It is no understatement that perhaps the revelation of the entire 2017 MLS season didn’t even happen on the field. Atlanta United’s #17, the supporters, was perhaps the biggest headline of the year, breaking record after record along the way.
It all started with the first game, when more than 55,000 Five Stripes fans decked out in red, black and gold showed up in force at Bobby Dodd Stadium. But it didn’t stop there, with sellout crowd after sellout crowd becoming the norm throughout the season. Over the course of the season, Atlanta United averaged 48,200 people per game, the best ever for any MLS team.
But that doesn’t fully encapsulate the crowds at Atlanta United matches, which routinely surpassed that impressive number. The first time Atlanta United opened the upper deck of Mercedes-Benz Stadium for soccer fans, the red, black and gold fans showed up with an incredible 70,425 fans, the most ever for an MLS regular-season game. But they would do one better later in the year, when the upper deck was opened again for the regular season finale against Toronto FC. Already the owners of the single-match attendance record, Atlanta outdid itself to break its own record with 71,874 fans in attendance to claim both of the top two attendance records in MLS regular season history.
But after becoming the first expansion team since 2009 to secure an MLS Cup Playoff bid, the Atlanta fans saw another record to break. And they did it in style, drawing 67,221 for a first-round match on a Thursday, the most ever for an MLS playoff match. That brings us to the final attendance number, which was unsurprisingly another MLS record. Already having smashed Orlando City’s total attendance record for an expansion team in September, Atlanta fans looked for the most ever – and achieved it. A total of 886,625 tickets were purchased for Atlanta United matches this year, the highest total attendance number for a season in MLS history.
So in summation, Atlanta United supporters broke the record for: total regular season attendance, highest average attendance, the highest regular season single-match attendance – twice – and the highest attendance for an MLS Cup Playoff game. It’s now wonder why club president Darren Eales called our #17 this year’s Atlanta United MVP.