In our final article looking back at how 2018 was a year to remember for the EFL, both on and off the pitch, we take a look at attendances and the continued appeal for millions of fans nationwide….
For the second successive year, more than 18 million people have made their way through the turnstiles of the 72 EFL Clubs across the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two throughout the course of 2018.
There is often a direct correlation between that of attendances and entertainment on the pitch, and it has been another memorable year across the EFL. An incredible 4,306 goals were scored across the three respective divisions in the calendar year, with the appetite for attending EFL fixtures showing no signs of slowing.
In December alone, almost one-and-half million supporters attended Championship matches, with 72 games played over the traditionally busy period. Over the course of the year, the average Championship attendance was 20,288 per game.
Aston Villa’s highly-anticipated clash with Championship leaders Leeds United attracted over 41,000 spectators to Villa Park on 23 December, a 2018 divisional high. The action on the pitch justified the numbers in the stands, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side coming from two goals down to score a dramatic injury time winner to the travelling fans’ delight.
This follows the findings of a UEFA report published at the start of the calendar year, which placed the Sky Bet Championship as the third most-watched league in Europe, and attendances have remained impressive, with well over 11 million fans heading to fixtures in the division throughout 2018.
Looking at League One, last month also saw Sunderland set the modern-day attendance record in Sky Bet League One, where over 46,000 supporters watched the Black Cats’ win over Bradford City at the Stadium of Light, surpassing Leeds’ figure of 38,356 against Gillingham in May 2008.
In total, 4,477,377 fans attended League One games in 2018, with an average attendance of over 8,000 per game – the highest cumulative attendance of the past five years and a 1.6% increase from 2017. That included over 19,000 supporters at Fratton Park for the opening fixture between Portsmouth and Luton Town.
In addition, almost two-and-a-half million supporters attended fixtures in League Two in 2018, with 549 matches played in the division across the year. In December, 269,678 fans watched their respective Clubs in action, as Lincoln City ended the calendar year top of the table.
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