What a time to be alive!
With all teams now having played a home game this year, the attendances for the EFL have surpassed 1.2m when you include the Carabao Cup first-round ties played last week. Once again this proves that the 72 league clubs have huge appeal to those outside of English football’s top flight.
It was a record-breaking opening weekend with a figure of 543,168 filing through the gates, making it the biggest this century. Then a huge quarter of a million fans passed through the turnstiles for the cup matches. This is a record number since the first-round ties dropped to just one-legged affairs.
The opening day figure is even more impressive when looked at against last year’s figure. It is up 20.7%, with over 90,000 fans in total going to games. The Championship alone saw a 44.2% increase against last season, with the return of Ipswich Town to the second tier drawing the biggest crowd of the day, as they visited Sunderland’s Stadium of Light and over 44,000 in attendance.
There was even a postponement in League Two due to bad weather, which makes the figures even more incredible. In fact, the bad weather could have put a dampener on the whole weekend, but such is the huge popularity of the game currently it didn’t keep the supporters away.
Cup proves a big draw
The Carabao Cup had its highest first-round figures since the turn of the century since its current format has been played. Close to a quarter of a million meant that year-on-year the average was up 45%.
EFL Chief Executive Trevor Birch was clearly enthused by these numbers. “It’s great to see that fans are attending in such strong numbers to watch the Cup action unfold live. [It is] testament to the quality on the pitch, atmosphere in the stands, and interest in EFL competitions.”
This opening week was backed up this past weekend when the numbers swelled up by a further 427,724, this past Saturday, proving again that there is more to football than the Premier League.