Whether Belmont or Plan B, Cosmos need Brooklyn bandage now

13978100_10154515815916091_661616296_oMeet the Team Night is easily my favorite night of the year (barring a championship). It’s the one night of the season I take off my press hat and go meet the team as a fan. The Cosmos had a Soccer Olympics events going on for the kids. And while this year’s event fell on a hotter day, it was a beautiful, sunny day in Long Island for a soccer game.

And all of an announced 2,871 were there to see it, the second smallest home attendance the Cosmos have announced in NASL play. In fact, both of the lowest attendances they have announced have happened this season.

It’s definitely a point for debate, but I firmly believe Nassau County cannot sustain this team for much longer and the Cosmos must now head for the boroughs, specifically Brooklyn.

Declining Attendance

Dropping attendance at Hofstra has been an often discussed issue among Cosmos fans and the league at large. And it’s hard not to notice.

2013 – The Reboot Year. The Cosmos experience one sell-out, the reboot match. While the remaining six home games don’t come close to repeating that achievement, none of them dip below 5,000 in attendance.

High – 11,929 / Low – 5,409 / Average – 6,859

Date Opponent Attendance
8/3/2013 Ft. Lauderdale Strikers 11929
8/24/2013 San Antonio Scorpions 6852
9/7/2013 Atlanta Silverbacks 5598
9/14/2013 Minnesota United 6081
9/29/2013 Tampa Bay Rowdies 6518
10/12/2013 Carolina RailHawks 5409
10/20/2013 FC Edmonton 5624

 

2014 – Sophomore Year. In their first full season of play, Cosmos attendance takes a notable drop. With nine matches out of fourteen over the 4000 mark, but only three crossing 5000, the attendance woes begin to become more visible.

High – 8,565 / Low – 3,091 / Average – 4,960

Date Opponent Attendance
4/13/2014 Atlanta Silverbacks 7906
4/26/2014 San Antonio Scorpions 4130
5/12/2014 Minnesota United 3091
5/24/2014 Indy Eleven 3581
6/8/2014 Ottawa Fury 6495
7/12/2014 San Antonio Scorpions 3806
8/2/2014 Carolina RailHawks 4649
8/6/2014 FC Edmonton 4524
8/23/2014 Minnesota United 3928
9/6/2014 Ft. Lauderdale Strikers 3626
9/13/2014 Atlanta Silverbacks 4502
10/4/2014 Indy Eleven 6225
10/11/2014 Ottawa Fury 4411
10/25/2014 Tampa Bay Rowdies 8565

 

2015 –  The Year of Raul. The Cosmos once again open up the season with a sell-out, only their second regular-season sellout in three years. However, even the presence of the Spaniard in his swansong isn’t enough as they once again post nine games over 4000 and move the needle up to five games over 5000.

High – 12,550 / Low – 3,326 / Average – 5,046

Date Opponent Attendance
4/18/2015 Tampa Bay Rowdies 12550
5/10/2015 FC Edmonton 3383
5/23/2015 San Antonio Scorpions 5032
6/13/2015 Jacksonville Armada 7353
7/5/2015 Indy Eleven 3647
8/2/2015 Ft. Lauderdale Strikers 4503
8/5/2015 Minnesota United 3607
8/15/2015 San Antonio Scorpions 4006
8/30/2015 Carolina RailHawks 5257
9/12/2015 Jacksonville Armada 5089
9/22/2015 Ottawa Fury 3438
10/4/2015 Atlanta Silverbacks 3326
10/11/2015 FC Edmonton 4286
10/31/2015 Tampa Bay Rowdies 5171

 

2016 – Not been a banner year for the Mos. It’s especially reflected in attendance. In nine home matches played, announced attendance has climbed over 5000 twice. More alarmingly, the team has posted its two lowest attendances since the reboot in this year alone and seven games have sat at or below the 4000 mark. Admittedly, it’s only been nine games in and the team tends to see an uptick in attendance towards season’s end, but only after a decent amount of poorly attended matches.

