Crowds in the Sky Bet Football League increased by 136,000 during 2013/14, a figure that represents a 1% increase on the previous season and marks the 11th consecutive season that crowds have topped the 15m mark.
The Sky Bet Championship has retained its place as the fourth most watched league in Europe with a total audience of more than 9.1m fans, at an average of over 16,500 supporters per match. Only the Premier League (13.9m), Germany’s Bundesliga (13.1m) and Spain’s La Liga (10m) can boast more fans through the turnstiles. The Football League’s top division, once again, attracted more supporters than Italy’s Serie A (8.8m) and France’s Ligue 1 (7.8m).
Attendance in Sky Bet League 1 saw a sharp rise of over 18% with more than 4.1m people going to games in the third tier, at an average of 7,478 fans per match.
Crowds for matches in Sky Bet League 2 averaged 4,351 per match and totalled 2.4m supporters.
The Sky Bet Football League continues to attract far larger crowds than equivalent leagues in Europe's other major footballing nations. Crowds in the Sky Bet Championship outstripped Germany's Bundesliga 2 (5.4m) by more than three and a half million fans and Sky Bet League 1 crowds were larger than second tier competitions in Spain (3.3m), France (2.7m) and Italy (2.3m). Sky Bet League 2 attracted a bigger total audience than the top divisions in Scotland (2.2m), Switzerland (1.9m) and Greece (900k).
In total over 15.7m people came through the gates at matches this season. The Football League continues to enjoy sustained long term attendance growth with gates having more than doubled in the 27 years since the introduction of the Play-Offs in 1986/87.
Shaun Harvey, Chief Executive of The Football League said: “Supporters are the lifeblood of The Football League so it is always encouraging to see League crowds rising. On behalf of all our clubs I would like to thank anyone who has been to a game this season.
“Gate receipts are the most important source of revenue for many Football League clubs whose efforts to attract and retain fans should be applauded."