September 27 – More than 2 million spectators have crammed in the Premier League grounds after the first six rounds of the season with Swansea, Stoke, Manchester United and Arsenal all reporting more than 99% of their stadium capacities were filled last weekend.
Round Six of Premier League fixtures saw eight of the ten teams report their grounds were over 94% full, seven of them over 96%.
The figures are taken from the clubs’ official reported attendances. However, while Manchester United reported that just 475 seats were unfilled, a count of seats from the TV broadcast very quickly finds more than 475 of them empty. It seems unlikely that the missing fans were all having prawn sandwiches with Roy Keane.
The reality is though that generally across the country Premier League matches are still the hottest tickets in town, except in Burnley and Sunderland. Of 19,221 unfilled seats, almost 15,000 of them were at Turf Moor and the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland struggled last season to get consistently close to their 49,000 stadium capacity and with the team under David Moyes struggling again this season, it is likely the same pattern will occur, with derby matches and the visit of the leagues biggest clubs being the only times they manage near-capacity crowds.
That they will be anxious to avoid is stadium capacities dropping as alarmingly as they did at Aston Villa last season. Villa were relegated and had reached the point where less than 70% of their stadium was filled.
West Ham looked to have overcome the fan violence issues that marred their opening league fixtures at their new London Stadium home. They are still aiming to increase the capacity to 60,000 once local authorities rule the stadium and fans are ‘safe’ to warrant this. They will likely have little problem filling that extra 2,000 seats. With the stadium located in the London 2012 Olympic Park and right by major shopping complex they have the benefit of being part of a ‘destination’ as well as football ground.
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