The purpose of this study was to analyze the relationship between game-specific attendance in Major League Soccer (MLS) and the presence of Freddy Adu in matches during the 2004 season. A demand model for attendance during Adu’s first year in MLS was estimated using ordinary least squares and fixed-effects multiple-regression analysis. The regression equation explained 67% of the variation in game-specific attendance and 9 of the 22 explanatory variables were statistically significant at the .05 level. It was found that an additional 10,958 spectators attended games in which Freddy Adu was playing, holding all else constant. Furthermore, it was estimated that these additional spectators generated about $3.25 million in revenue from ticket, concession, and merchandise sales in the 2004 season. This amount is far greater than the $500,000 annual salary paid to Adu, and the findings support the claim that from a financial perspective the signing of the 14-year old Adu was highly beneficial to MLS.
The author is with the Dept. of Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716.