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Bundesliga Attendance Figures Dominate Europe

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RheinEnergieStadion

I used the stats feature at ESPN Soccernet to calcluate the clubs with the best attendances. Out of the top 20 attendances in Europe, Germany had 9 clubs. This post is to equip you with a tool to help promote our great league. Because, while we are in a slump in the Champions League and don’t make all the news with £80 million transfers, we have the most competitive league, the funnest league and the best attended league in the world. And we’ll get a team back to the final of the UCL.

There are so many glorious clubs in Europe, yet half of the teams in the Bundesliga (from grand to average) inhabit the best attendance list. Bayern, Dortmund, Schalke, HSV, Hertha, Koln, Stuttgart and Frankfurt beat out the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Roma, PSV, Ajax, Galatasary and Porto.

Spain, England and Italy will make claims to being the greatest league in Europe. And if you base it solely on recent Champions League performances, they have some validity. However, since 2000 Valencia, Juventus, Liverpool and Chelsea have all made the Champions League finals from these leagues. Yet none of these storied teams couldn’t outdraw Eintracht Frankfurt last year. That’s right: Eintracht Frankfurt!

And while I do recognize that stadium issues prohibit some clubs from doing better, the fact that they can’t get their act together to build a stadium just shows that Germany is the best run league out there. In the time it took Liverpool to create fancy sketches, Hoffenheim built a stadium.

Below is a table of the top 20 clubs, attendance-wise. I’ve noted the position in their league in relation to attendance (note that only England could get a third team in the list) as well as the clubs final position. Note that while other countries figures seem closely related to how well a club is doing (kudos to Newcastle United fans), Germany had 3 teams in this list that were in the bottom half of the table. So the next time somebody disparages our grand league or tries to tell you that there is only one big team in Germany, trot out these numbers.

RankLeague
Rank
ClubAverage
Attend
Final
Position
1.1stManchester United75,3041
2.1stBarcelona74,4331
3.2ndReal Madrid73,1572
4.1stBorussia Dortmund72,9976
5.2ndBayern Munich68,6472
6.3rdSchalke 0461,3738
7.2ndArsenal60,0394
8.1stAC Milan58,7222
9.1stCeltic57,6702
10.2ndInternazionale55,2681
11.4thHamburg SV54,8205
12.5thHertha Berlin52,3064
13.6thVfB Stuttgart51,8293
14.1stMarseille51,0622
15.2ndRangers49,5331
16.7thFC Köln49,02112
17.3rdNewcastle United48,74918
18.8thMönchengladbach47,40915
19.9thEintracht Frankfurt46,85213
20.1stAjax46,3743
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25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. adam

    December 3, 2010 at 8:50 am

    In fact i’ve just looked up on wiki (not the most reliable source I know) it states that in 2008-09 that the premierships total attendance for the year is ~13.5 million compared to germany’s ~13 million, over a season.In fact englands prem attracts ~500k more fans a year than germany’s bundasliga. So as you can see your argument is seriously flawed. Check the whole facts next time.

  2. adam

    December 3, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Your argument is fundamentally flawed. The German professional league system has 36 fewer teams. you have 3 divisions to our 4 and each division has fewer teams. So Germany has a bigger overall population to spread between fewer teams.
    You also need to consider that britain has a smaller land mass meaning clubs are positioned much closer together and are in direct competition over the same group of fans. Between manchester and liverpool, are Everton, Liverpool, Wigan, Bolton, Manchester United and Manchester City, all in the premier league alone, I could take it further by showing the lower professional teams who also come in to this caption area and thats just the north west. Newcastle/Sunderland (10 miles). Arsenal and Tottenham(3 miles), Birmingham and Aston Villa (2 miles) I could go on.

    If you truely want to compare nations you should at least total up the entire professional body of clubs and devide it my rough population size then im sure you’ll see a very different figure. So you see, you need to consider much more than simply the capacity /attendances of 1 division, i look at the bigger picture before you make such bias arguments. So you see your arguments are heavily flawed.

