolutionizing MLS Expansion Teams

When it comes to new teams in any sports league, fans usually brace themselves for a rocky start. However, Atlanta United FC has shattered all expectations. In just their first year, this Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team has taken the league by storm. From breaking attendance records to captivating fans with a unique viewing experience, Atlanta United FC is on track to becoming the most successful expansion team in MLS history.

Attendance Records Toppled

Attendance has been a key measure of Atlanta United FC’s success. Their matches consistently draw massive crowds, filling up their temporary home at Bobby Dodd Stadium. According to ATLUTD, the club recorded an impressive total of 147,230 fans at their first three home matches, the highest for any MLS team. With an average attendance of 46,381 fans per game, Atlanta United FC surpasses the league average of 21,562, as reported by Fox Sports.

MLS Average Attendance Per Year for Expansion Team

The Million-Fan Club?

Atlanta United FC’s fanbase has been nothing short of extraordinary. The team has already welcomed over 400,000 fans to its first nine home games. If the momentum continues, Atlanta United FC has a shot at surpassing the coveted one million-fan mark, an unprecedented feat in MLS history.

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Rank Team Average Total Matches
1 Atlanta United FC 46,318 416,864
2 Seattle Sounders 42,726 427,263
3 Toronto FC 27,105 298,152
4 Orlando City SC 25,279 303,353
5 NYC FC 22,979 275,746

(Source: Pesstatsdatabase)

Club President Darren Eales attributes their success to the incredible atmosphere created by the fans. He highlights the unique traditions, such as synchronized chants and impressive Tifos (large flags), which contribute to the electric energy in the stadium. Atlanta United FC not only attracts fans but also retains them with their outstanding matchday experience.

Record-Breaking Expansion Team

Atlanta United FC’s dominance extends beyond attendance records. Since the inception of the MLS in 1996, the league has seen a total of 16 expansion teams. Out of all these teams, Atlanta United FC stands out as the most successful. In their inaugural season, they are set to surpass the average attendance per game of all previous expansion teams.

Table showing the average home attendance for soccer expansion teams.

The team’s on-field success, coupled with their imminent move to the state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium, positions Atlanta United FC as a force to be reckoned with. With a seating capacity of 83,000, this new stadium offers an unparalleled viewing experience.

It’s All About Millennials

Atlanta’s success as an expansion location can be attributed to several factors. The city boasts a rapidly growing population of young adults with disposable incomes—a demographic that has embraced MLS fervently. Professor Darin W. White of Samford University predicts a bright future for the league and believes that investing in the MLS is a smart move.

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Major League Soccer Attendance 1996 to 2017

(Source: Samford University)

Retaining Fans Through Innovation

Atlanta United FC has employed various marketing strategies to ensure that fans keep coming back. Even in their temporary home, the club has implemented affordable food prices and convenient transit options. Fans can enjoy unlimited soda refills for just $2, and the stadium’s proximity to the MARTA subway system allows for easy transportation.

The future looks even brighter for Atlanta United FC as they prepare to move to the impressive Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Moreover, the team has expanded its reach by partnering with Fox Sports South, reaching approximately 10 million viewers across six southern states.

With their incredible achievements so far, Atlanta United FC has defied all expectations. President Darren Eales marvels at the club’s rapid growth, stating, “No one in their wildest dreams thought that we’d be sitting here today.” However, to truly make history, Atlanta United FC must achieve success in the playoffs. Winning the MLS Cup in their inaugural season would be the ultimate triumph for this remarkable expansion team.


Q: How does Atlanta United FC compare to other MLS expansion teams in terms of attendance?
A: Atlanta United FC has shattered all attendance records for MLS expansion teams. Their average attendance per game far surpasses the league average, establishing them as the most successful expansion team in history.

Q: Will Atlanta United FC surpass the one million-fan mark?
A: If their current attendance momentum continues, Atlanta United FC has a strong chance of surpassing one million fans in their first season, an unprecedented achievement in MLS history.

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Atlanta United FC has revolutionized the concept of MLS expansion teams. With their record-breaking attendance, captivating matchday experience, and plans to move into the state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the team has firmly established itself as the most successful expansion team in MLS history. Atlanta’s massive millennial population and the growing popularity of soccer in the city are key factors contributing to the team’s astonishing success. As Atlanta United FC continues to make waves, it’s clear that they are a force to be reckoned with in American soccer.