MIAMI, Fla. April 9, 2012 - Opening day attendance for the North American Soccer League (NASL) increased by 20% for the four matches on Saturday night, April 7, compared to the same Saturday night home openers in 2011. A total of 19,424 fans (4,859 average) attended NASL games this past weekend; on April 9, 2011 a combined 16,212 fans (4,053 average) turned out for the four matches which opened last year’s regular season. Saturday’s “Champions Challenge” game at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome between the Minnesota Stars and Carolina RailHawks highlighted the weekend and was watched by 8,693 fans. The increase in attendance was achieved despite the use of a limited-capacity temporary facility in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, while the Islanders wait for renovations at Estadio Loubriel to be completed later this summer.
The Atlanta Silverbacks drew a capacity crowd of 5,000 to Silverbacks Park and 4,779 watched the Fort Lauderdale Strikers nip FC Edmonton 1-0 at Lockhart Stadium. Puerto Rico downed the Tampa Bay Rowdies 1-0 at the Bayamón Soccer Complex before 952 Islander fans.
“The strong crowd figures around the league for our Opening Kick 2012 demonstrate the hard work our teams have done in their local markets over the off-season as well as the growing interest in the sport of soccer and the NASL in North America. We appreciate this show of support from our fans and look forward to next weekend’s games when the San Antonio Scorpions hold the first home opener in team history, the newly rebranded Tampa Bay Rowdies put on their home opener, and last year’s points leader Carolina RailHawks stage their first home game of 2012,” said NASL Commissioner David Downs.
The second weekend of 2012 NASL action includes three matches on Saturday night, April 14. Sunday, April 15, the Scorpions entertain the 1-0-0 Puerto Rico Islanders, at Heroes Stadium, San Antonio, Texas. For more information about the NASL, please visit NASL.com.