Attendances per head of population

For ongoing discussion and information on global crowd figures
Post Reply
Site Admin
Posts: 7665
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2005 4:51 pm

Attendances per head of population

Post by Scottish » Wed Mar 04, 2015 7:40 pm

A different perspective is thrown on attendances if these are looked at in terms of population. These are the figures based on the population attending the average top division match in each country. Some surprising results emerge. For instance, despite having its best clubs playing in league and non-league football in England, the League of Wales draws a higher level of support than the top division in Brazil! Northern Ireland comes above Argentina. In fact, when examined this way, European attendances are far greater than elsewhere, with just two non-European countries – Uruguay and Costa Rica – appearing in the top twenty.

The best supported league in the world – the Bundesliga – drops down to 27th by this measure and the second best – the English Premier – just scrapes into the top twenty. Scotland rise to fourth in the world.

Where countries have the same numbers, the country with the highest actual average has been placed first.

One word of warning: it’s easier for smaller countries to maintain a higher ratio of spectators to population. For example, if 500 people attend a match in the Faroes then they only need another 500 at another game to maintain the same ratio. A game in Germany needs over 40,000 just to stand still. If this happens then the numbers remain the same but on the basis of ABSOLUTE numbers, the first is easier to achieve than the second. This can be seen from the table, in which there are no countries with a population in excess of 20,000,000 until England in 20th position.

Because leagues have different numbers of clubs and many have a home/away imbalance in matches, these figures are expressed as a percentage of the total population attending the average top division match

Tier One (87 countries)
1.0184 Faroe Islands
0.3021 Cyprus
0.2805 Iceland
0.1933 Scotland
0.1396 Denmark
0.1346 Norway
0.1327 Malta
0.1312 Switzerland
0.1161 Uruguay
0.1155 Netherlands
0.1063 Belgium
0.0977 Portugal
0.0917 Montenegro
0.0800 Luxembourg
0.0754 Albania
0.0748 Croatia
0.0732 Sweden
0.0719 Austria
0.0700 Costa Rica
0.0680 England
0.0663 Israel
0.0628 Macedonia
0.0578 Spain
0.0568 Australia
0.0549 Bolivia
0.0542 Serbia
0.0538 Germany
0.0482 Northern Ireland
0.0481 Czech Republic
0.0428 Argentina
0.0421 Slovenia
0.0409 Ecuador
0.0408 Slovakia
0.0390 Italy
0.0387 Tunisia
0.0373 Finland
0.0367 Greece
0.0338 Republic of Ireland
0.0337 Singapore
0.0334 Malaysia
0.0329 France
0.0313 United Arab Emirates
0.0310 Bosnia
0.0304 Hungary
0.0301 Algeria
0.0281 Chile
0.0263 Ukraine
0.0247 Honduras
0.0245 Bulgaria
0.0241 Uzbekistan
0.0224 Kazakhstan
0.0224 Lithuania
0.0220 Paraguay
0.0213 Poland
0.0200 Estonia
0.0195 Belarus
0.0187 Armenia
0.0185 Romania
0.0184 Mexico
0.0180 Turkey
0.0179 Colombia
0.0162 Georgia
0.0160 Azerbaijan
0.0156 South Korea
0.0156 Saudi Arabia
0.0143 Hong Kong
0.0141 Latvia
0.0136 Japan
0.0133 Moldova
0.0129 Venezuela
0.0128 Guatemala
0.0124 South Africa
0.0119 Morocco
0.0116 Peru
0.0113 New Zealand
0.0107 Wales
0.0096 Iran
0.0083 Brazil
0.0079 Russia
0.0079 Vietnam
0.0078 Thailand
0.0060 USA
0.0045 Kenya
0.0029 Indonesia
0.0027 Nigeria
0.0021 India
0.0014 China

As a way of discovering which countries which have the most popular second tiers it is again necessary to express this as numbers of the TOTAL population and to continue in this manner until we reach level five.

Tier Two (57 countries)
0.1684 Faroe Islands
0.0790 Iceland
0.0348 Scotland
0.0335 Sweden
0.0309 England
0.0268 Norway
0.0238 Denmark
0.0226 Luxembourg
0.0224 Finland
0.0221 Germany
0.0205 Argentina
0.0195 Albania
0.0190 Austria
0.0183 Netherlands
0.0177 Switzerland
0.0173 Belgium
0.0167 Spain
0.0158 Uruguay
0.0132 Bosnia
0.0123 France
0.0116 Israel
0.0112 Serbia
0.0111 Czech Republic
0.0111 Republic of Ireland
0.0110 Slovakia
0.0097 Italy
0.0092 Croatia
0.0090 Chile
0.0081 Hungary
0.0080 Lithuania
0.0080 Slovenia
0.0078 Moldova
0.0075 Malaysia
0.0075 Romania
0.0074 Ecuador
0.0072 Portugal
0.0068 Bulgaria
0.0064 Turkey
0.0062 Estonia
0.0055 Belarus
0.0052 Japan
0.0044 Colombia
0.0042 Poland
0.0040 Thailand
0.0038 Mexico
0.0038 Wales
0.0036 Ukraine
0.0032 Armenia
0.0030 Vietnam
0.0029 Brazil
0.0024 South Korea
0.0023 Russia
0.0017 USA
0.0014 Indonesia
0.0012 Venezuela
0.0004 India
0.0004 China

