Report: Over 120m attend European soccer matches every year
More than 120 million people attend club soccer matches in Europe annually, according to a new fan report by the European Professional Football Leagues, the umbrella body of the continent's top leagues.
The EPFL’s latest Fan Attendance Report measured support across its 24 member leagues and eight associate member competitions from 2010-11 to 2016-17.
Germany's top-tier Bundesliga had the highest average stadium attendance during the period with 42,388, while England's Premier League had the best stadium occupancy rate as 95 per cent of its venues were filled.
Unsurprisingly, Europe's so-called 'big five' leagues - Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A and Ligue 1 - had the highest average attendance over the seven years, as shown below.
|Country||Competition||Average attendance 10-11 to 16-17|
The Israeli Premier League and Sweden’s Allsvenskan experienced the largest growth in attendance as their figures grew by over 5 per cent between 2010-11 and 2016-17.
The EPFL cited the recent financial and geopolitical crises in Turkey, Greece, Romania and Ukraine as the reason their domestic leagues suffered significant drops, with 5 per cent fewer fans going to games.
However, the English leagues go from strength to strength with the second-tier Championship, third-tier League One and fourth-tier League Two enjoying the highest attendances at their respective levels across Europe.
Italy’s B Futura project, run by the second-tier Lega Serie B, was highlighted as having the “best practice” venue strategy as the league has helped clubs upgrade facilities in order to improve safety, sustainability and increase revenues.
EPFL said that the project will “definitely pay off” and “bring more football fans to Italian stadiums."
The Scottish Professional Football League, Norway’s Eliteserien and the Swiss Super League achieved the highest average attendance per match as a percentage of population.
Finally, renovated and rebuilt soccer stadiums in Poland and France for the 2012 and 2016 Uefa Euros, respectively, significantly increased soccer attendance in the two countries, according to the EPFL.
The body predicts Russia to experience a similar boost in attendance after it hosts the 2018 Fifa World Cup later this year.
The full Fan Attendance Report can be accessed here.