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Have mainstream sports finally bounced back after 2020?

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Whilst many would have been eager to get back to a sports stadium and support their favorite team in person and in the stands, it would seem that it could take some time before the same kind of pre-pandemic numbers are reached.

It is clear that there are many supporters who have decided enough is enough and have worn their team’s colors to the stadium to encourage the team as they try and support them to a win, although recent reports suggest numbers are slow across the entire sporting world at the moment.

Of course, many will have used the campaigns that they were unable to attend venues in different ways, with some likely to have looked and used sportsbooks that offered them the best odds in sports betting available, whilst others would have been happy enough to shout at a TV screen when watching the action.

Premier League soccer attendances are yet to fully recover

According to some data that has been released, it would seem the attendance numbers that England’s Premier League used to experience are yet to return to the levels that had once been enjoyed in 2019/20.

Although the competition is just under halfway through the 21/22 campaign, earlier figures had suggested that attendances were down on those that were experienced in 19/20. However, it does need to be noted that the percentage is very small.

Teams such as Leeds United and Brentford have been able to see the figures be as high as possible as it is the first opportunity fans will have had to watch their team in the top-flight, although others will point to the fact that ticket prices have continued to increase and are perhaps unaffordable currently, especially after a hard 18 months or so.

The NFL shows interesting attendance data

Much like the Premier League, the National Football League (NFL) is one of the biggest sporting competitions around the world and one in which many will look to as a case study for whether mainstream sports have been able to fully bounce back after an impactful 2020.

Again, like the soccer competition, football seems to have had its ups and downs recently in regards to attendance, although there could be some outliers as to why the data currently being shown is what it currently is.

The league’s overall attendance has been relatively strong this season as fans have been able to return to stadiums all over America, with big crowds at venues such as the Las Vegas Radiers’ Allegiant Stadium (93.9% capacity) and the shared SoFi Stadium as the Los Angeles Rams (99.6%) and Los Angeles Chargers (98.2%) having been witnessed. However, it is also the first season in which fans of all three franchises will have been able to go to the new home of each team.

Unfortunately, there are NFL teams that are showing issues in regards to attendances, although this might be based on the fact that there are perhaps some sporting disclaimers that may have led to the fact that fans have opted to stay away. For instance, the Washington Football Team has yet to have announced an attendance of 80% capacity or over.

Teams in New York (New York Giants and New York Jets) and Detroit (Detroit Lions) are franchises that have been called out in the past for low attendances, though, which will have brought the overall number down but this does not mean that mainstream sports have not bounced back. Nonetheless, there are seven teams below 90% capacity overall compared to three in 2019 before the pandemic.

Conclusion

By simply looking at the attendances that can be seen at various sporting venues around the world, it would be safe to assume that mainstream sports have bounced back from the disaster of 2020, although perhaps not as quickly as many may have expected them to.

From television to the internet platform, Jonathan switched his journey in digital media with Bigtime Daily. He served as a journalist for popular news channels and currently contributes his experience for Bigtime Daily by writing about the tech domain.

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Sports

Why USL2 is the Coolest Soccer League in the USA

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Soccer continues to grow in popularity in the USA. The most obvious signs of this are in the MLS (Major League Soccer), which has expanded to 28 teams, with two more franchises scheduled to join by 2023. New teams such as LAFC, Austin FC, and Charlotte FC, who broke the MLS attendance record in their first game, have been well received by their local communities. In addition, they have helped to raise the profile of the sport with some clever branding and community engagement.

Cult following

The MLS has also picked up many new fans from abroad. The creation of fan groups, inspired by European “Ultras”, has resulted in a unique atmosphere. At first, this seemed manufactured, but it has taken on a life of its own. Many MLS teams are adopted by the local Hispanic communities, but they have also gained popularity amongst the LGBT communities, with rainbow pride flags now a regular feature in stadiums across the country.

Community spirit

However, it’s not just the Major League that has developed a cult following. In the lower leagues, there are some incredible soccer communities developing. The USL2 (United Soccer League Two) is a hotbed of cult teams, cool branding, and community spirit.

One such team is the Minneapolis City Soccer Club. The club is known as the Crows, and this is reflected in their logo, which was on a shortlist of five in a vote for the best crest in the league. Their Citizens support group are among the most loyal in the division and their groundbreaking soccer shirts are sought by collectors across the globe. The community-run club previously competed in the NPSL (National Premier Soccer League), winning the North Conference in 2018, 2019, and 2021. They stepped up to the USL2 in 2022.

A new look for West Virginia

Another new name to appear in 2021 was West Virginia United, which reached the conference playoffs. West Virginia has always lacked any major league sports teams but has a thriving college sports scene. It is also becoming a major destination for sports and casino gambling in the east of the country thanks to its five West Virginia online casinos, which offer online sports wagering. This growth in the gambling sector is expected to have a knock-on effect on the sports scene as more revenue is generated in the region. Like Minneapolis, West Virginia has also nailed their branding with a super cool logo that pays pay homage to the blue ridge mountains. The rebranding coincided with a kit deal with major sports brand Puma.

The team began life as West Virginia Chaos in 2003 before merging with the youth teams of Charleston FC and Fury Soccer Club to form West Virginia Alliance FC in 2018. They joined USL2 in 2019 and it is hoped that the latest change of name will be permanent as the club looks to provide a stable first-team environment in the fourth tier of the US soccer, as well as a development team in the USL Academy system.

Cool branding

Surprisingly, West Virginia United did not make the final shortlist for the best new crest in the USL2 poll. Nonetheless, they were up against some stiff competition, most notably, winners One Knoxville SC who made a brilliant video to show how their crest was designed.

Other teams featured in the vote were Louisiana-based Blue Goose SC, Ballard FC of Washington, and Vermont Green FC, but these teams are about more than just branding.

In the tier above (USL1), there are also some cult clubs including Forward Madison FC, the self-styled “world’s second favorite team.” They made an instant impact after launching in 2019 thanks to their smart social media work and colorful kit designs, but it is USL2 that is leading the way in the fast-growing world of cult community soccer clubs.

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