    To use Chelsea as an example is quite tame really, they are historically a fairly small club and everyone knows they have a small fan base, hence at times they struggle. Compare that to Spurs, who have a rich history in comparison, but have in recent years struggled. Spurs fill out the ~36k stadium consistantly and have a season ticket waiting list of ~25k. If WHL get redeveloped as proposed to a 55k stadium they will fill it and still have to turn people away, consider arsenal are based 3 miles away and can also fill a 60k stadium. Off these figures alone, if there was only 1 north London club (like what you tend to get in german cities) that club would potentially fill a stadium of at least 115k. Impressive figures eh!

    Your argument that German football is more fun/ attractive because you on the basis of attendance, attract more fans, is incorrect. t only paints half a picture.

  3. Tony

    December 8, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Without doubt German teams are the best supported in Europe, this may be as a result of cheaper ticket prices etc. The fact remains that German clubs are very well support, but lets face it, how many would get an average attendance of 48,749 in a relegation season? I doubt any would. For loyal supports look no further than Newcastle, no trophies since 1969 and still getting excellant attendances. Is there another club in Europe with better fans? I don’t think so.

  4. SANDRA

    September 4, 2009 at 1:50 am

    2008/2009…………………………………… total……………… average
    bundesliga
    1 Borussia Dortmund ………………………..1,242,656 …………..73,097
    2 Bayern Munich ……………………………..1,167,000 …………..68,647
    3 Schalke 04 ………………………………….1,042,220………….. 61,307
    4 Hamburg SV …………………………………931,065 …………….54,768
    5 Hertha Berlin ……………………………….889,213……………. 52,306
    6 VfB Stuttgart ……………………………….881,096…………….. 51,829
    7 FC Cologne ………………………………….833,367 …………….49,021
    8 Borussia Monchengladbach ………………..807,959 ……………..47,527
    9 Eintracht Frankfurt ………………………..796,500 ……………..46,852
    10 Hannover 96………………………………. 711,451……………. 41,850
    11 Werder Bremen ……………………………678,637……………. 39,919

    EPL STANDING 2008-2009
    1 Manchester United ………………………..1,430,776……………. 75,304
    2 Arsenal …………………………………….1,140,755 …………….60,039
    3 Newcastle United …………………………926,244 ………………48,749
    4 Liverpool ……………………………………828,610…………….. 43,611
    5 Manchester City…………………………… 815,105……………… 42,900
    6 Chelsea …………………………………….790,172 ……………….41,588
    7 Sunderland………………………………… 763,198………………. 40,168
    8 Aston Villa………………………………… 756,422……………….. 39,811

    La liga
    1 Barcelona …………………………………1,414,232………………… 74,433
    2 Real Madrid ……………………………….1,390,000 …………………73,157
    3 Atlético Madrid …………………………..791,500 ……………………41,657
    4 Sevilla FC ………………………………….782,000………………….. 41,157
    5 Real Betis ……………………………….758,935 …………………….39,943

    Series A
    AC Milan ……………………………………..1,115,722 ………………..58,722
    2 Internazionale ……………………………..994,835 ………………….55,268
    3 AS Roma ……………………………………746,374 ………………….39,282

    FRENCH LIGE 1

    1 Marseille ……………………………………970,183………………… 51,062
    2 Paris Saint-Germain……………………….. 701,216………………. 36,906
    3 Lyon …………………………………………692,528………………. 36,448

    FOR THE SIXTH CONSERVATIVE YEAR THE BUNDESLIGA HAS HAD THE HIGHEST STADIUM ATTENDANCE IN THE WORLD.

