Usain Bolt had his professional debut yesterday in a friendly against a local select team.
Fans are torn about Bolt’s quality of play. Some regard his 19 minutes of soccer as underwhelming, and others have described it as impressive considering how new he is to the sport.
What can’t be disputed, is the sharp increase in attendance for Central Coast Mariners at a preseason friendly nearly 100 kilometers north of Sydney. ESPN reported that 9,958 people attended the game. That’s roughly 2,500 more than usual.
The acquisition of Bolt has without question improved the team’s attendance. Now the question becomes: will these fans keep coming back?
That remains to be seen. If Bolt can make it beyond the trial with the team, there’s a good chance that fans will continue to come out and watch. Bolt is one of the most famous runners in track and field history. He was known firstly for his dominance in the sport, but secondly for his big personality and ability to work a crowd.
It’s also important to keep in mind that Bolt has only been practicing with the team for just over a week. The former sprinter said last week, “It’s just like track and field, the first practice is always the worst one. I know it’s going to take time and work, and I’m ready to work.”
The Mariners won their first game 6-1.