Lionel Messi boosts MLS attendance 7% at mid-season mark

Major League Soccer said on Monday that it is on pace to achieve record attendance numbers in 2024.

Roughly halfway through the 2024 regular season, the league is averaging 23,246 fans per game, a 7% increase from this time a year ago, when it was averaging 21,734.

The record average attendance over the course of a season is 22,111 fans per game.

If MLS can maintain the current pace over the course of the season, average attendance will be up 5.1%.

Not surprisingly, the presence of Lionel Messi with Inter Miami CF is the primary driver behind the increase.

Among the seven teams with double digit increases in average attendance year-over-year not including Miami — CF Montréal, the Chicago Fire, the LA Galaxy, the New England Revolution, the New York Red Bulls, Orlando City, Sporting Kansas City, and the Vancouver Whitecaps — six of those teams have hosted Inter Miami.

The Herons’ average home attendance is up 26.6% from this time last year.

In 2024, 25 of the league’s 29 teams are up or even in attendance compared to the same date a year ago.

Nearly 6.5 million fans have attended MLS matches already this season, 725,000 more fans than the same time in 2023.

Fifteen matches have featured attendance numbers in excess of 40,000, the most through this date in league history.