  5. SANDRA

    September 4, 2009 at 1:43 am

    2008/2009 total average
    bundesliga
    1 Borussia Dortmund 1,242,656 73,097
    2 Bayern Munich 1,167,000 68,647
    3 Schalke 04 1,042,220 61,307
    4 Hamburg SV 931,065 54,768
    5 Hertha Berlin 889,213 52,306
    6 VfB Stuttgart 881,096 51,829
    7 FC Cologne 833,367 49,021
    8 Borussia Monchengladbach 807,959 47,527
    9 Eintracht Frankfurt 796,500 46,852
    10 Hannover 96 711,451 41,850
    11 Werder Bremen 678,637 39,919

    EPL STANDING 2008-2009
    1 Manchester United 1,430,776 75,304
    2 Arsenal 1,140,755 60,039
    3 Newcastle United 926,244 48,749
    4 Liverpool 828,610 43,611
    5 Manchester City 815,105 42,900
    6 Chelsea 790,172 41,588
    7 Sunderland 763,198 40,168
    8 Aston Villa 756,422 39,811

    La liga
    1 Barcelona 1,414,232 74,433
    2 Real Madrid 1,390,000 73,157
    3 Atlético Madrid 791,500 41,657
    4 Sevilla FC 782,000 41,157
    5 Real Betis 758,935 39,943

    Series A
    AC Milan 1,115,722 58,722
    2 Internazionale 994,835 55,268
    3 AS Roma 746,374 39,282

    FRENCH LIGE 1

    1 Marseille 970,183 51,062
    2 Paris Saint-Germain 701,216 36,906
    3 Lyon 692,528 36,448

    FOR THE SIXTH CONSERVATIVE YEAR THE BUNDESLIGA HAS HAD THE HIGHEST STADIUM ATTENDANCE IN THE WORLD.

  6. Borussia

    August 14, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Also on a side note, Great article! I enjoyed it very much!

  7. Borussia

    August 14, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Rjinswand —— You couldn’t have said it better. Ish, I think you maybe fail to recognize that London is one of the biggest cities in the world? I hope you took that into account. London dwarfs the likes of Dortmund, Gelsenk*rchen, Gladbach, Duisburg, etc…. and those teams still seem to find amazing support.

    I actually find it quite amuzing how many of you are so chapped that the Bundesliga has better attendance. There have been some great digs at trying to “debunk” why the bundesliga is top in attendance. Just face it, German fans are more passionate about their teams. Look, I am not a Schalke or Bremen fan but I would invite some of you to watch some youtube videos of travelling support from these clubs to the Bridge. Chelsea fans were awfully quiet compared to Schalke and Bremen fan groups. EPL may have “the best league in the world” but without a doubt the Bundesliga has “the best support in the world.”

  8. Rjinswand

    July 25, 2009 at 2:06 am

    “As said most of the clubs inside berlin get small crowds except the big ones. In london alone you have west ham, chelsea, tottenham, arsenal and fulham to name a few of the big ones.”

    Well, compare London to the Ruhr Area: Gelsenkirchen, Dortmund, Duisburg, Bochum, Essen, Oberhausen etc.
    If we talk about Greater London, one could compare it to the Rhine Ruhr metropolitan area, which would add Cologne, Mönchengladbach, Düsseldorf etc.

  9. ish

    July 21, 2009 at 12:27 am

    Its partly to do with standing terraces. You can get more people into a club if you having standing allowed.
    Germany also has the advantage of having many of their bigger clubs in different areas. As said most of the clubs inside berlin get small crowds except the big ones. In london alone you have west ham, chelsea, tottenham, arsenal and fulham to name a few of the big ones.

    If you look at some of the moe established clubs like arsenal and tottenham they get massive numbers into their stadium, they could easily get more then that if they could increase seating numbers. Chelsea is not a good example because they are still new to success. Chelsea would probably struggle to fill a 60k stadium except against the big teams. But if you compare them to the german clubs in international exposure the chelsea is miles ahead.

  10. Jub jub

    July 12, 2009 at 11:19 am

    some super ignorant comments from premier league fans.

    1. yes the premier league and la liga can get bigger crowds with more favourable ticket prices and bigger stadiums. But so could german clubs, Schalke, Bayern, koln etc are at near bursting point, if Dortmund’s stadium was bigger they’d get bigger crowds (they had a 250,000 request list for their cup final a few years back). Season tickets are different to match-by-match tickets, dortmund no doubt sell all their season tickets but have to give a cetain percentage of tickets to away fans and fans on a weekly basis, and obviously when the opposition sucks it lessons the chances of a sell out. If Dortmund could sell 80,000 season tickets they would. Obviously having a competitive team would make the undesirable games desirable also.

