With over 100 games now completed in the 2016 League of Ireland season – Extratime.ie reporter Gareth Penrose takes a look at the Airtricity League’s attendance figures.
At the time of writing this article, we are half way through Gameweek 11 of the Airtricity League of Ireland season – that equates to 101 completed games across two divisions. Of the 101 matches, we have secured 81 official attendances with 20 figures estimated as best as possible. Out of 20 clubs, 13 have provided a full set of official figures. Derry City (five estimates from five games), Bray Wanderers (four estimates from five games) and UCD (four estimates from five games) make up the majority of our estimates with the remaining seven estimates split over four clubs (Athlone Town – 2, Cabinteely – 2, Longford Town – 2, Shamrock Rovers – 1). We will continue to attempt to secure the missing attendances and update this article if we do so.
The 101 games have seen 129,969 people pass through the turnstiles - 109,215 in the Premier Division (12 clubs) and 20,754 in the First Division (8 clubs). The Premier Division average attendance was 1,734 with the First Division somewhat lower at 546. If you remove the rampaging Limerick from the First Division figures the average attendance drops to 417. The Super Blues home attendances make up an impressive 34% of the total division’s attendances. The table toppers five home attendances rank 1st to 5th on the top attendance list in the division meaning their lowest attendance this season is higher than any other clubs best showing.
Cork City are the best performing club in the league at attracting the crowds with an average attendance of 2,838. They are closely followed by Dundalk on 2,672 and Shamrock Rovers on 2,374. At the other end of the spectrum, Athlone Town’s average of 201 ranks lowest (includes two estimated figures) with UCD (305 – four estimates) and Cobh (373) making up the bottom three.
Our first graphic below shows a club-by-club breakdown for their total attendance count and the average gate for the season. We’ve also included the number of games and how many of the attendance figures are estimated.
If you were to ask who holds the highest home attendance in the 2016 league season, not many would reply with Finn Harps (unless you read our attendance articles each week) but that is the case. The Donegal side’s return to the Premier Division with a local derby clash against Derry City drew 4,195 spectators. Cork City’s home game against Bohemians ranks second with 4,028. Incidentally Cork City have three of the top 10 attendances this season. Bohemians derby clash with Shamrock Rovers completes the top 3 with 3,627.
Shamrock Rovers have two top 10 attendances (although the Dundalk figure is an estimate) with Dundalk also coming in with two. The graphic below shows the full top ten list. The first time a 1st Division team features in the top attendances list is in 34th place – Limerick’s home game against Cobh Ramblers is the best of the lower tier’s attendances (1,590)
The opening Gameweek of the season still ranks as the best with an average attendance of 1,912. Gameweek 4 (1,573) then Gameweek 2 (1,553) followed by Gameweek 3 (1,529) complete the top four best performing weeks.
The Easter weekend (Gameweek 5) saw the average plummet to 760 but it must be pointed out that most of the weaker performing clubs attendance wise were playing at home. It easily ranks as the worst of the ten completed Gameweeks to date. Since then the variance in the average has steadied with a low of 1,052 (Gameweek 7) to a high of 1,225 (Gameweek 8). The graphic below shows all ten Gameweeks.
A full Gameweek by Gameweek breakdown of attendances is available below. The figures in red at estimated values. Should any of the clubs come forward with official figures to replace the estimates, we will update this article.
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