Revealed: Does attendance equate to A-League Men’s teams success?

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Attendance figures on game days have taken a huge hit this season, and last.

Although there remains large contingents of fans around the country who immerse themselves in the culture and continue to fill seats on game day.

But how, if at all, do the ebbs and flows of crowd numbers affect a team’s success?

Embed from Getty Images

This inquest will determine a result by looking at data from a pre-COVID A-League Men’s season and the first season to be hit by COVID.

Looking at the 2020/21 season, which was the season newly disrupted by COVID, it also welcomed a 12th club in Macarthur FC.

Starting with the 2020/21 season:

The results above determined that there were six teams who sat above the average per week number of 5,576. They were:

  • Western Sydney Wanderers – First place for attendance at 8,062 but finished eighth on the table
  • Sydney FC – Second place for attendance at 7,813 and finished second on the table
  • Adelaide United – Third place for attendance at 7,383 and finished fifth on the table
  • Brisbane Roar – Fourth place for attendance at 6,058 and finished fourth on the table
  • Melbourne Victory – Fifth place for attendance at 5,823 but finished in last place on the table
  • Melbourne City – Sixth place for attendance at 5,822 and finished in first place on the table

From this, a total of 67 percent of teams that placed top six in attendance also finished top six on the table at the conclusion of the season.

If you are shocked by these numbers, being ridden by COVID would be the main factor contributing to the low attendance numbers.

For reference, let us take a look at the 2019/20 season.

The results from this table determined that there were only three teams who sat above the average attendance per week number of 8,789. They were Victory, Wanderers and the Sky Blues. By order of comparison, taking a look at the top six for the 2020/19 season:

  • Melbourne Victory: First place for attendance at 17,366 but finished in tenth place on the table
  • Western Sydney Wanderers: Second place for attendance at 10,965 but finished ninth
  • Sydney FC: Third place for attendance at 9,688 and finished in first place
  • Brisbane Roar: Fourth place for attendance at 8,628 and finished fourth on the table
  • Wellington Phoenix: Fifth place for attendance at 8,620 and finished third on the table
  • Melbourne City: Sixth place for attendance at 8,310 and finished second on the table

From these findings, a total of a 67 percent of teams that placed top six also placed in the top six sides for average attendance rate.

Comparing the two seasons, Melbourne Victory suffered the most significant blow in attendance rates dropping from 17,366 to an average of 5,823 per home game.

This did not affect their position on the table drastically, so it seems they just have loyal fans. As they were one of the sides that were top six in attendances but failed to resemble the same result when it came to their position on the table, finishing 10th and last respectfully.

Overall the attendance in the stands does not seem to contribute to a club’s success, it seems to be a result of their success, or fan loyalty in the case of Victory.

Feature Image credit: Jordan Trombetta

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Ash Ramos
Ash Ramos
Journalism student at Curtin University covering Perth Glory for the 2021/22 A-leagues season. Siuuu

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