EFL attendances hit 70-year high

The 2022-23 Championship play-off final between Luton Town and Coventry City at Wembley Stadium

Featured image credit: EFL

The English Football League (EFL) has today (Friday) reported that its competitions for the 2022-23 season drew their highest cumulative attendances in nearly seven decades.

The total mark of 21,749,440 is the best for league matches since 1953-54. Of that total, 19.8 million attended a fixture in the Championship, League One or League Two, and their respective end of season play-offs, ranking the season in the top 10 highest regular EFL attendances of all time. 

The EFL said all three divisions featured in the top 20 best attended leagues across Europe in 2022-23, while a record 443,765 fans attended the 15 play-off fixtures, the most since the format was introduced in 1987.   

Over 10.3 million fans attended a match in the Championship, the first time that milestone has been broken since 2018-19 and only the 11th time this has been achieved in tier two football, making the Championship the fifth best attended division in Europe behind only the Premier League, Bundesliga, LaLiga and Serie A, according to the EFL.   

English football’s third tier, League One, also made the European top 10 with nearly 5.8 million fans attending a match, while League Two was in 14th place with nearly 3.2 million supporters taking in a fixture in the fourth tier. 

The EFL said a 15% rise in season ticket sales from 2020-21 has contributed to the growth in attendances. This represents the highest number of season tickets sold from any EFL season in the 21st century.

The Carabao Cup and EFL Trophy saw another 1.9 million fans in grounds across both competitions. This season’s EFL Trophy final between Bolton Wanderers and Plymouth Argyle attracted 79,389 fans, ensuring the fixture was the highest attended across Europe that weekend, while the 87,306 fans from Manchester United and Newcastle United that attended the Carabao Cup final made it the highest attended since 2014-15.  

Commenting on the figures, EFL chief executive, Trevor Birch, said: “To welcome nearly 22 million supporters to an EFL competition in 2022-23 is quite remarkable.

“These numbers don’t happen by accident. They are testament to the efforts of the 72 clubs to create such quality football and matchday experiences that encourages fans to attend matches in person even when there are so many other ways to consume football, and particularly when so many people are facing a squeeze on their finances. 

“The continued rise in season ticket sales, and particularly junior season ticket sales, is really encouraging. Quite simply, these fans are the future of our game which is why it is so heartening to see so many young supporters attending fixtures regularly and developing a love of the game that they will hopefully take with them throughout their lives.”