FEATURE | How do Ligue 1 stadiums and attendances compare to their European rivals?

In a recent statement, Ligue 1 have announced record attendances, as the French top-flight season reached its halfway mark. 4,52 million fans attended games since the start of the season. Mid-season attendances are thus up 12% compared to the same period last year. The increase is also remarkable compared to the pre-Covid seasons (+5% compared to 2019/20 and +7% compared to 2018/19). The average attendance of a Ligue 1 game sets a new record as well, with 23,776. Ligue 1’s biggest stadium, Marseille’s Vélodrome, ranks first in average attendance with a whopping 62,449 fans per game. PSG’s Parc des Princes ranks second with 47,667.

Ligue 1 stadiums’ fill rates are also on the rise. The average occupancy rate of Ligue 1 stadiums is set at 81%, an increase of 11 points compared to last season and seven points compared to the pre-Covid 2019/20 term. PSG’s Parc des Princes ranks first with a 99% occupancy rate.

More and more fans are filling up the Ligue 1 stadiums, but how does the French top-flight compare with their European counterparts when it comes to average attendances and fill rates ? Our interactive map provides the answers:

See it in full size here

As we can see, the Premier League and the Bundesliga are in a league of their own in Europe regarding fans’ support and stadium sizes. Whereas an average Ligue 1 game draws in 23,776 fans per game, the English and German top-flights exceed the 40,000 mark, with average fill rates way above 90 %. 

The average Ligue 1 game attendance also still falls short of those from Italy and Spain, which are close to 30,000. But Serie A and LaLiga grounds are more hollow as their average fill rates are lower than of Ligue 1. Several factors may explain this. A majority of Ligue 1 grounds are either new or recently expanded or renovated, with France being the host of several high profile sporting competitions such as Euro 2016, the 2023 Rugby World Cup or the 2024 Paris Olympics. As mentioned above, Ligue 1 is catching up with some of their European rivals with a steady pace. The French top-flight is reaping the benefits of its investment in infrastructure and in star power with Messi, Neymar and Mbappé luring fans in from all over. Those attendances and fill rate numbers would have surely been even better if Saint-Etienne hadn’t been relegated, as the legendary 42.000-capacity Chaudron is now somewhat more hollow in the depths of Ligue 2…

GFFN | Bastien Cheval

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