Attendances across the EFL have topped 800,000 for the opening two weekends of the 2018/19 campaign for the third season running.
Just 67 days on from the season-ending League Two Play-Off Final at Wembley, and 19 days after France lifted the World Cup in Russia, the EFL season returned on Friday 3 August.
The number of EFL football fans making their way through the turnstiles for each Club’s opening fixture has highlighted how the nation’s appetite for the new campaign is as strong as ever, with England’s successful campaign, underpinned by 20 of the 23 man squad having started out in the EFL, adding to the excitement.
The EFL is the most attended sporting competition in the UK, with EFL Clubs welcoming more than 18 million supporters throughout the 2017/18 season and the Championship named the third most-watched league in European football by UEFA earlier this year.
Aston Villa and Leeds United welcomed high crowds of over 34,000 in their first outings at Villa Park and Elland Road, respectively, as the Sky Bet Championship welcomed just under half a million spectators overall at an average of over 20,000 per game.
In comparison to opening attendances across some of Europe’s elite divisions from 2017/18, Aston Villa and Leeds United eclipsed fourteen teams in La Liga, including 5-time winners of the UEFA Europa League, Sevilla, whilst fourteen teams posted lower figures in Italy’s Serie A, including Lazio and Fiorentina.
The figures stack up against other sports too, with Wimbledon, Tennis’ most prestigious major, witnessed by over 473,000 across 13 days this summer, highlighting the significant attraction of EFL competitions and the important connection that exists between Clubs, their supporters and their local communities.
Newcomers to League One, Sunderland set the benchmark with a crowd of 31,025, while cumulative opening home attendances for the division saw more than 208,000 supporters making their way through the turnstiles, as alongside Sunderland, both Bradford City and Portsmouth opened their gates to around 19,000 fans.
Over 107,000 supporters have made their way to Sky Bet League Two fixtures at the start of the campaign. Fans of Lincoln City certainly have a case for optimism after their Checkatrade Trophy winning campaign last time out, as Sincil Bank posted the highest figures in the division with an attendance of 8,405 against Swindon Town.