After a successful series of pre-season matches, United open their Premier League campaign with a home fixture against Swansea City on Saturday.
The experienced Van Gaal knows he is expected to improve on last season's disappointing showing under David Moyes, who was sacked as the club finished seventh, their lowest position since 1990.
Van Gaal wants to do it by playing the attacking brand of football for which United are renowned.
"We have to give pleasure to the fans because that's the most important thing," Van Gaal told a news conference.
"Football is not only a commercial business, but also to entertain people. If there are no fans [in the stadium] even the broadcasters won't come."
The manager explained his decision to make England forward Wayne Rooney his captain after many observers had expected the job to go to Robin van Persie, the Netherlands' captain under Van Gaal at the World Cup finals.
"I like him (Rooney) very much, how he has trained and also how he has performed in the games," he said, adding that he had reminded the England striker of his responsibilities off the pitch "is also very important to me".
Van Persie will miss the game against Swansea and continue working on his fitness after returning late to pre-season training following the Netherlands' run to the World Cup semi-finals.