    2. In England we have 3-4 live games a week, and none at saturday 3pm. In Germany and Spain every game is live. The reason why every game isn’t live in England is because they are scared it will effect attendance, it hasn’t in Germany.

    3. The population argument is flawed, greater population doesn’t equate to greater distribution of fans per team, it equates to the same distribution as in every country. Take Fortuna Dusseldorf haven’t been in the bundesliga for a decade, big city, their fans don’t become schalke or Dortmund, or gladbach fans, they remain dusseldorf fans. Last season they won the 3. liga and had a gate of 51,000. A greater population is a hinderence. Look at Berlin a lot of its teams are stuck in the lower leagues.

    4. The big key is german clubs are Co-ops (member assocations) and English clubs are owned by holding companies which can be legally traded. Meaning in Germany the fans have greater say and it’s why I can’t see this changing for the forseeable future!

  11. Lorenzo

    July 7, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Your claim is very flawed in that it ignores several facts. First tickets cost substantially less in Germany than Spain or England, so while they have more people in the stadium, if they charged prices like Valencia they would lag far behind. Second, Spain has a population of 45 million, Germany has a population of 83 million, so it would be reasonable to expect more people to attend since there are more people in the country. Third, the German league lags significantly behind Spain and England in quality, see Barca vs Bayern in the CL. Fourth, the reason clubs in England and Spain don’t build bigger arenas is that they actually have significant fan bases outside of their countries, thus they don’t rely on attendance as a driver of income, since all the fans in the US or Asia will maybe buy 2-3 tickets in their lives. Those clubs spend their money on players to grow their international brands, thus they destroy the BS Liga every year in the CL.

  12. BD

    July 2, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Nice to see Stuttgart in there. We are still contenders even without Gomez…….

  13. g

    June 26, 2009 at 1:48 am

    pick hamburg!
    more international prestige AND dysfunctionality than arsenal, chelsea, and every other millionaire’s plaything, with the mad (see the cemetery by the stadium) fan support and a beautiful city to kill for

  14. Muh

    June 21, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Well it was a World Cup. There were lotteries going on to buy tickets so they prbl could have sold thousands of more tickets for every game.

    @Greg DO NOT pick Bayern, no matter what

    They had 60K for boxing in Schalke Arena yesterday, wonder if they kept the standing areas ?? 🙂

  15. John

    June 20, 2009 at 2:05 am

    “And while I do recognize that stadium issues prohibit some clubs from doing better, the fact that they can’t get their act together to build a stadium just shows that Germany is the best run league out there. In the time it took Liverpool to create fancy sketches, Hoffenheim built a stadium.”

    This kind of settles the Chelsea attendance argument (for Greg).

    After watching the Bundesliga very extensively for 2 years, I can conclude that no matter what other factors you take into account, there is only one conclusion – German supporters come out in their droves to follow football. Look at the World Cup in Germany, I never, EVER, saw ONE empty seat in the stands, even for Tunisia v Saudi Arabia!

  16. floormaster squeeze

    June 18, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Sorry but average attendance is a relevant stat independent of all the quibbling about capacity, ticket prices, and revenue so this is a useful chart.

    How many people show up in your stands is what football culture is about not how much they paid. This tells you a lot about the support and atmosphere surrounding the club.

    The fact that some teams and leagues generally charge more and potentially make more revenue is relevant for a business discussion but does every discussion have to devolve into a business one? I think it sad that people were so quick to jump on this despite the fact that no one was making claims that German clubs generate the most revenue.

    I understand that the business side is very important to the club but in England and Spain the TV deals are big parts of the revenue of most clubs and is a completely different discussion. If you want to bring up Chelsea’s revenue then it is only fair to mention massive debt (there is a giant popping sound on that bubble coming sooner than you think!). My point is do you really want to have an economic discussion or a fan discussion?

  17. Double Pivot

    June 16, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Thanks Schalke Fan. And good luck with the next season.

    But are we talking about average ticket price or median ticket price? And do you know where I might find that info?

