The Premier League has the highest cumulative attendance in Europe, the English Football League gets the biggest gates outside the top tiers but the Scottish Premiership leads the way on a per capita basis.
These are among the findings in the European Professional Football Leagues’ (EPFL) second Fan Attendance Report, which was published on Monday.
The Swiss-based organisation, which represents the interests of 32 leagues in 25 countries, has measured crowds at games over sevens seasons from 2010-11 to 2016-17.
Germany’s Bundesliga has the highest average gates per game during this period, with an average of 42,388. The Premier League is second on 35,870, with Spain’s La Liga nearly 10,000 behind, Italy’s Serie A fourth and Ligue 1 of France in fifth.
The Championship is seventh in this list on 17,856, slightly ahead of Bundesliga 2, but comfortably clear of Russia’s top flight and the Scottish Premiership in 10th place.
Scotland’s top flight, however, comes top in Europe when you consider the size of the country’s population, and that is despite attendances in the Scottish Premiership falling nearly 3 percent over the period, a potential result of Rangers’ difficulties.
Attendances are actually down 1.5 percent across Europe over the past seven years, with 16 of 24 countries measured experiencing falls and only nine seeing increases.
Gates in Greece, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine have all fallen by double-digit percentages — a reflection of their nations’ economic and political difficulties over the period.
England is one of those nine to see crowds go up, however, and the English Football League is by far the most successful league outside the continent’s premier divisions. League One is 19th in terms of average attendance on 7,306 and League Two 26th on 4,559.
England’s fourth tier gets higher average crowds than the first tiers in Finland, Greece, Kazakhstan and Serbia.
With 74 games a season more than the Bundesliga, the Premier League has the biggest annual cumulative crowd with 13.6 million fans, more than 600,000 clear of its German rival. La Liga is third but the Championship is only just behind in fourth.
The Premier League is also top when it comes to what the EPFL describes as “utilisation,” or the percentage of tickets sold per game. England’s top-flight grounds are typically 95 percent full, a comfortable lead over the Bundesliga’s 91 percent and the 88 percent figure in the Netherlands’ Eredivisie.
In the foreword to its study, the EPFL said: “Numerous clubs have improved their stadium capacity and level of comfort across Europe.
“The new arenas developed in Poland and in France for Euro 2012 and Euro 2016, respectively, contributed significantly to boost the figures registered in their leagues. We envisage Russia may well experience a similar trend after the upcoming World Cup.
“While there was a substantial increase in attendance in Israel, Sweden and Belgium, unfortunately football fans have not been immune to the adverse impact of financial and geopolitical crises that have been affecting countries such as Greece, Romania, Ukraine and Turkey.
“Notwithstanding that, the cumulative leagues’ attendance remained stable during this six-year period and more than 120 million football fans filled the European leagues’ stadiums during the 2016-2017 season.”