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2016/17 season records highest EFL attendance figures in nearly 60 years

16 May 2017

Over 18 million people made their way through EFL turnstiles during the 2016/17 season with Clubs recording their highest cumulative attendances since 1959. 

EFL Clubs have seen an impressive 11% increase in matchday attendances from last season with the largest crowds in almost 60 years attending games across the Sky Bet EFL.  A key factor in the increase were the record breaking attendances during the 2016 festive period with the EFL boasting a combined attendance of more than 500,000 for matches during this time. 

Importantly, there has been a 3% attendance increase when comparing the 67 Clubs that competed in the EFL both this season and last, proving that supporters’ appetite for live EFL football is as popular as ever. 

Sky Bet Championship attendances surpassed the 11 million mark with average crowds of over 20,000 watching another season of thrilling football unfold. 

The figures also back up this season’s independent research from Deloitte, who highlighted the EFL as the best attended sporting competition in the country in 2016, with around 1 in 4 of all admissions to a sporting event being for an EFL organised match. 

This year’s cumulative figure of 18.1million is the 14th highest of all time for the EFL’s three divisions, with those higher all recorded in the post-war era between 1947 and 1959 – the highest ever being 23.5million in 1947/48.  

It’s not just in person that the numbers are increasing with the EFL and 72 Clubs having a combined online following of over 26.5million across social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. 

The overwhelming evidence for increasing demand for live EFL action is hugely encouraging news for EFL Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey. 

“Football attendances clearly benefit from promotion and relegation as those teams carrying larger supporter bases move around divisions.  But what is particularly pleasing with this latest set of data is the fact the EFL has seen a 3% growth season-on-season when this factor is removed and you analyse the attendances of the 67 Clubs who have been members for the past two seasons. 

“It is clear to see that the EFL continues to be one of the most watched football competitions and our Clubs deserve huge credit for continuing to find new and innovative ways of encouraging supporters through their turnstiles. 

“We know that supporters continue to be the lifeblood of our game and the long-term future of the football in this country is looking very healthy with more and more people choosing to follow their local Clubs week in, week out. 

“I would like to offer my thanks to everyone that has supported their Club by attending a match this season.” 

THE STATISTICS 

Top 20 all-time attendance figures:  

Historical analysis based on the transcription of Football League ledgers by Brian Tabner. Figures for seasons prior to 1992/93 are based on Divisions 2, 3 and 4.


1.    1948     23,520,566
2.    1949     23,322,510
3.    1950     23,183,307
4.    1952     22,870,779
5.    1951     22,846,775
6.    1953     21,075,819
7.    1947     20,489,450
8.    1954     19,998,703
9.    1958     19,082,027
10.  1955     19,047,622
11.  1956     19,038,838
12.  1957     18,880,181
13.  1959     18,863,685
14.  2017     18,107,332
15.  1960     18,064,859
16.  2010     17,078,088
17.  2007     16,473,930
18.  2005     16,364,419
19.  2009     16,352,920
20.  2016     16,352,500

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