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Long gone are the days when confused fans cheered at the wrong time, or loved the excitement of the league’s now-defunct penalty-kick shootout — anathema to the "true" soccer fans, to whom the league now markets itself.
"Globally, people are now looking at MLS and saying, ‘Wow, there are true football fans supporting that league in North America,’ " Courtemanche said. "It’s just a totally different dynamic that we’ve seen ... in maybe the last six or seven years. It makes it more exciting for everyone."
MLS’ fan base
A Scarborough Sports Marketing study in 2009 showed MLS had a higher percentage of its fans in the coveted 18-34 demographic than any other pro sports league in North America.
League/Pct. fans 18-34
MLS » 37.8
NBA » 33.4
NFL » 31.9
NHL » 29.6
NASCAR » 29.4
MLB » 28.0
League officials looking to the future, not the least of them.
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