Falling gates

Attendances at Portuguese league games have stagnated over the past five years, averaging just over 10,000 spectators per game.

With every Porto, Benfica and Sporting game being shown live on TV, it is no wonder that in these difficult economic times, fans are staying at home.

Liga ZON Sagres has slipped out of the top ten leagues in Europe, for crowds, with the Swiss league taking their place.

The failure of Sporting in recent years has had a direct impact on attendances. According to the study ‘European Football Attendance Report 2011’, developed by IPAM (Portuguese Institute of Marketing Management), the Alvalade club has lost, on average, 10,000 fans per game over the last five years.

The study analysed the gates of the top twenty European leagues (322 teams). Benfica crowds were down 12,000 per game compared to their 2009/10 Championship winning season.

In contrast, FC Porto, with an average attendance of 36,986 spectators (still lower than Benfica, with 38,146 spectators per game) had the highest occupancy rate of 75%.

The figures are well below those registered across Europe with Barcelona in top spot averaging 80,000 per match.

Olhanense’s average gate dropped from 4,132 in 2009/10 to 3,004 last term, only slightly ahead of Portimonense, who played half their games at the Algarve Stadium.

Bottom of the list were relegated Naval, who averaged 1,526.