    Danke

  18. Schalke Fan

    June 16, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    If you want to do a fair argument, take the numbers and weigh them based on ticket price. Every marketing major knows this fact. The list will still have enough surprises if you like Bundesliga. Schalke will probably go even higher! Go Koenigsblau!

  19. Double Pivot

    June 16, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    They can be expensive, but I get tickets for Spurs at around 35 USD. I think the fact that there are a portion of cheap tickets is an easy way to justify the significant crowds for all teams in the Bundesliga. It’s a minor part of the equation. After all, the two teams on this list from England have the most expensive tickets: Arsenal and United.

    • Paul F

      September 7, 2010 at 9:44 am

      Right, you get tickets for Spurs for USD35! When did you last go, 1995? Cheapest tickets for Spurs are £50 (USD80). Average price for non members / season ticket holders is £70.
      Any number of English clubs would attract 75-80k fans weekly if the stadiums had huge standing areas and tickets for £10, which is what you have in Germany. This isnt something to be proud of or ashamed of, its just a fact. Legal issues in England (all-seaters, planning restictions), combined with social reasons (we like our football in urban centres, not outskirts) have combined to mean that it simly hasnt been possible to build stadiums with huge capacities. With smaller capacities, the clubs are able to charge more for the tickets (hence Spurs selling out for every match, with average ticket prices well over £50, plus huge corporate revenues) despite being mid-table for much of the past 20 years. One obvious exception is Chelsea – they are simply a smallish club (4th best supported in London, at best) with a very rich owner.

  20. PedestrianMe

    June 16, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    May also be due to ticket prices, which are notoriously low in Germany, with generous reductions to students, elderly, etc.

    Whereas in Spain and England 90 minutes in the stadium can cost you $100.

  21. Double Pivot

    June 16, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Of course numbers can be manipulated, but avg attendance is a decent indicator. And not matter what, it’s hard to dispute the fact that half of the teams in the Bundesliga made the top 20. That’s impressive. And standing terraces and value friendly prices obviously help this but its something the league should be very proud of.

    And you don’t have to pick a club. I find that I can enjoy the league much more without one. I would get too caught up in my club if I had one. But I’m an odd duck. I can’t say there are many bad choices though, when you do choose. Although if you pick Leverkusen, just think of 2nd as the new 1st 🙂

  22. Greg

    June 16, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Me. That’s the point I was trying to make, you can manipulate the numbers in any fashion to work to a given argument’s advantage.

    I’m glad I found this place, with my new apartment I get GolTV in my package and was looking to follow a team or two in the Bundesliga. Unfortunately, the team with the best name (Energie Cottbus) is going down, so I’ll have to watch a few matches next season and then decide.

  23. Double Pivot

    June 16, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Well, first I was having fun with the statement.

    Second, I only do so because Chelsea and Liverpool fans are so easily irked.

    But if they can’t fill Stamford Bridge with a paltry 41,5K then what would be then numbers with 80K. Probably less than 60%. So who is having fun with numbers?

  24. Greg

    June 16, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Attendance figures (like most any figure) can be manipulated to suit an argument. You could say, if you like, that a team like Chelsea whose home stadium (Stamford Bridge) could never even break into this top 20 list simply because the capacity (42,055) doesn’t allow it to (a fact that makes your “Eintracht Frankfurt” argument flawed at best).

    Just to prove that one can manipulate the numbers to suit their argument, you could postulate that Chelsea have a better “attendance record” than the top German team you have listed here…

    Chelsea’s average attendance for Premier League matches this season was 41,588. With the Bridge’s capacity taken into consideration, that means that they had the stadium 98.89% full for each match. Borussia Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion holds 80,552. Given the attendance number you have above, they managed to fill only 90.62% of the stadium. While sheer numbers say that Borussia’s games were attended by nearly double the amount of Chelsea fans, the Blues had a larger percentage of the stadium used up for their matches.

    There’s really a zillion ways to argue this, and there’s no saying that if Chelsea were to double stadium capacity that they’d maintain the same level of participation (fact of the matter is, they almost certainly wouldn’t). Fun with numbers!

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