League Crowds Reach 45 Year High

Crowds in the Coca-Cola Football League are at their highest levels for 45 years following a 3% rise during the 2004/05 season. 

The 1,656 matches of the 'regular' League season were watched by 16.4million people, the highest number since 1959/60 (18 million), cementing the League's position as the best-attended sporting competition in Europe.

The League has now enjoyed a sustained period of attendance growth over the last 19 years, with crowds steadily rising from a low of 7.4m for The League's current three divisions in 1985/86. 

The Coca-Cola Championship enjoyed an encouraging first season following its re-branding, with crowds rising by 10% to 9.6m, the most since the 1952/53 season some 52 years ago. Championship crowds now average an impressive 17,410 supporters per match. 

This growth in aggregate crowd levels for The League's top division puts it on a par with the 20 club premier Italian league, Serie A.

In welcoming these figures Football League Chairman Sir Brian Mawhinney said:

"It is very encouraging that more and more people want to watch our clubs play, particularly as this was one of the stated aims of The League's re-branding programme which began last summer.

"These figures are a fitting reflection of the entertainment our clubs have provided and the imaginative efforts they make to attract fans to their games.  They are also a testament to the supporters themselves and I salute them for their commitment and loyalty.

"Looking forward to next season, we intend to build on these figures by working with our clubs on a further programme of attendance driving initiatives, so that the next generation of football supporters decide to follow their local club."

Once again, The Football League's attendance figures compare favourably with Europe's other major footballing nations. Crowds in the Coca-Cola Championship are more than double those in the equivalent competitions in France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.  They are also considerably higher than the 13,500 that, on average, watch the same level of football in Germany.