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By Walter Broeckx
So finally we are in part 3 of our series on football crowds in Europe. Part one was about the capacity of the biggest grounds in Europe . And in part two we have seen which team gets the most supporters in their stadium. And in that article there were some surprises as not the usual suspects turned out on top.
In this article we will make the link between those two articles. The link between capacity and the actual number of people buying tickets.
So again I took the same years as in the last article but this time I calculated how many seats were sold in the stadiums. I gave a number for each year and then I calculated the average of those 4 years and made a ranking of it.
The more seats you sell of your capacity, the better it is. And the higher your ranking will be. Again I took the average of 4 season to make up the final ranking. And the table is going from the highest % tickets sold to the lowest.
And again you will find that some things are not what they seem at times. Just look at this and wonder:
|Club||Cap rank||capacity||% 06/07||% 07/08||% 08/09||% 09/10||% 4 Seasons|
|1. FC Köln||16||50374||83,18||86,83||97,89||95,40||90,83|
|Olympique de Marseille||12||60031||85,96||87,62||87,25||87,25||87,02|
The club that is doing the best possible job on selling tickets is the German club Schalke 04. For this table they could change their name in Schalke 01.
Schalke has been a very popular club in Germany but in fact it has been a while since they really have won anything worth mentioning. But yet they keep on filling their stadium as if it was nothing. I wonder if it has anything to do with the name of the stadium? And the fact that the sponsor is a brewery? Are they coming for the beer or for the football?
Well anyway I have seen the large barrels that the brewery has installed in the Veltins Arena and they do looked impressive.
But look who is in second place as it is Arsenal. So when it comes to selling tickets we are the second best club in Europe. Maybe we could change the name of the Emirates in the future and maybe some brewery can give us that extra push to get to 100%? Anyway I think it is great to see that we manage to sell our tickets very well. And also it looks like having a stadium of around 60.000 is the best capacity to sell most of your tickets. As both the stadiums of Schalke and the Emirates are around the same capacity.
And it sure looks good to beat Manchester United on this who are in third place. And then again we have two German teams flying high in the this table.
Something more surprising is the fact that when it comes to selling tickets Real Madrid only comes in 9th place! In fact it means that for an average league match in Spain they cannot sell 10% of their tickets. And that with all those stars at display.
And also an even bigger surprise is that Barcelona despite all the success in the last years they still have massive unsold tickets for many games. On average more than 1 ticket in 4 is not sold!
Now most of us do only get to see the big games they play in and then the stadium is mostly sold out but I think when teams like Levante come over you will see big gaps in the stadium. But most of the time they are more situated in the higher tiers of the stadium and not visible when you see it on TV. As you then only get to see the first tier and half of the second tier. And the higher you sit in Nou Camp the less you can see.
And something that also comes a bit of a surprise is the fact that both Inter and AC Milan have troubles in selling tickets. They can only get an average of below 70% in their stadium. And as I have seen a game from Inter this weekend on TV I saw very, very big gaps in the stadium. Now it could be that the combined managerial forces of Mourinho, Mancini and Ancelotti have driven even the most die hard fans out of the stadium. And that in a country where they do like a bit of catenaccio. Even that must have been too hard to swallow for the average Italian football fan.
But for those big clubs like the Spanish ones and the Italians it means that having a big stadium might be nice when you have a top game but when you are playing a lower placed team your stadium has big gaps which only cost you money. Or better said: do not make money in every game.
A final conclusion could be that filling a stadium is not always easy. You can do it by winning things but even that doesn’t guarantee you anything when you look at Barcelona.
Or you can do it by playing attractive football and try to win something in the same time. A bit the way Arsenal and Schalke are doing it. And when you look at the tickets sold, it isn’t a bad way of doing things.
Editorial note: That concludes Walter’s series on football stadia. I’d particularly like to thank Walter for taking Untold into a different area, and for all the research and stats presented. Indeed so taken have I been by this (and not being one to miss the chance to jump on someone else’s bandwagon) there will now be a follow up piece on Stratford Hotspur’s new ground in East London. That will appear in a day or two. Tony
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