The Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance offers an insight into football clubs’ stadium key indicators of attendance and capital infrastructure. This year’s report concludes that clubs remain committed to developing their stadiums and improving the matchday experience, with 2014/15 seeing a record level of capital expenditure by English clubs on infrastructure and facilities.
Attendances for Premier League and Football League clubs remained relatively stable for the 2015/16 season. Total attendances for Premier League clubs were almost 14 million, and stadia capacity utilisation remained over 95% for the fourth consecutive season. Total attendances across the 72 Football League clubs exceeded 16 million for the tenth time in the past 12 seasons.
Premier League clubs’ attendances
For the 2015/16 season, the average attendance for Premier League clubs rose by 1% to 36,481 and average stadium capacity utilisation remained at 96%, with 16 clubs achieving utilisation of over 95%. Only two clubs had stadium utilisation below 90% – Aston Villa (79%) and Sunderland (88%). Premier League average attendances remain the second highest in world football, behind the German Bundesliga which enjoyed an average attendance of almost 43,000 in 2015/16 inside their overall higher capacity stadia (average utilisation level was around 91%). The German Bundesliga has nine clubs with a stadium able to host over 50,000 spectators.
Football League clubs’ attendances
In the 2015/16 season, the average attendance for Championship clubs decreased by 2% to 17,582. Six clubs generated an average attendance over 20,000, topped by Derby County with an average close on 30,000.
League 1 clubs’ attendances remained steady at 7,166, headed by Shef eld United (close on 20,000). League 2 clubs’ attendances increased 4% to 4,904, with promotion-chasing Portsmouth achieving an impressive average crowd of over 16,000.
Premier League clubs’ capital expenditure
It was another strong year of capital investment in the Premier League with a record total spend of £228m in the 2014/15 season, an increase of £16m (8%).
Manchester City (£62m) were the largest capital spenders for the third successive season, as they continue to develop their facilities in and around the Etihad Stadium. Tottenham Hotspur (£43m) invested the second most, with their stadium development project, which includes plans for a 61,000 seat stadium finalised in December 2015.
Other significant expenditure in the 2014/15 season included Liverpool (£36m), who continue to redevelop, and Chelsea (£33m) who have announced plans to build a 60,000 capacity stadium at its Stamford Bridge site.
Football League clubs’ capital expenditure
Total capital expenditure in the Championship increased by 8% in 2014/15 to £53m. Brentford had the highest capital expenditure, spending £16m on their proposed new stadium “Brentford Community Stadium”, which has a projected capacity of 20,000. Watford (£6m) were the second largest spenders in the Championship, with work completing in the season on a new 3,000+ stand at its Vicarage Road stadium.
Of the £21m of capital expenditure in League 1, three- quarters relates to the £16m investment Bristol City have made for the redevelopment of Ashton Gate.
£3m was spent on capital expenditure by League 2 clubs, almost half (£1.3m) in relation to Portsmouth’s new training base in the city.