A record 9.05 million fans attended matches in the 2022-23 season of French soccer's top-tier Ligue 1, the country's professional governing body for the sport has announced, while its second-tier Ligue 2 also saw record crowds.

The Ligue 1 figure represents a 16% increase on the previous season, with matches attracting on-average crowds of 23,810 – the highest average of any season.

The LFP said eight clubs posted an average crowd of more than 25,000 including Olympique de Marseille, Olympique Lyonnais, Paris Saint-Germain, RC Lens, LOSC Lille, FC Nantes, Stade Rennais, and RC Strasbourg.

Marseille saw the highest average attendance of 62,522 at its home stadium Orange Velodrome, with each match reaching 95% capacity during the season. Paris-Saint Germain posted an average of 47,583 fans, while Lyon averaged 47,583.

Meanwhile, four clubs posted average attendance of less than 10,000, including AS Monaco at 7,084 – just 42% of capacity.

The most attended match for the top-tier league was 65,894 for Marseille’s match against Paris Saint-Germain on February 26.

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Ligue 2 saw a record of more than 3.24 million fans attend matches throughout the season, a 59% increase from the previous year.

Average attendance hit a record 8,680, aided by crowds at AS Saint-Etienne (22,318) and Girondin de Bordeaux (20,711). Overall, 123 Ligue 2 matches saw more than 10,000 fans compared to the 40 in 2021-22.

The figures come as the LFP prepares to negotiate the next cycle of domestic rights (2024-25 to 2027-28). It will be the first rights sale process since private equity firm CVC Capital completed its acquisition of a 13% stake worth €1.5 billion ($1.65 billion) in LFP Media, the body’s commercial subsidiary in March 2022 after reaching an agreement with all 20 Ligue 1 clubs.

Domestic broadcast rights for both Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 are currently held by a combination of online retail giant Amazon (through its Prime video streaming division) and French pay-TV heavyweight Canal+ until the end of the 2023-24 season.

Presently, Ligue 1 generates the lowest revenue out of the European ‘Big Five’, behind England’s Premier League, Spain’s LaLiga, Germany’s Bundesliga, and Italy’s Serie A.

Meanwhile, the English Football League (EFL) second-tier soccer structure has also revealed strong attendance levels for the 2022-23 season.

More than 21.7 million supporters attended its competitions during the season, with 19.8 million fans showing up to watch matches in the top-tier Championship, second-tier League One, or third-tier League Two, and end-of-season playoffs.

The season ranks in the top 10 highest regular EFL season attendances in the history of the competitions.

The Championship attracted 10 million fans for its matches, making it the fifth most attended league in Europe behind the English Premier League, Germany’s Bundesliga, Spain’s LaLiga, and Italy’s Serie A.

All three leagues feature in the top 20 best-attended leagues in Europe in the 2022-23 season, with a record 443,763 fans attending the 15 playoff matches.