Monday, 13 March 2017

As I put the finishing touches to 'CROWDED HOUSES,' a few factoids which may or may not find themselves in the finished product. But just in case they don't make the cut, I preserve them here for (a grateful, I'm sure) posterity.

There are fifty-five members of UEFA. Liechtenstein has no league (though Vaduz play in Switzerland and are covered there) and there is no attendance data for four others – Andorra, Gibraltar, Kosovo and San Marino. 717 clubs played top division football in UEFA countries in 2016. Forty-five of these play in the four countries lacking data.

Of the 672 clubs for which information is available the lowest average attendance was in Estonia where Narva Trans pulled in just 144 supporters and the highest was Borussia Dortmund’s 81,178. Only four clubs averaged fewer than 200. There were 77 clubs (11.46% of those for which figures are available) averaging below 500, one of them – Bangor City in Wales – was actually the best supported club in their country. All told 177 clubs (26.34%) averaged less than 1,000 spectators per league match.

242 clubs (36.01%) were in the range between 1.000-5,000. 253 (37.65%) averaged over 5,000 and 164 (24.4%) reached 10,000. The 20,000 mark was attained by just 84 clubs - 12.5%. That narrows down to 49 (7.29%) at 30,000 and just 30 (4.46%) with 40,000 or more. Percentages are meaningless at 50,000 as just twelve clubs averaged that many. Only six hit 60,000, four reached 70,000 and Borussia Dortmund stood alone at 80,000. The median figure is 3,088 but the “average average” was 8,374.

There was a total stadium capacity available of 11,038,319 – around the same as the population of Belgium - and the average ground held 16,426 spectators. Germany has the biggest grounds – on average catering for 46,874 per stadium. Estonia has the smallest, averaging 2,541.

England’s grounds are the most occupied with 96.19% of capacity taken up on average. Georgia’s were the most empty with just 6.18% of places occupied on the average matchday.

Almost one-third of clubs participated in UEFA competitions in 2016-17 – a surprisingly high number. A total of 234 competed in the Champions League and Europa League and every UEFA country bar Kosovo had at least one entrant. That represented a place in European competition for 33.19% of top division teams. In practice this percentage is slightly smaller as several lower level clubs qualified for the Europa League by virtue of winning their domestic cup or losing in the final to a team which had qualified for the Champions League.

A club with an average crowd in an average ground would have an average occupancy of 50.98%. Swiss club Sion with an average gate of 8,267, representing 50.83% of a stadium that holds 16,263 are the closest there is to being that average European club.

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