Record attendance in 2012 is just the beginning for FC Dallas

Quinn says efforts are paying off in improving FCD experience

FRISCO -- While 2012 has been a year that FC Dallas would like to forget on the field, in the stands things are trending majorly upward. In fact, more people came through the gates in Frisco this season for FC Dallas than ever before.

With a crowd of 15,805 for Sunday's season finale against Chivas USA, FC Dallas narrowly set a new season attendance record of 241,390 fans at FC Dallas Stadium. It's been a long two years for FC Dallas President Doug Quinn, but the efforts of his staff are certainly beginning to pay off.

"I would say that one of the major things is we listened from day one," Quinn said on Wednesday. "Everything we do is in response to trying to address what we believe is the right combination of what kind of product they want to watch as well as what kind of message we deliver as well as what kind of experiences we provide."

From a numbers standpoint, while FCD didn't break their average attendance record at the stadium, the average of 14,199 is the highest since 2007 and, perhaps more importantly, not once this year did they have a crowd of below 10,000.

"There is no silver bullet that is part of where we are," Quinn said. "It's really a combination of many things. I look at the entire executive staff that's in place in every area of our business and we have an executive team that I'd put against any club of any sport."

Indeed, it has been a good year for Quinn who noted that season ticket renewals for 2013 are already over 80 percent and nearly 1,000 full season tickets have been sold since August.  Perhaps the best development, however, has been the creation of North End United.

Occupying the 250 field level seats in the Budweiser Beer Garden, the conglomeration of supporters groups has banded together to create an atmosphere at games that has been lacking in the past. In fact, they've grown so quickly that plans are in place to double the size of the section next season.

It's something head coach Schellas Hyndman has certainly noticed.

"It's not just the numbers, I think we're getting a much more engaged crowd," Hyndman said. "One area that you can look at is the beer garden. That's a different culture of people anyway, but that's now starting to be the dominating voice of our crowd."

Ambition has never been lacking from the current team president and Quinn revealed that should they begin to hit the ceiling of what FC Dallas Stadium can accommodate in the future, an expansion of the stadium is something that could be done.

"What my goal is by 2016, is that we'll be sold out every game and there will be a waiting list," Quinn continued. "By 2017, I want to start looking at plans to add another 10,000 seats to the building. The construction plans are already done."