Having reached one third of the way through the current season, we can identify the #MatchdayInsight trends so far in comparison to 2015-16.
Trends in the Premier League
The average Premier League attendance this season is 35,714, slightly down on last season’s average of 36,452, the likely result of the relegation of Newcastle and Aston Villa with average attendances of 49,754 and 33,690. Alongside Norwich (cap. 27,108), they have been replaced in the Premier League by clubs with more modest stadiums; Burnley (cap. 21,416) Middlesbrough (cap. 33,746) and Hull (cap. 25,586).
Most matches at most stadiums in the Premier League remain close to capacity. The average occupancy rate last season was 95.96% with seven teams boasting an average occupancy rate of over 99%. The average occupancy of stadiums in the Premier League so far this season is 95.55%, just 0.41% down on last season’s average.
The season so far sees four teams continuing to boast an average stadium occupancy of over 99%; West Ham, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United. Of the other seven clubs with over 99% average occupancy last season; Norwich were relegated, Swansea’s average occupancy has fallen 2.31% from 99.26% to 96.95% whilst Stoke City’s average occupancy has fallen 0.65% from 99.26% to 98.61%. Both Swansea and Stoke have struggled on the pitch at times and this trend is a likely reflection.
Last season West Ham Utd finished top of the league for stadium occupancy. Their average attendance was 34,930 during their final season at Upton Park; an occupancy rate of 99.70%. So far this season West Ham retain the top spot with an average occupancy of 99.87% reflecting an average attendance of 56,925 in their new 57,000 capacity home.
The club with the biggest drop-off in average occupancy so far is West Brom. Their occupancy rate is down 5.48% from 92.02% last season to 86.54%. Whilst results have been broadly good, they sit in 9th place in the table after finishing 14th last season, the pragmatic style of play implemented by Tony Pullis has not been popular with fans.
Buoyed by Ronald Koeman’s side’s excellent start to the season, Everton’s occupancy rate at Goodison Park is up Everton up 2.67% from 96.32% to 98.99%. On the other side of Stanley Park, Liverpool’s average occupancy at Anfield is also up 1.2% from 96.80% to 98.00%
Sunderland survived relegation fears at the end of last season with a great run of results but the new season under David Moyes has been a struggle and the occupancy rate at the Stadium of Light is down 3.26% from 87.90% to 84.64%. They currently have the lowest stadium occupancy in the Premier League.
Trends in the EFL Championship
In contrast, Newcastle Utd boast both the highest average attendance in the EFL Championship at 50,163 as well as the highest occupancy rate at 95.72%. This is well above the average for the division so far this season of 72.28%. The overall trend for the division is positive with average stadium occupancy up 6.88% so far this season from 65.46%.
Bristol City have enjoyed the greatest increase in stadium occupancy so far this season, up 19.44% from last season’s 69.73%. Sheffield Wednesday have also seen a 11.1% increase from 56.98% to 68.08% whilst Wolves’ average stadium occupancy is up 9.16% to 74.49% and Fulham’s is up 7.93% to to 76.28%. A number of clubs are also showing smaller increases in average stadium occupancy including Cardiff (5.84%) Brighton (3.97%), Leeds (3.27%), Preston (1.79%) and Ipswich (1%).
Struggling Blackburn Rovers have recorded the greatest drop-off in stadium occupancy from last season. They are down 8.07% from 45.05% to 36.98%. QPR have recently changed managers after a poor run of form and have also seen a downside in stadium occupancy of 5.53% from 87.11% to 81.58%.
As the 2016-17 Premier League and Championship seasons progress, Atomic Sport will continue to monitor attendances and occupancy rates for clubs and update you with key insights and trends. Keep an eye on our social media channels. @atomic-sport