High – 6,243 / Low – 2,419 / Average – 3,902

Date Opponent Attendance
4/3/2016 Ottawa Fury 5094
4/10/2016 Jacksonville Armada 3685
5/1/2016 Carolina RailHawks 2419
5/22/2016 Tampa Bay Rowdies 6243
5/28/2016 Rayo OKC 4068
7/2/2016 Ottawa Fury 3518
7/13/2016 Jacksonville Armada 3827
7/30/2016 Puerto Rico FC 3391
8/7/2016 Rayo OKC 2871

 

For the sake of presenting a stable image of what NASL attendances look like, I’ve omitted US Open Cup, playoffs, and the one away league match in Brooklyn last year.

But, that does bring us to Brooklyn.

Last year, the Cosmos played two matches in Brooklyn. The first, a regular-season match against the Fury, drew an announced attendance of 5,279. Their second match was the NASL semifinal against the Fury in November. After not playing in Brooklyn for six months, with only advertising and street teams present in the weeks leading up to it, announced attendance did drop…to 5,061. This suggests, although it does not prove, that higher attendances can be found at a stadium that is more easily accessible.

 

Ease of transportation

To get to Shuart Stadium from New York City, you need to take whatever collection of trains and buses ($2.75 one-way/$5.50 RT) that gets you to the LIRR. The LIRR, from Atlantic Terminal or Penn Station, takes about another 40 minutes ($16 RT off-peak/$22.50 RT peak). And after all that is done, you hop on a shuttle bus for the last leg of the trip.

A friend of mine was traveling home with me on Sunday. His trip entailed an LIRR to Jamaica, another to Atlantic Terminal, a subway ride, then a transfer to another train. I told him that every game is a testament to how badly he wanted to go to a game.

And while that is amazing of him to do so, not everyone should have to or wants to prove their loyalty this way. it’s time-consuming and expensive.

A weekend game will cost you over $20 to get there and back. It’s almost $30 on a Wednesday night. Now, add in some family members and this trip begins to get prohibitively expensive.

Or you could spend $5.50 to get to MCU on public transportation with a Metrocard. That seems to work for the blue team up north.

Obviously, the drive for Long Islanders would not be easy. I’m not trying to write them off, but building from a bigger population center off a subway line should help boost attendance. And if there were really only 2,800 Long Islanders in attendance on Sunday night (and not everyone in that crowd was from LI), I have to question if the Nassau Country market can keep this team alive.

 

Population

Within a ten-mile radius of Shuart Stadium, there is an estimated population of 1,668,682. This is a population reliant on shuttle service (after the LIRR) or their own vehicles to get there.

Within a ten-mile radius of MCU Park, there are approximately 2,956,409 people who have their choice of four subway or four bus lines to get them there, aside from the driving option.

On average this season, the Cosmos have pulled in 3,902 per game or about .234% of the population within that ten-mile radius. Let’s say the Cosmos pull in that same percentage in Brooklyn? You’re now talking about 6,918 people attending your match, close to a sellout for MCU Park. And this is without factoring the larger population and cheaper costs of going to the game, or other intangibles like a game-day experience.

 

Game Day Experience

The current Cosmos game day experience is fun, but pretty small and lacking in range. You can go to the 5 Points tailgate. Or you can go to Fan Fest.

Or…maybe walk down the street a bit and go to McD’s or Chipotle or Dunkin’ Donuts. There’s nothing else around within reasonable walking distance.

MCU Park has a few more things to offer. Coney Island Brewery. The Boardwalk. The beach. Luna Park. The New York Aquarium. Nathan’s. There’s a pretty decent list that allows you to turn your game day into a day out and that’s even before any Fan Fest style activities.

Aside from those individuals that plan out their day around a Cosmos match, this potentially offers a new dynamic, an increase in walk-ups. Right now, if you’re at the Cosmos ticket office on game day, it’s because you were there for a game. There’s no real reason to be in the area otherwise. With plentiful pedestrian traffic in the area, the Cosmos stand a better chance of walk-ups.

 

Why wait?

If the Cosmos want to make a sizable splash in 2017, the time to move is before year’s end. The Cyclones conclude their season on September 4th. The Cosmos will only have four home games remaining (plus playoffs, but who knows). The club has already proven that with street teams and advertising, they can create a draw in Brooklyn.

Will attendance take a hit? Possibly. But, take a look at the numbers in Nassau and it’s hard to believe they’d be any worse there. And more importantly, they’d begin setting the groundwork of playing week in and week out at their new location for 2017.