Caution needs to expressed with regard to figures from the third tiers onwards as many of these are regionalised. For example, in tier four, countries like Austria, Brazil and Poland operate regional leagues almost reaching into double figures, with well in excess of 100 teams taking part. At the other extreme, Iceland and Scotland have national leagues with just ten clubs. Obviously the latter have a far greater chance of reaching higher percentages. In Scotland’s case the third tier in this season was something of a freak due to the presence of Rangers at this level.

Tier Three (25 countries)
0.1041 Scotland
0.0350 Iceland
0.0139 England
0.0075 Germany
0.0072 Denmark
0.0066 Uruguay
0.0058 Austria
0.0055 Norway
0.0050 Sweden
0.0050 Estonia
0.0049 Netherlands
0.0048 Slovakia
0.0039 Italy
0.0038 Spain
0.0033 France
0.0032 Switzerland
0.0022 Poland
0.0022 Czech Republic
0.0020 Brazil
0.0018 Japan
0.0016 Ukraine
0.0012 Mexico
0.0010 USA
0.0009 Russia
0.0009 Malaysia

Tier Four (14 countries)
0.0243 Iceland
0.0089 Scotland
0.0081 England

0.0040 Slovakia
0.0033 Switzerland
0.0031 Austria
0.0022 Sweden
0.0017 Czech Republic
0.0016 Italy
0.0014 Germany
0.0010 Brazil
0.0007 Japan
0.0007 Poland
0.0003 Mexico

Tier Five (five countries)
0.0122 Iceland
0.0035 England
0.0022 Switzerland
0.0015 Sweden
0.0003 Germany

Site Admin
Posts: 7665
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2005 4:51 pm

Re: Attendances per head of population

Post by Scottish » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:21 am

As can be seen from the above, Scottish football comes in very highly with positions in the four tiers of (in order of division) 4th, 4th, 1st and 2nd. The presence of Rangers was obviously the reason for the top spot but there were no real big names in the Championship or League Two and that didn't stop those divisions from securing high placings.

Current Scottish figures (up to and including March 4th 2015) are:
0.1618 Premiership
0.1346 Championship
0.0179 League One
0.0095 League Two

This means placings of 4th, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd. So while the loss of Hearts and Hibs means a big drop in Premiership attendances, Scotland would still be fourth overall. The huge jump in the Championship thanks to the presence of the Edinburgh clubs and Rangers would push Scotland up from third to second. Perhaps more surprisingly, despite the loss of Rangers from League One, that division would drop just once place to second. The modest increase in League Two would see that tier remain second.

The last season with both the Old Firm in the top division was 2011-12 and the figures then of 0.2615 would still leave Scotland fourth overall.

So, despite a drop of around 5,000 per Premiership match in the past three seasons, Scotland's position, per head of population, has remained static and enviable.

Duncan Thaw
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2022 12:33 pm

Re: Attendances per head of population

Post by Duncan Thaw » Sat Jun 11, 2022 2:39 pm

Decided to have a look at some of the numbers for season 2021/22.

I notice that “percentage of the population who attend the AVERAGE game in league X” is different from “percentage who attend GAMES in league X”. For example, when comparing Scotland’s main leagues with England, the average in England is spread across a greater number of games per matchday – 10 or 12 rather than 5 or 6.

I’m not any kind of authority on statistics but I wonder if the latter measure might give a more accurate indication of the popularity of a league itself – as opposed to the popularity of the average club in that league.

Based on my suggested method, the percentage figures for last season in Scotland and England are as follows.


Scotland 1.6002 (1 in 62)
England 0.7032 (1 in 142)


Scotland 0.2024 (1 in 494)
England 0.3599 (1 in 278)


Scotland 0.0827 (1 in 1208)
England 0.2160 (1 in 463)


Scotland 0.0388 (1 in 2578)
England 0.1064 (1 in 940)

In these terms, Scotland’s top division would remain ahead of the EPL but England’s third tier is more popular than Scotland’s second, and England’s fourth tier more popular than Scotland’s third.

However, Scotland’s four leagues combined would still come out on top, with the equivalent of 1 in 52 of the population attending one of the average set of fixtures, compared to 1 in 72 in England.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests