For ongoing discussion and information on global crowd figures
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Post by Scottish » Sat Jan 31, 2015 12:53 am

Turkish fans have long been known for their dedication to their respective teams and nowhere is this more apparent than in Istanbul, the city which straddles two continents and is the largest conurbation anywhere inside UEFA. The ferocity of their support is legendary but parochial they are not. An anecdote: I had a “Turkish day” recently which started with a Turkish shave and hot towel (recommended if you don’t mind exposing your throat to an open razor and the towel covering your face and neck like a noose) and the talk was all football, football, football. So far, so ordinary as far as a barber’s is concerned. But I decided to continue the Turkish theme by going for breakfast to a local cafe/restaurant. The owner is a Galatasaray fan (as all Turks who live locally appear to be) and also supports Man Utd (again, as not just the Turks but so many others do). There was a match just about to start on Turkish Lig.TV so I asked who was playing. It was some third level match with about a dozen fans shouting at the screen straight from the kick-off.

Now imagine Rangers or Celtic supporters turning out at 11 am to watch a match between Stranraer & Stenhousemuir. It just wouldn’t happen.

Yet despite this dedication and decent looking headline figures – average 14,000 dead on, 14th in the world, 7th in Europe and a largest crowd last season of 77,512 (low 650), beaten only in Germany and Spain, eleven teams with five-figure averages (including two second level sides) – crowds are not what they should be. This is a country with a population the same as Germany’s yet has average gates just one-third the size. I’ve been told (anecdotally again by my friendly Turkish cafe owner) one of the problems is the sheer size of, and the chaotic transport system in, Istanbul. I’ve never been so I have no first hand knowledge. He reckons it can take up to four hours to get to a match and obviously the same back. By comparison London is a dawdle.

Then there are the almost inevitable stadium closures which mar every season. Safety is an important factor in attending games, particularly where children are involved.

The Süper Lig system is simple. Eighteen teams play each other twice with the bottom three going down. What complicates matters is teams being suspended from European competition, others not having licences and appeals via UEFA, and the CAS to settle arguments.

Best-supported Fenerbache (that’ll upset my Galatasaray-supporting friend) are 31st of – appropriately enough – forty teams worldwide that average over 40K

42020 Fenerbache
37726 Galatasaray
26467 Besiktas
20117 Bursaspor
16699 Trabzonspor
13220 Konyaspor
12297 Kayseri Erciyesspor
11601 Eskisehirspor
10007 Kayserispor
9844 Gaziantepspor
9497 Genclerbirgli
9071 Sivasspor
8929 Elazigspor
8857 Caykur Rizespor
7116 Akhisar Belediye Genclik
6478 Kasimpasa
4950 Antalyaspor
4270 Kardemir Karabukspor

There were nineteen teams in the second level TFF First Lig last season. Promotion is identical to the English system at the same level. Top two up automatically and next four play-off over two legs with a grand final to determine the promotion place at a neutral venue. The bottom four are relegated with no play-offs.

The league average of 4,970 was 12th best in the rankings. Highest crowd was 23,000 and lowest fifty-five.

10750 Adana Demirspor
10282 Samsunspor
9394 Balikesirspor
7984 Karsiyaka
7475 Mersin Idmanyurdu
6367 Orduspor
6146 Sanliurfaspor
5467 Adanaspor
5433 Fethiyespor
5091 Kahramanmarasspor
4283 Denizlispor
3987 BK Ankaraspor
3529 Boluspor
2859 Bucaspor
2773 Manisaspor
2674 Tavsanli Linyitspor
1341 1461 Trabzon (1461 is part of the team name, not a crowd figure)
1242 Giazantep Buyuksehir
779 Istanbul Basaksehir

The pyramid kicks in at regional levels below this. I have no figures for any of these.

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