Brooklyn is not the final solution for the New York Cosmos. But, it is a temporary one. The Nassau market is not keeping this team alive and the numbers all suggest that the only way this team stays afloat is by making the trek to Coney.

Now, the question is whether the club sees this the same way.

 

Nicks ThoughtsBrooklyn is not the answer but it is a much needed fix. Attendance is embarrassing and the atmosphere in the building, save for the energy created by the 5 points, is non-existent. Even if you are able to bring someone new out to the game, it’s not likely they’ll be drawn back.

The whole game day experience is ‘minor league’, which is the very thing the NASL has to fight so hard to prove its not.

MCU is still a minor league venue but it is more professional than Hofstra. You can buy beer at the seats and there is the unique experience of sitting down and watching soccer with Luna Park in the background.

But is it the ultimate destination? For those on LI and Queens, Sitting in Belt Parkway or BQE traffic on a Summer weekend will get old quick. The Subways will draw new fans to the games but that long ride from the City is not ideal. The biggest draw will be the local communities and the Cosmos will have to hit the ground running hard to be one with lower Brooklyn.

Year 1 of any new team/stadium will always be good but there is no guarantee that moving to MCU Park will mean that Years 2, 3 and 4 will not see a decrease in attendance.

18 thoughts on “Whether Belmont or Plan B, Cosmos need Brooklyn bandage now

  1. Why don’t you guys just admit the reboot has been a total failure? Nobody in this city cares about the Cosmos. Sorry boys, that’s not me trolling, that stating nothing more than an obvious fact.

    Moving to Brooklyn isn’t going to change a thing no matter how hard you wish it. Major League Soccer owns this town and the numbers bear it out. Again, not trolling, just presenting a reality check.

    • “MLS owns this town and the numbers bear it out”
      did you type that with a straight face? Again, not trolling, just have to ask.

      • I don’t what Cosmos kool aid you’re drinking, but 27,000
        and 19,000 > 3,000 per game. Full coverage in all 3 major newspapers > then being totally ignored and tv contracts with networks like YES and MSG > than OWS.

        So yeah, I’d say MLS owns this town every way imaginable and one has to be totally delusional to think otherwise.

        But hey, keep sitting out there at Shuart and pretending the Cosmos have some sort relevance in the New York sports market. It’s precious. Your stadium and team is about as dead as this web page.

        • dead as the web page you are commenting on? Again, was that typed with a stern face, confident face or a smiling face? just want to be clear.

          • The web page is pretty dead. There were a lot of you guys 4 years ago. Not many around now. The Cosmos were suppose to take over the city and win numerous US Open Cups and declare themselves the best team in North America. And the NASL the best league in the country. It has been a sad decline. The Cosmos draw flies, have no new stadium, and are totally ignored in the market. Every year they play the brand just diminishes. Even Raul was ignored by the NY media. At some point we have to admit the Cosmos coming back as a minor league soccer team was a terrible idea.

  2. The Cosmos are in a very difficult situation, they have not been able to develop a fan base, the cosmos fan base is those 3 to 4 thousand people that show up to watch their homes games. Look at the Redbulls and NYCFC they have developed large fan bases to attend their games , follow on social media, receive press coverage, are on Television and radio.

    Sadly for the Cosmos they have not done any of these things as an organization, there is no real TV deal, OWS is not where a NY team should be broadcasting their games, social media exposure is minimal, there is no press coverage , no radio coverage and playing in the minor leagues is killing them.

    You can blame hofstra all you want but please look at all the reason the cosmos are having a hard time drawing any fans to their games.

    I hate to say this but NASL is in a lot of trouble, Minnesota is leaving, OKC is probably gone after this season, FtLauderdale is also in financial trouble who knows how long they will be around, Miami DC is not drawing any fans as well.

    You cant keep a business running when you have no customers.

  3. “But is it the ultimate destination? For those on LI and Queens, Sitting in Belt Parkway or BQE traffic on a Summer weekend will get old quick. The Subways will draw new fans to the games but that long ride from the City is not ideal. The biggest draw will be the local communities and the Cosmos will have to hit the ground running hard to be one with lower Brooklyn.”

    Not as old as the drive from Brooklyn to Long Island has been for FOUR years.

