Attendances in the EPL part 2, comparing clubs across four years

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By Walter Broeckx

After giving the more boring numbers in an earlier article relating to the percentage of the ground that is full in each match I now will try to give a somewhat more colourful view on attendances in the EPL during the last 3 seasons and the current season.

As a graphic with some 20 lines would be a bit unreadable I decided to divide the EPL in 3 divisions. A top team division, a mid table division and a lift division.

The top team division is based on the table in the last seasons and the expectations that surrounds these teams. The mid table division is the division of the teams that have been around in those 4 seasons but never really got to top on a permanent basis. And the lift division is the division with teams that have gone up and down during the 4 seasons I took in my survey.

Some notes to start with : 1=2007/2008, 2=2008/2009, 3=2009/2010, 4=2010/2011 (Doesn’t it look stupid that I don’t know how to change this….)

So let us start with the top division

We can see that Arsenal is the team that always have been a constant filler of the Emirates with a average of +99%. Does look nice.  (And may I add Walter that the forthcoming league cup semi-final, which is not available on the season tickets that some of us very fortunate souls have, has sold out.  Not bad when we will play our second string team against a Championship side that is not doing very well – Tony)

United was filling to +99% but I think some Ronaldo fans left together with the Portuguese player as since he left their average is in the 98%

Tottenham:  I must say that I took note of a remark by one correspondent that the numbers for one game had been missing and so the -10% is just -0.5%. Nevertheless a bit strange as this is in the season they finally made the CL their average attendance went down a bit.

Chelsea is looking very boring in fact. They seem to have on average a 2,5% of their stadium that needs filling up. Even last year in a very tensed season they still had a few gaps in their stadium.

City is a team on the rise. From around 89% before the sheiks came in to almost 97% in their stadium. How do we call those 8%? Plastics? Success supporters? But no one can deny that they are coming to see a very expensive bus being parked. I hope they enjoy it….

And when there is a team on the rise there is also a team going down. Liverpool has gone from around 96% going down ever since and now they have some 8% of their stadium empty on average. Things don’t look good over there.

Up to the mid table teams. Or should I say down?

In this division you see most lines go up and down depending from season to season. The team that has the highest average attendance in this table is Fulham. Won nothing in their lives so far but they sure are a bunch of loyal fans. And I must admit it: it is something that I admire them for.

West Ham is sliding down not only in the league but also in attendances. Things don’t look good over there.

Aston Villa also is a team that looks to be on the down side of things. A drop of 7% means that almost 15% of their stadium remains empty. The down trend had started a few years ago.

Everton is staying put at the same level a bit. Sometimes a bit higher but still around 10% of empty seats.

A strange number (maybe also one missing in the PL statistics?) is Sunderland. They have gone down some 10% in the last 4 seasons and they have over 20% of their ground that remains empty for most games. I think this is bad for a team that looks to be more on the up when you look at their results.

Bolton is going up and down a bit. But with their current season they do seem to get a few more people in. Compared to the Allardyce years rather a significant rise.

Wigan are the low flyers in the EPL when it comes to filling their stadium and with the current bad position in the league it looks as if a lot of people in Wigan don’t believe in the team any more.

Blackburn had one decent season, last season and it showed in the attendance but this season they have gone back to business as usual with some 25% of the stadium empty.

Up to the teams that went up and down the last years. Is playing in the EPL important for attendances? Here you can see if it is.

If we look at Stoke we can see that in their last season in the championship they only had some 61% of their stadium filled and since their arrival in the EPL this has gone up to around 97-98%. A rise of 35% is a very big rise.

And if we look at Blackpool we see the same thing. They almost doubled their attendance by going up to the EPL.

Wolves went down but when they came back last season they had a higher attendance of almost 14%. This has gone down a bit maybe because of the poor results?

When we look at WBA we see a clear connection between EPL and championship. Last time around people looked excited and came in big numbers. This time the fans look to be a bit more cautious.

If you look at Newcastle you see that going down cost them some 10% of their home fans. Not all have come back as you can see if you compare the attendance with the seasons they played before in the EPL.

The same goes for Birmingham. The one year in the championship you can see the attendance drop with more than 20%. To go back to an average of around 83-84% in the last two seasons.

