Ending the regular season for a third consecutive year in a sold-out Rio Tinto Stadium was perhaps no surprise for Real Salt Lake's staff, but the frequency with which they otherwise saw sellout crowds might be.
Nine sellouts in MLS matches and two in CONCACAF Champions League, a competition most teams fail to even half-fill their stadiums for, speaks well to the growing popularity and success of Real Salt Lake.
With average attendance up 8.5 percent, Real Salt Lake can take some encouragement that the numbers came even as RSL suffered at home, especially in comparison to the year of "The Fortress" in 2010.
What's more, the deviation between crowd size has decreased - attendance is on the rise in a big way. With attendances on the rise across MLS, it's perhaps not entirely surprising that Real Salt Lake has seen boosted crowds as well.
Average MLS attendance has increased about 5.2 percent, although figures from Montreal Impact do sway things a bit, as the club wasn't involved in MLS play last year. At about 8.5 percent, RSL is slightly ahead of the pace, although the just-over-20,000 capacity Rio Tinto Stadium will certainly scupper that lead. It would require just under 5 percent growth to ensure RSL's home stadium is filled in every MLS match, barring any expansion.
Clearly, the goal is more acutely focused: Sign up more season ticket holders first and foremost, one would readily imagine, would be the primary goal. With that comes an almost inevitable increase in attendance.
Although season ticket numbers aren't, as far as I know, made entirely public, the increase in RSL's attendance is surely down, in part, to an increase in season ticket holders.
While the increase in frequency of sellouts gives us more data to work with, too, when we're wondering how RSL performs in front of sellout crowds, we still can't form any distinct conclusions. Averaging 2.06 points per home match with a standard deviation of 1.34, the 1.55 points gained per sellout is well within normal statistical deviation.
Sold out matches
- Oct. 27, RSL 0-0 Vancouver Whitecaps: 20,483
- Sept. 22, RSL 2-1 Portland Timbers, 20,524
- Sept. 1, RSL 1-0 DC United, 20,334
- Aug. 18, RSL 1-2 FC Dallas, 20,281
- July 21, RSL 2-0 Colorado Rapids, 19,492 (Reduced seating for event)
- July 4, RSL 0-0 Seattle Sounders, 20,363
- June 20, RSL 2-3 LA Galaxy, 20,382
- April 4, RSL 1-0 Montreal Impact
- March 24, RSL 0-1 Chivas USA
Growth by year