Soccer is often thought to be the most popular sport in the world, but it has had a hard time making headway with sports fans in the United States. The sport has started to gain popularity in the U.S. in recent years, thanks in large part to the success of the Women’s National Team.
Soccer is more popular in some American cities than others. Here are some of the country’s biggest soccer cities, as ranked by WalletHub., based on the popularity and success of each city’s teams in the MLS, NWSL, and USL, as well as any men’s and women’s collegiate teams in the area.
No. 5: Seattle
Seattle’s ranking is largely dependent on the popularity of its MLS and NWSL teams, as those teams are the third and fourth best-performing teams in their respective leagues.
Its ranking is hampered by its collegiate teams, with Seattle’s women’s Division I teams ranking 144th of the 280 cities surveyed by WalletHub.
No. 4: Portland, Oregon
Seattle’s neighbor in the Northwest, Portland has the top-ranked NWSL team in the study, and the MLS Portland Timbers placed 10th in the study. The college teams again kept the city’s overall rank down, as the men’s college teams ranked 147th and the women’s 111th. Portland’s NWSL club is the second best-performing per the ranking.
No. 3: Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City also has its high ranking thanks to its professional teams, with its MLS, NWSL, and USL teams all ranking in the top 10 in their respective leagues. Salt Lake City ranks second among midsize cities of 100,000 to 300,000 people.
No. 2: Orlando
Orlando tops WalletHub’s list among the midsize cities studied, and its MLS and NWSL teams both rank in the top five. Orlando is tied for first with the most-engaged fans in both the MLS and NWSL.
No. 1: Los Angeles
Los Angeles sits atop the list in WalletHub’s rankings, thanks in large part to its MLS teams, the L.A. Galaxy and Los Angeles FC, which rank No. 1 in the study. L.A. also ranks 10th among NWSL cities.
Other takeaways from the study
Other than the overall rankings, WalletHub also broke out lists ranking such categories as the highest and lowest prices for season tickets for the MLS and NWSL, as well as the highest and lowest stadium capacities and the most- and least-engaged soccer fans in those leagues. Let’s take a look at some of those lists.
Lowest and highest season ticket prices (MLS)
Orlando has the lowest season ticket prices in the MLS, with Dallas coming in at No. 2. Rounding out the top five lowest prices are Cincinnati, Denver, and Chicago.
The cities with the highest minimum season ticket prices for MLS teams are Washington, D.C., Portland, Houston, Kansas City, Mo., and Atlanta.
Lowest and highest season ticket prices (NWSL)
In the NWSL, Salt Lake City has the lowest season ticket pricing, followed by Cary, N.C., Portland, and Orlando.
The cities with the highest minimum season ticket prices in the NWSL are New Brunswick, N.J., Chicago, Seattle, Houston, and Washington, D.C.
Lowest and highest stadium capacities (MLS)
The MLS stadiums with the lowest stadium capacities are located in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston, Chicago, and New York.
As far as the highest MLS stadium capacities, Cincinnati is No. 1, followed by Salt Lake City, Orlando, Atlanta, and Seattle. It is surprising to see some smaller cities like Orlando on the list.
Lowest and highest stadium capacities (NWSL)
The NWSL stadiums with the lowest stadium capacities are in Portland, Houston, Seattle, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.
If you want to visit the NWSL stadiums with the highest capacities, you’ll have to visit Salt Lake City, Orlando, New Brunswick, and Cary.
Least- and most-engaged fans (MLS)
According to WalletHub, the least-engaged MLS fans are in San Jose, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
The most-engaged fans for the MLS are in Orlando, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Kansas City.
Least- and most-engaged fans (NWSL)
In the NWSL, the least-engaged fans are in Cary, Washington, D.C., Salt Lake City, Houston, and Chicago.
The most-engaged soccer fans in the NWSL are in New Brunswick, Orlando, Portland, and Seattle.