So from this last table you can see that going down is costing any team a lot of home supporters.

An index that is so untold you won’t be able to tell anything from it

An index of the players who played 100 or more times for Woolwich Arsenal

Not an index at all, but a book

17 Replies to “Attendances in the EPL part 2, comparing clubs across four years”

  1. Nice statistics!! 🙂

    I’d really like to compare the same with the likes of Barca, Madrid, Bayern, Inter, AC milan, Ajax etc…

  2. You might want to double check the Blackpool numbers because they expanded their stadium over the summer. So if you are using the larger capacity for the older seasons attendance numbers you percentages would be way off.

  3. Thanks for your comment, iamapoc. I didn’t know this. Could you tell me how much the former capacity was?

  4. Nice article about attendances and also a very good idea to remove the article about Odemwingie and the betting syndicates. You could’ve faced serious legal consequences…

  5. “they are coming to see a very expensive bus being parked” hahaha, that’s a really good one, Walter!

  6. About the other article I have done what I should have done earlier: ask advice to someone who knows more about such things. And while waiting a reply I asked Tony to remove it.

  7. I thought it was a good article Walter (as this one is) and was balanced – you were giving your opinion and your reasons and I think you stated that you could not say one way or the other but it really made you think about match fixing.

    I always look for players who seem to be underperforming and I do know of some players, big names, who are mixed up in this. You can never proove it as the proof does not exist unless you are a NOTW journalist with big resources to ‘entrap’ a player with money problems – but you can raise your suspicions.

    I think, given the reaction of a few people, that you could have reworded it and made more of the disclaimer [that was there and clearly stated] – but your attempt to raise awareness of this issue which is destroying our sport through an example that is certainly suspicious is commendable.

    This is a subject that should be discussed and we should not self-censure… after all – outside of Europe and America the epl is not held is such high regard as we are led to beleive, by the pedlars of the brand, in terms of incorruptability.

    I would advise anyone who wants to learn more about the problems of match fixing to read ‘The Fix’ by Declan Hill – it is excellent.

  8. Interesting stats…but do they tell us anything? Arsenal, for example, could barely pull in crowds of 30,000 in the lean years of the 1970’s and 1980’s and were operating in a stadium that was more often than not anywhere between 50-85% full. Crowds come with success and hope (as Man City and Liverpool demonstrate.) Economic factors also play a part.

    If Arsenal went on a Liverpoolesque slide down the league falling crowds at the Emirates would be a certainty.

  9. Interesting enough, but to what purpose? Generally attendances are up when all is well (including ticket prices)

  10. Ticket prices are also a key factor in this. My memory tells me that quite a few of the northern clubs have, in recent years, instigated cut price deals in order to fill seats. Even if it’s worked it may mean that revenue can be down. And where it hasn’t worked revenue is most certainly down – maybe never to return. Manure have been forced to take some matches off the deason ticket so that punters are not ‘forced’ to buy them.
    Arsenal have, by and large, frozen prices but have created increased revenue streams via cateribg developments within club level. Evidence so far is that these are working and that the future is all about giving people more choice so that the ealthy can spend more in the stadium if they wish while the rest of us avoid it.
    At least part of the reason why Chelsea aren’t really pushing to build a new stadium is confirmed by these numbers.

  11. Iamapoc, I do thank you for your kind help on this.

    Now if only I could change the article and could modify the graphic.

    But with the expansion of the ground you could say that they also have got in more people and still manage to fill the ground very well. I’m not wanting Blackpool to go down but the question will be what if they cannot stay in the EPL and go back down again. Will the expansion than be hanging around the neck of the club in the future. Because as you can see with other clubs that went down, the attendances also dropped.

    So will the cost of expanding the stadium have brought money at the end of the season or not is the most important question for Blackpool I think.

  12. Nah, I wouldn’t worry about Blackpool too much Walter in that respect as have got temporary stands which can be dismantled. As they are a team that i like, I have taken a vague interest in them this season and read a couple of weeks ago that this season they have been getting average crowds of around 15,000. This means that they have now already doubled their matchday income from last year. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

    ….and on the other article, I respect the fact that you removed it. I agree with the broad topic, but not some of the specific examples.

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