Ger­man clubs top Euro­pean sup­port­ers league

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

It may have vast wealth and an en­vi­able ar­ray of tal­ent but Eng­land’s 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, plac­ing it well ahead of the Pre­mier League with 36,163 fans per match over the same sea­son. 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, no­tably in France, a World Cup win­ner in 1998 and host of Euro 2016.

Bil­lions in broad­cast­ing rev­enue has flooded the cof­fers of English Pre­mier League clubs al­low­ing the likes of Manch­ester United and oth­ers to splash out in to­tal a record 1.165 bil­lion pounds ($1.54 bil­lion/1.39 bil­lion eu­ros) to at­tract big names ahead of this sea­son.

In over­all terms, the Pre­mier League is still num­ber one in Europe with 13.7 mil­lion fans at­tend­ing matches against 13 mil­lion for the Ger­man league.

But the Pre­mier League has 20 clubs play­ing 380 matches a sea­son against 306 for the Bun­desliga, with its 18 clubs. The dis­par­ity trans­lates into sig­nif­i­cantly higher at­ten­dance per match in Ger­many. For La Liga-still home to world 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. Last sea­son, and for the first time in its his­tory, Span­ish football drew more than 10 mil­lion fans in tes­ti­mony to the health of the game.

SERIE A IN TROU­BLE

The same can­not be said for France and Italy, both suf­fer­ing de­clines in sup­port for the sport. 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 and the trend has been down­ward ever since.

The fol­low­ing sea­son the fig­ure dropped to 20,894 and de­spite a cam­paign fol­low­ing the suc­cess­ful host­ing of Euro 2016 to at­tract more fans into the sta­di­ums, at­ten­dance is still fall­ing, down more than five per­cent this sea­son with eight matches played. Ris­ing ticket prices and se­cu­rity fears fol­low­ing a string of at­tacks by ex­trem­ist groups in France are among fac­tors keep­ing fans away.

Di­dier Quil­lot, sec­re­tary gen­eral of Ligue 1, said the state of emer­gency still in ef­fect fol­low­ing the ex­trem­ist at­tacks is a key fac­tor. “The whole leisure sec­tor is down,” he said. Mar­seille are em­blem­atic of the French prob­lems. The new Velo­drome sta­dium has drawn av­er­age crowds of 30,290 this sea­son against 53,130 in 2014-15.

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 and Ar­se­nal, Le­ices­ter City, Hull, Manch­ester City, Southamp­ton, Swansea and West Ham all boast sta­di­ums built over the past 15 years. Liver­pool re­cently greatly up­graded An­field while Tot­ten­ham are build­ing a new home and Chelsea are plan­ning to do the same. — AFP

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