Why RBNY's Champions League Attendance Wasn't All That Bad

Critics may have been a little harsh on RBNY's CCL attendance last week
by Daniel Feuerstein   |   Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Branded Bulls – column on Red Bull NY (RBNY – NYRB) & the New Jersey area soccer scene.

On a night where history was made once again at Red Bull Arena, there was an international match of major proportions took place. This time, it wasn’t a friendly against European clubs getting ready for their season.

Rather, the El Salvadorian club Club Deportivo F.A.S. played against the New York Red Bulls in their group of the CONCACAF Champions League.

But the attendance hasn’t bee good enough for some critics. It’s as though people want the same attendance as bigger international friendlies when this tournament hasn’t had the same prestige as those international continental club tournaments have gone in Europe or South America.

The total attendance was announced as over 11,000, and that came on a week night. The match ended with a 2-goal clean sheet victory that could’ve have easily been a 10-goal whipping if not for Tim Cahill’s shortcomings up front, or if Saer Sene scored more than a goal.

It’s the opinion of some that soccer hasn’t grown inside the country.

But this is untrue.

More than 11,000 filled into Red Bull Arena for a CCL game outside of a friendly with a top Euro club is absolutely outstanding, especially since the 2009-10 qualifying round against a side from Trinidad & Tobago in the former qualifying round of the tournament at Giants Stadium had tons of empty seats back in the day of an NFL Stadium being used for soccer.

Even at the Stub Hub Center when the LA Galaxy played in the group stage, there were no signs of Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane or when David Beckham was still playing, yet you had barely any section filled for those group stage matches.

But the first time at Red Bull Arena, attendance was more than 10,000.

The truth is simple and easy to assess – the UEFA Champions League and CONMEBOL’s Copa Libertadores are the top 2 club championships within their respective continents. And they have plenty of history behind it, while CONCACAF’s Champions League is still growing and needs to improve. At the moment, it’s still lacking a bit.

But it’s easier to point the fingers of blame and say that it’s not working when there is growth. To be honest I wasn’t expecting 11,000-plus on Tuesday, August 23, in fact I was expecting a lot less but those who came impressed me when I saw the lower bowl more than half filled with several around the first 2 rows in the upper bowl.

In my eyes that’s a victory and it’s nothing to sneeze at.


Ramapo College
Club Domestic:
Red Bull NY
Club Foreign:
PSG, ManU, Maccabbi Haifa
Original New York Cosmos fan, reborn soccer fan since 1994 USA World Cup. Feuerstein’s Fire podcast host. Covers NY Red Bulls for SN, and promotes all levels of American soccer from both sides of issues.