AP underreports Minnesota United attendance, only off by 7,700 people

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Which one of these people isn't people, Associated Press? Huh? Andy Witchger, City Pages

Minnesota United FC are sitting bottom of the table in Major League Soccer, and the league is currently on break while the United States (and other nations) compete in the Gold Cup. 

That might mean a lull in good news for the first-year MLS club. Not so! Yesterday, the team added Michael Boxall, a 28-year-old defender with international experience for his home country of New Zealand.

And this week brought even better news, via the Associated Press: Turns out Minnesota doesn't have the lowest attendance in the entire damn league, as would have been the case if a previously reported figure was correct, and in fact, has middle-of-the-road attendance.

Hooray?

The story in question was actually focused on the Atlanta United, Minnesota's fellow newcomer to the league this season. Atlanta is kicking ass, attendance-wise, with a league-leading average of 46,482 home fans packing Bobby Dodd Stadium, also home to Georgia Tech.

That puts Atlanta comfortably ahead of second-place Seattle Sounders (42,628), whose fans are usually credited as among the most loyal in the league.

For comparison's sake, the AP article also included Minnesota's average home attendance tally, which it reported as 12,260. That'd be dead last in MLS, and about thirty-four thousand behind Atlanta. If every living person in Oakdale and Wayzata all started going to games, Minnesota would still be behind. 

Or would've been, if that number was correct. The AP later updated its report with a far heartier figure, as noted in a correction attached to the story: "In a story July 12 about MLS attendance, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Minnesota United FC's average home attendance is 12,260. Minnesota United FC's average home attendance is 19,960."

Not so dire after all. We're just a Fridley away from passing Atlanta! 

That number actually puts United 12th in the 22-team league, sandwiched in between Sporting Kansas City (19,626) and the New York Red Bulls (20,265), both of which have far longer histories as franchises, and much better records this season.

United's attendance, achieved while playing in a loaner location at TCF Bank Stadium, is just about in line with a sellout at the $150 million soccer-specific stadium the team's having built in St. Paul, which is set to open in 2019. 

CORRECTION: This post originally stated the Atlanta United play in Mercedes-Benz Stadium; they will, but not until September. The irony of this story needing a correction is probably lost on us.


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