Bundesliga tops European league table for fans per game

PARIS • It may have vast wealth and an enviable array of talent but the English Premier League plays second fiddle to Germany's Bundesliga when it comes to drawing the crowds, figures show.

The Bundesliga attracted an average of 42,685 fans per game in the 2014-2015 season, according to the figures compiled by Deloitte, the multinational consulting firm. That placed it well ahead of the Premier League with 36,163 fans per match.

The Bundesliga topped the European table of fan support, with the Premier League next, followed by Spain's La Liga - a distant third.

In France and Italy, fans are staying away in droves, with an alarming drop in support for the game.

Billions in broadcasting revenue has flooded the coffers of Premier League clubs, allowing the likes of Manchester United and others to splash out a record £1.165 billion (S$2.03 billion) to attract big names ahead of this season.

In overall terms, the Premier League is still No. 1 in Europe with 13.7 million fans attending matches against 13 million for the German league. But the 20-club Premier League has 380 matches a season against 306 for the Bundesliga, with its 18 clubs.

  • 6,522
    Average number of spectators attending each Bundesliga game was 6,522 more than the Premier League's average fans per game.

  • €132m
    Arsenal's match-day revenue for the 2014-15 Champions League campaign.

For La Liga - home to football's biggest stars in Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid and Lionel Messi at Barcelona- 9.8 million fans attended matches in the same season, at an average gate of 25,734.

France's Ligue 1 clubs drew an average of 22,362 fans per game for a total of 8.5 million spectators in 2014-2015. The trend has been downward ever since.

Rising ticket prices and security fears following a string of attacks by extremist groups in France are among factors keeping fans away.

Italy's Serie A lagged in fifth place, with 8.2 million fans turning out at an average of 21,586 per match. Ticket prices and televised coverage of games are cited as reasons but also the poor state of Italian stadiums, about half of which date back to before 1949.

In contrast, Premier League clubs have been pouring fortunes into facilities. Arsenal, Leicester City, Hull City, Manchester City, Southampton, Swansea and West Ham United all boast stadiums built over the past 15 years.

In fact, Arsenal reign over the continent when it comes to Champions League match-day revenue, with takings at their 60,000-capacity Emirates Stadium, opened in 2006, generating €132 million (S$203.19 million) in the 2014-15 season from ticket sales and fan spending, according to Deloitte.

That is the equivalent of 30 per cent of their total annual income and puts them just ahead of Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu, with its capacity of over 80,000, which generated €129.8 million in the same season.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2016, with the headline 'Bundesliga tops European league table for fans per game'. Print Edition | Subscribe