Listen: Soccer, Atlanta United And Atlanta discussed on All Things Considered
"Up at watch party to cheer the team playing a semi final game in New York. The fan energy was electric. I actually believe in the same all the way to be awesome. And before the team even left the field that night to championship game happening in Atlanta tomorrow sold out again, that's about seventy two thousand people keep in mind. The average attendance of an American pro soccer game is more like twenty two thousand Atlanta United's numbers are better than some pro football crowds. But how well the games are fun Atlanta United's owner Arthur blank also owns the falcons and opened a brand new stadium for the team's last year, but United games don't feel like they're in a football stadium all the sign inches digital. There's barely a trace of the falcons on a soccer day. Katie Griggs who runs business operations for United says that was a deliberate business decision. We have the ability to truly shift the physical infrastructure of the stadium to accommodate a different sport. In a way that is meaningful and authentic and not simply an afterthought. It showed fans that soccer was a priority. Another business decision. That's building. Goodwill, cheap concessions. Hotdogs are two dollars at the baseball stadium across town their six fifty and then there's some of the team blink hired management with global soccer pedigrees who in turn attracted talented young players. But okay, a fun stadium and good players who are winning games. Still where are all these southern fans coming from mats to started a petition back in twenty eleven to bring pro soccer to Atlanta. And even he is surprised I was never expecting seventy thousand people selling out every game breaking records upon records and really setting a new standard for the league in having all eyes of the world. Look at me like holy crap. Atlanta's a soccer down one reason he says is Atlanta United has a clean soccer slate to take advantage of there's a lot of people that I know that moved to Atlanta recently brought all their original teams in the other sports. Whether it's NFL and be a major league baseball the team that their families have been fans of for generations. They don't have a soccer team. Plus, there's the general rise in American soccer popularity. Soccer TV viewership is. Up while football's is shrinking soccer games. Don't stop for commercial breaks and the games are simply shorter. These are all reasons for the trend to continue says Matt Doyle, a columnist for MLS thirty five years ago when I was growing up major league baseball was the undisputed number one sport among all age groups, but today baseball is number three behind basketball and football. And soccer is soon expected to move into third place ahead of baseball. Here's Greg's again with the team. It's a serendipitous collision of time opportunity market where fundamentally our role is to not screw it up. But Atlanta's sports fans have a reputation to disprove that. They only support teams when they're winning the city's basketball baseball and even football teams are well aware of that. No, one knows if a stereotype will hold true here until Atlanta United starts losing for NPR news. I'm hurt in Atlanta.."