December 30 – The English Football league (EFL) has reported record Christmas attendances with more than half a million football fans going to the Boxing Day round of fixtures boosting average attendances to higher than some of Europe’s biggest leagues.
The figures mirror the boost in the Premier League attendances for Christmas that showed an average capacity at Premier League stadia of 97.44%
EFL matches showed a 7% increase on the same period last year. Sky Bet Championship clubs experienced a 25% increase, while there was a 17% rise for Sky Bet League One clubs with nearly 135,000 fans attending matches.
Sky Bet Championship matches averaged more than 25,000 across the 12 fixtures with Newcastle United having the highest overall attendance in the EFL with more than 52,000 supporters at St James Park. A figure that contrasts starkly with their two north east rivals in the Premier League – Middlesbrough and Sunderland – who have so far failed to break the 90% full capacity marks at their stadia this season.
Aston Villa, a Premier League team like Newcastle last season, also witnessed a return to bumper crowds with 41,337 at Villa Park, the sixth highest attendance in the country, for the game against Burton Albion. Villa struggled to get over 40,000 crowds all last season and ended the campaign averaging under 30,000 for their last three home games.
It wasn’t just in the Championship that impressive numbers were recorded. In League One 25,821 watched Sheffield United beat Oldham Athletic, surpassing crowd totals at four Premier League matches, including the games at Swansea City, Hull City, Burnley and Watford.
This gate surpasses average attendances so far this season for clubs in Serie A (21,414), Ligue 1 (20,003) and the Eredivisie (18,907).
Top 10 EFL fixtures (Boxing Day and Tuesday 27 December)
- Newcastle United v Sheffield Wednesday (Championship) – 52,179
- Aston Villa v Burton Albion (Championship) – 41,337
- Derby County v Birmingham City (Championship) – 32,616
- Brighton & Hove Albion v QPR (Championship) – 30,176
- Sheffield United v Oldham Athletic (League One) – 25,821
- Wolves v Bristol City (Championship) – 24,669
- Huddersfield Town v Nottingham Forest (Championship) – 22,100
- Bradford City v Scunthorpe United (League One) – 21,874
- Preston North End v Leeds United (Championship) – 21,255
- Reading v Norwich City (Championship) – 21,180
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