Away attendances are on the rise across the EFL, with the average away following across all 72 EFL clubs increasing for a fourth consecutive year during the 2016/17 season.
The noted increase follows a comprehensive analysis of the submitted gate receipts across all 1,656 matches of an EFL season, and shows that on average over 1,500 supporters travelled to each Sky Bet Championship away game in 2016/17, helping boost the overall EFL average to almost 1,000 an increase of six per cent when compared to 2015/16.
The growing interest in following teams around the country comes with the EFL also seeing overall attendance increases, as highlighted in the latest UEFA European Club Footballing Landscape Report. The Sky Bet Championship moved up a place to become the third best attended division in Europe, with Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A just some of the high profile leagues posting lower figures.
More than 18 million people made their way through EFL turnstiles during the 2016/17 season with clubs recording their highest cumulative attendances since 1959.
EFL clubs have seen an impressive 11 per cent increase in matchday attendances from last season with the largest crowds in almost 60 years attending games across the Sky Bet EFL. A key factor in the increase were the record-breaking attendances during the 2016 festive period with the EFL boasting a combined attendance of more than 500,000 for matches during this time.
Another key factor behind the attendance increase was the rise in away days across all three Sky Bet EFL divisions. Fulham’s Craven Cottage welcomed over 2,600 travelling fans on average each game, with Milton Keynes Dons and Notts County also a popular away day location for supporters in League One and League Two.
Over 20,000 spectators were in attendance per Championship fixture on average, an impressive rise of more than 14 per cent compared to the previous campaign, whilst Sky Bet League One also registered its highest average attendance since 2009/10.
EFL Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey said: “The rise in attendances would only be possible if clubs continued to offer excellent value for money and a matchday experience that appeals to all, whether a home fan or following their team away.
“We can see from the detailed reports that attendances are growing across the board, helping to boost the EFL’s standing against our European counterparts. It is testament to the unique appeal of all 72 EFL clubs, and the important role they play in communities nationwide wide, that the strength in depth of the football pyramid continues to prosper.
“It is also very satisfying to see that the number of away fans attending EFL matches is continuing to increase and I am confident EFL clubs are developing welcoming and positive environments for all football supporters in this country.”
The impressive numbers year on year are no surprise, particularly in the away ends across the EFL. Clubs are increasingly focused on ensuring away supporters’ needs are considered, and this has been evidenced by feedback from the first two seasons of the EFL’s Away Fan Experience Project, which supports clubs to develop a tailored and welcoming matchday environments for visiting fans.
The use of mixed fanzones has become an increasingly popular way of ensuring a good welcome and, while there is still progress to be made, more than ever clubs are focusing on providing useful information and guidance for travelling fans.
Attendances (tickets sold)
- Over 1.7million more fans attended matches across the EFL compared to the 2015/16 season.
- The club with the highest average attendance was Newcastle United (51,114), followed by Aston Villa (32,084) and 2015/16 front-runner Derby County (29,085).
- The highest in Sky Bet League One was once again Sheffield United with an average of 21,891 spectators (ahead of 17 Championship clubs), followed by Bradford City (18,247) and Bolton Wanderers (15,194).
- There is no change in Sky Bet League Two as Portsmouth (16,819) had the highest average (ahead of 22 League One clubs), followed by Plymouth Argyle (9,653) and Luton Town (8,045).
- Eleven clubs averaged over 20,000 attendees per match, compared to six in 2015/16.
- Twenty-one clubs achieved at least one match attendance higher than 20,000 in 2016/17. Seven clubs, (Aston Villa, Brighton & Hove Albion, Derby County, Leeds United, Newcastle United, Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United) achieved match attendances over 30,000.
- Newcastle United had the highest occupancy rate (98%). AFC Wimbledon (89%) had the highest in Sky Bet League One, and Portsmouth (89%) in Sky Bet League Two.
Season Ticket Holders
- Total 2016/17 season ticket sales were the highest on record at 517,539, surpassing the record total set the previous year (463,823).
- The average number of season ticket holders per club was 13,951 in Sky Bet Championship, 5,041 in Sky Bet League One and 2,572 in Sky Bet League Two.
- Most number of season ticket holders for a club was 39,192 at Newcastle United. Bradford City had most in Sky Bet League One (15,310) and Portsmouth (12,686) most in Sky Bet League Two.
- The average away following across the EFL increased for a fourth consecutive year.
- The average number of away fans at games was 951, a rise of 6%.
- Average away fans at Sky Bet Championship games was 1,571, in Sky Bet League One it was 799 and in Sky Bet League Two, 484.
- Newcastle United (73,830) totalled the highest number of away fans over the course of 2016/17, in Sky Bet League One it was Sheffield United (55,616) and in Sky Bet League Two it was Portsmouth (34,707).
- The top away day ground in the Sky Bet Championship by average away attendance was Fulham’s Craven Cottage (2,638), whilst Milton Keynes Dons’ Stadium MK (1,352) and Notts County’s Meadow Lane (884) were the most accommodating in Sky Bet League One and Two.
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