The NI Football League (NIFL) celebrated the 200,000th supporter this season through the turnstiles last week as matchday attendances are once again on the rise in the Danske Bank Premiership.
With the league currently at the half-way point of a captivating season, the average match attendance in the league has increased by a further 15% on last season, to 1,656 fans per match.
One of the most eagerly anticipated days in the calendar did not disappoint either with 18,349 fans attending Premiership games on Boxing Day past – with many of the fixtures sold out well before Christmas!
The attendances across the six games set another Irish League record, making it the highest attended NIFL matchday since official figures have been recorded.
Gerard Lawlor, NIFL Chief Executive said; “The season so far on the pitch has been fantastic, and we’re delighted that the fans have responded by coming out in their numbers to back their clubs.”
“Boxing Day was a huge day in the Irish League but we could have had up to 30,000 fans at games if not for the restricted capacities of many of our stadiums. It’s imperative that the stadium funding is finally released by the NI Executive to allow our clubs to fulfil their potential and serve their communities better.”
The introduction of more Sunday football continues to prove successful with all five Premiership games this season played on a Sunday showing an increase on the historic average match attendance of the same fixture.
Gerard added; “With so many competing options for families these days, we are so thankful that. Our challenge is to continue this growth and to help our clubs create a positive experience for new fans to their stadiums as the second half of the season promises to be even more exciting!”