France’s Ligue 1 fails to build on Euros with club attendances dropping

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October 14 – After eight match days the French top flight Ligue 1 has attracted almost 5% less spectators than last season. The downward trend is worrying for French football that had hoped to build on the success of Euro 2016 in terms of attendances to club matches.

France’s stadiums were full for the European Championship with fans coming from across the continent to savor the atmosphere and support their teams, but that enthusiasm has not stimulated the domestic game. Games are often poorly attended and the league’s marketing machine struggling to make an impact.

Montpellier and Marseille have seen their attendances in the early stages of Ligue 1 decline with 30.5% and 43.3% respectively, compared to the 2015-16 season. PSG and Lille have suffered drops of 4.2% and 15.1% respectively. Olympique Lyon, with a new stadium, has enjoyed a rise of 46%. But overall attendances have declined by 4.9% compared to the same stage last season.

The LFP had expected that the league would benefit from the new infrastructure build for Euro 2016. The state of emergency (following the terror strikes), the economic crisis and the dominance of PSG have been offered as multiple reasons of the malaise, but Ligue 1 very much remains behind La Liga, the Premier League and the Bundesliga, the leading European leagues, in terms of appeal and traction with fans.

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