This attendance report will be the next-to-last of the season. After all, there are only a few more matches to play in most major leagues. We will then dedicate a few articles to some in-depth analyses of the attendances around Europe this season. But first, let’s have a look at the attendances of this weekend’s round, and those of the weekend before.
English Premier League
In these two rounds we only had 16 Premier League matches (out of a normal 20) due to some postponements resulting from FA Cup commitments. During these matches an average of 93% of seats were occupied and a total of 9 matches were sold-out or almost sold-out. Decent attendances, but not as good as in the middle of the season.
We see few surprising attendances. The relegation strugglers Blackburn, Bolton, and QPR all recorded above-average attendances, though quite a few Wolves fans decided to stay at home instead of facing their relegation ordeal inside the stadium.
Liverpool’s poor home form finally seems to have affected their attendances. More than a thousand faithful did not bother to show up. Swansea’s “not-very-exciting” mid-table position also meant that quite a few fans of the club decided to spend their Saturday afternoon in a different way. They recorded a season low, though still filled almost 93% of the Liberty Stadium.
Most end-of-season attendance rankings of the Premier League seem to have been settled, though there is still a bit of a fight going on about which team can call themselves England’s fourth favourite team this year. If Tottenham fails to attract good crowds in their matches away to Bolton and Aston Villa (two though crowds), they may lose this honour to Everton. A low crowd for Everton at Molineux may thwart that though. Surprisingly, Newcastle United finds itself in a rather secure third spot behind Manchester United and Liverpool.
The last two Bundesliga playing rounds together made up the 16th home match of the teams. This 16th home match was the third best attended of the season, with an average crowd of 46,033, an average of 95% of tickets sold, and a total of 12 (almost) full houses.
Most notable of these sell-outs were Hamburg (back from a few weeks without selling out) and Bremen (the second sell-out in a row). Good attendances were also achieved in Stuttgart (5th high of the season) and Kaiserslautern (7th high), despite a hopeless league position for the latter.
There were hardly any negative surprises, with only Wolfsburg and Mainz recording attendances that fell into the bottom quartile of the season.
Also in the Bundesliga most attendance rankings seem to have been settled. Borussia Dortmund has the highest averages, Bayern the most sell-outs, Nürnberg the least sell-outs, and Hertha the lowest occupancy rates. Hertha’s fans are also the most fickle, thoug hit should be noted that they still attract an average of more than 50,000 spectators per match.
Spanish Primera División
The last two playing rounds in the Primera División saw 75% of all tickets get sold, which is above the season-average of 72%. This was obviously helped by Barcelona’s sell-out in El Clásico, and a week earlier the club had also helped Levante sell out for the first team this season. Other good attendances were recorded by Zaragoza and, as usual, Granada.
Osasuna and Getafe continued with disappointing crowds, and Sevilla’s and Valencia’s attendances also rated amongst their worst of the season. That said, Mestalla could be well-filled for the next home match as Valencia’s fans rate among the most fickle in the league, a ranking that is topped by Levante.
Barcelona’s sell-out crowd has brought its season average to within a few hundred of rivals Madrid: 74,671 vs 75,078. If Barcelona manages to attract more fans to the Camp Nou than Madrid to the Bernabeu for their last two home matches, they will at least have that consolation after their title and Champions League hopes have crashed (there is the small matter of the Copa del Rey too, of course).
French Ligue 1
Just as in the Primera División about 75% of tickets got sold during the last two playing rounds of Ligue 1, which resulted in an above-average attendance of 19,500 people per match.
Sochaux recorded a season-high in their match against Dijon. Bordeaux, Caen, Lorient, and Nancy also all managed to attract significantly more people than normal to their stadiums. Some of the bigger clubs disappointed though, with Marseille and Lyonnais both recording their lowest attendance of the season. Stade Rennais did not do much better.
One could also call league leader Montpellier’s recent attendances disappointing. In its last two matches it attracted an average of about 18,500 fans per game, which did not even fill their Stade de la Mosson for 60%. With an average occupancy rate of 50% over the season they only (just) beat Auxerre, who seem bound for relegation. The league average is 71%.
There does not yet seem an end in sight for the good attendances in the Eredivisie. The 13th, 14th, and 15th home match of the teams all recorded an average of over 20,000, and there is little reason to think that the 16th round will not be able to make this mark, that is, if Feyenoord continues to sell out.
Most of the teams recorded top attendances in the last two rounds, though as quite a few of them are hitting their capacity, there is little room for improvement. The average occupancy rate in the Eredivisie is 90%, and only ADO Den Haag (80%), FC Utrecht (80%), Roda JC (70%) and Vitesse Arnhem (69%) are able to record significant growth with their current capacity.
Of these teams, Vitesse’s attendances are possibly most disappointing. The team has apparently not been able to convince sufficient people that this year’s reasonable results are a proper turnaround of previous’ years misery.
USA Major League Soccer
We have tried to take a look at the MLS too, but, as we’re only seven games in the season, the irregular schedule makes it hard to analyse. Some teams, for example, have already played five home matches, whereas others only two.
What strikes though, is that attendances seem very volatile. They can easily go up and down by 50% from one match to another, which even to Spanish measures is a lot. But let’s wait a few weeks before making firm conclusions.