Would a game like Monday's FA cup tie draw similar crowds in the US? photo courtesy premierleague.com
On Monday English football giants Chelsea and Manchester United played an entertaining FA cup game at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea came out the victors, courtesy of a fantastic finish from forward Demba Ba. Though in my opinion, Chelsea going through to the semi-finals of the world's oldest football competition isn't the only taking point from the game.
This particular match happened to be at 7:30 EST, or 12:30 in London. The fact that kickoff was right in the middle of the day, on a work day nonetheless didn't stop 40,704 people from attending, nearly a sellout. It can easily be argued that the opponent, competition, and round of said competition is what drew the large number. But the question here is, could something similar happen in the US.?
It's hard to imagine a situation like this happening with one of our popular sports, but lets speak hypothetically here. What if for some reason Monday night football had to be rescheduled for 1PM instead of later on that night. It's hard to imagine, but would the game still sell out? What about a weekday NBA game, we'll even go big time and say the Miami heat vs. Los Angeles Lakers from the Staples Center. Instead of a normal Thursday 7 or 7:30 PST start, what if the game was moved to, say, 1:30 PST? Would we see the same type of crowd, or at least comparable to the normal start time?
Major League Baseball has something similar to this idea, where they'll schedule an afternoon start on a weekday from time to time. They're called "business person specials," and have become something of a league wide tradition. Even these games rarely get close to selling out, with prior notice.
So would a afternoon weekday game work in the US? Would tens of thousands of fans take off from work and school to go cheer on their favorite team. Or does the high attendance of the soccer game just a difference of culture? Voice your opinions in a comment or on twitter! (@mojo_FTNB).