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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Attendances

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Blackout rule under threat

Concern is being expressed about the possible removal of the 3pm broadcast blackout rule.   It is argued that it would reduce attendances at lower league and non-league clubs.

Such clubs consider that when they are up against midweek televised matches, attendances decrease. Of course, there are other factors involved such as work commitments and the lack of incentive to come out on a cold, dark night to a draughty ground.

How local is a team's support?

Perhaps not surprisingly, a YouGov analysis of the profiles of over 37,000 football fans has found that Liverpool and Manchester United have the least local support of any Premiership teams.   However, it is surprising that only 29 per cent of their support came from the whole of the north-west.

Financial fair play ban for Cardiff City

A transfer embargo has been imposed on Cardiff City for breaching financial fair play rules.   The club is considering an appeal.  They join Bolton Wanderers, Fulham and Nottingham Forest who have been similarly penalised.

The Bluebirds' finances have not been helped this season by many fans voting with their feet and choosing not to watch the team. Last weekend they crashed out of the FA Cup at the hands of lower league Shrewsbury.

Gate money declines in importance

Gate money was once a strong determinant of finishing position, but although they are well supported, Aston Villa, Sunderland and Newcastle United are all in danger of relegation.  Bournemouth, whose attendances are limited by stadium capacity, could well survive.

The progress of the MLS

Major League Soccer has its 20th cup final this weekend.   It is therefore an appropriate time for a review of how it has developed over the last twenty years, providing the US and Canada with a successful professional soccer league.

Empty seats at the Emirates

The announced attendance for Arsenal's Champions League game against Dynamo Zagreb was 58,798, but it seems that the actual attendance was around 50,000.   Clubs, of course, customarily include season ticket holders in attendance figures whether they are there or not.

Milton Keynes as a football city

When I was in France last week, French rugby fans were reported to be bemused by the suburban provincialism they encountered when they had to go to Milton Keynes for their game against Canada.  

MLS attendances up

MLS attendances in the United States are up by 16 per cent compared with the same time last year. Some of this increase is down to the expansion teams, New York City and Orlando City.  However, it is encouraging that no attendances under 10,000 have been recorded.

Gulls could close

Torquay United could be forced to close.   One problem is that attendances have been falling.  Only 1,558 watched their home game against Guiseley, 250 less than their break even figure of 1,800.

Who are the big attenders?

The Faroe Islands have the biggest regular attendances at football matches in terms of the proportion of the population that go, followed by Iceland, Cyprus, Scotland and England.   The research was done three years ago, but the relative proportions have probably not changed all that much.

England had the biggest absolute attendances at just under 1.5 million, accounting for 2.79 per cent of the population.