    • smith, you are the the man for sticking around for as long as you have. Back and forth from Bklyn for 4 years is something that needs to be applauded. If it was up to me I would have the Front Office meet you so they could see what a true fan looks like. The misidentification of Long Island being a hot bed for soccer is the hoax that ideally is coming to an end in 2017. Please, please somebody, anybody, explain this situation to me. If the Long Island Fan who is not driving to Hofstra that is, wait for it, located in Long Island, please tell me why I should care if that same Long Island Fan is not going to drive to Bklyn?

  4. I have been saying this for a while. The Cosmos need to be on the subway line if they’re going to have any chance of competing with the considerable MLS marketing muscle. And frankly, I think they need to be in Brooklyn. And I can’t emphasize enough- Coney Island is awesome. So awesome that every time I go there I ask myself, “why the fuck don’t I come to Coney Island all the time?” And I have no answer for that. There are tons of people there in the summer, some of whom would love to see a soccer team called the cosmos who wear the same shirt Pele once wore. I think they should move to MCU next year and build their own stadium next to it as soon as they can. Fuck Belmont. Unlike
    some of the places that other NYC soccer team has been trying to build a stadium- like flushing meadows- Brooklyn and specifically Coney Island seems to really want a pro sports team to build a stadium there. Seems like there’s space to the west of MCU, and they should do it.

    • 100% agree. I’m a NYC-bred, BK-based Cosmos fan who will never in a million years support Red Bull or Man City Junior Varsity. There are plenty of people like me. I’ve been to Hofstra a few times, but it’s just so expensive to get there, time-consuming, and uncomfortable. MCU Park would be cheap and easy to get to for NYers. Attendance will definitely be higher there than in Hofstra.

      One warning: I went to the Cosmos game in MCU on May 2 last year. It was FREEZING. The park’s location right on the sea means that even late into the spring, fans will have to bundle up.

      • Well, that is true. It is ideal for the summer, less so for spring/fall. Still, leaps and bounds better than Hofstra and I really don’t see any other realistic sites for the team in NYC.

  5. Here we go again, NASL and cosmos won’t give up to MLS but both will have a slow death.
    Do I want that for cosmos, no. Do I care about NASL,no.
    Cosmos need to “renegotiate” with NASL and get their act together.
    Look at all MLS expansion and now with Chicago fire open for sale, then anything could happen. Cosmos need to be smart, red bull is for sale but red bull will wait to inflate the price and sale for triple or double.
    All cosmos fans should email cosmos owner and express interest in an MLS move, it’s now or never for cosmos.
    Cosmos will die again if they don’t get out of NASL.

    • Or, US Soccer and MLS come to their senses and join the rest of the soccer playing world and institute a pro-reg system here, then the Cosmos can play their way to the top (which makes a new stadium even more necessary).
      Unlikely? Yes, in the short term. Long term, maybe not, FIFA has already expressed ‘concern’ about the closed system of MLS and it remains to be seen if they will take any action or if they could, still, I wonder if this is the long game Cosmos ownership is playing.

      • If MLS had the cosmos, cosmos would be the most attractive team for big dps.
        Top teams for big dp names:
        Cosmos, the big history name team of USA.
        Miami, becks connection.
        Galaxy, history of big names.
        LAFC, big money hipster Hollywood
        nycfc, mancity wil hurt their image but money talks.
        Those would be the top 5 teams of MLS with big names but cosmos ain’t in MLS.

      • If you are hoping that pro/rel with MLS is going to save the Cosmos, then you might as well pull the plug on them now. Trump has a better chance of getting elected Pope. The Cosmos are toast.

  6. I agree with your idea Luis. Id like to add that if they move to BK they should bite their tongue and add “Brooklyn” to the name.
    Brooklyn, NY Cosmos?. This will differentiate the club from NYCFC and NY Red Bulls and most importantly make a splash,get locals behind the team. Learn from the mistake of the Islanders. Islanders draw flies even thought they where marketed heavily and have a very good team with a star player like Tavares. Brooklyn nets though they sucked still outdrew Isles and merchandise is selling everywhere. Brooklyn today has some kind of strange international appeal that could be helpful.
    I think this is an idea that should be discussed and considered. What are your opinions?

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