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Struggles and Success in Two Neighboring Stadium Towns

Two neighboring towns -- one with a bustling soccer stadium and the other with a struggling minor league baseball stadium -- offer a story of changing times in the U.S.
August 23, 2011, 9am PDT | Nate Berg
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Harrison, New Jersey has seen much success with its Major League Soccer stadium, but nearby Newark has had trouble justifying the costs of renovating a stadium for its decreasingly popular minor league baseball team.

"While the Bears fend for scraps, the Red Bulls averaged 18,796 fans for their first 12 home games this season - and that does not include the sellout for the M.L.S. All-Star Game and other exhibition matches.

Although the Newark-Harrison story is an extreme and somewhat unusual case, it reflects an urban cultural shift on which soccer hopes to capitalize as an emergent and faster-paced sport in 21st-century America. Still enormously popular in many markets, baseball has lost traction with young people, especially African-Americans, with a 26 percent decline in youth participation between 2000 and 2009, according to the National Sporting Goods Association."

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Published on Monday, August 22, 2011 in The New York Times
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