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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Attendances

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Soccer still short of a breakthrough in the US

Every time there is a World Cup one can expect a slew of articles proclaiming that soccer has now 'established' itself in the United States.   To be fair, Major League Soccer (MLS) has made steady progress, but it is still some way behind the major traditional sports such as baseball and American football.

Football League attendances up

Attendances in the Sky Bet Football League rose by 136,000 or one per cent in the season just ended. However, this global figure conceals differences between the leagues.   Attendances in the Championship were down by five per cent and up by 18.4 per cent in League One.   League Two attendances increased by just under one per cent.

The price of relegation from the Premiership

It remains to be seen which three clubs will be relegated from the Premier League this season, but they can expect to pay a high price.   Research by Nick Harris shows that the three demoted clubs can expect to see their income fall by at least £20m next season.  Crowds will fall, typically by more than 4,000 per game.  Only five of the 27 relegated teams from the past nine seasons have gone straight back up.

Attendances continue to rise

Last season's average Barclays Premier League attendance of 35,931 was the sixth highest since league football began in 1888.   Attendances have been growing again this season.  If the present average of 36,412 is maintained it will become the third largest ever.

Crowds would have only been larger in 1948-49 (38,776) and 1949-50 (37,400).  These were years when the disruption of the immediate aftermath of war had been overcome, but there was a lack of entertainment alternatives.

Sky Blues attendances slump

Coventry City's attendances have slumped with games being played in Northampton.   Indeed, the club has recorded its ten worst home attendances ever.   Nearby Conference club Nuneaton Town are catching up with the Sky Blues as their promotion push gains momentum.

One might think that Sisu, the owners of Coventry City, would learn something from this, but probably not.

Do Forest face a FFP challenge?

All reports relating to financial fair play and annual results need to come with a health warning as it is more likely that a legal challenge will be launched to the Football League's plans if they crack down hard on leading clubs.

Nottingham Forest have reported losses of £17m for the 2012/13 season compared with £12.2m for the previous season. Forest have made nine permanent signings since these accounts, in addition to four loan deals. With the associated transfer fees and wages involved, the losses over the current season are likely to have significantly increased

Foxes post big loss

Leicester City FC made a loss of £34m in the 2012-13 season, reflecting how much it can cost a benefactor to get a football club promoted. However, the club are now on track to take the Championship title which is just as well as a similar loss next season would lead to a £20m fine under financial fair play rules.

A fall in ticket sales and revenue contributed to the £4.3m increase in losses from the previous year. But City say the figures also reflect the purchase of the King Power Stadium, and that important progress has been made meeting Financial Fair Play rules.

Cash flow problems as 'tiny' club push for league status

Alfreton Town are currently third in the Football Conference and therefore have a chance of promotion to the Football League. The Derbyshire town has a population, counting surrounding villages, of around 25,000 and the attendance at Saturday's game was just over 800. Table topping Luton Town can easily attract 6,000 or 7,000.

Pannu does not have the blues

Birmingham City FC acting chairman Peter Pannu is optimistic about the future for the Blues. City fans might be more sceptical about his assurances and feel that they have been promised jam tomorrow on previous occasions. However, he takes the view that a new era is opening up after the departure of Carson Yeung.

Cup attendances levelled off

Overall FA Cup crowd sizes across all rounds have remained fairly steady since falling during the 1980s. Attendances throughout the leagues have risen in that period.

Of the 57 matches played in the third and fourth round this season, including replays, only one quarter (14) attracted attendances higher than the home team's average league figure this season.

Admittedly, the third round (before replays) this year produced the highest average attendances since 1979-80, yet this largely reflected the number of well-supported teams playing at home.