What makes people in major football markets attend games – and what keeps them away?
October 9th, 2019, Charlie Dundas

What makes people in major football markets attend games – and what keeps them away?

With all football seasons across Europe now well-underway, we have been thinking about what draws people to attend matches – and whether those factors differ across leagues.

So we polled football fans in five countries which are home to major soccer leagues and asked these supporters what made them turn up each week – as well as what keeps them away. As you might expect, we found some interesting differences between markets.

With the exception of Spain, the top three reasons for attending a game were the same in every country – namely, to watch the team each of our respondents supported, to enjoy a great atmosphere, and because attending a game provides a better experience than watching on TV (see chart below).


As you might expect, the primary driver for attendance is team allegiance, although in Germany it is the match-day experience that matters more than this.

Spaniards are most likely to mention team allegiance, and whilst Italians cite atmosphere as one of their top three reasons to attend a game, they are almost half as likely to do so as Germans. Similarly, French fans cite the fact that attending a game is superior to watching on TV as one of their top reasons, but they are only around half as likely to say this as German fans.

We also asked football fans in each country about the reasons not to attend a match. In the chart below you can see three of the most commonly-mentioned factors (although unlike the reasons to attend, these were not uniformly the top three reasons in every country).

Fans in the UK were most likely to cite cost as a reason for not attending – and cost was the most common reason for not attending in every market.


Fans in Italy were most likely to mention the safety of venues and the behaviour of fans as reasons for not attending a game. Although venue safety was a factor for some UK fans, British football supporters are least likely to mention this as a factor.

Outside of these top three reasons, other factors were also cited. French fans were most likely to mention the standard of football as a reason for not attending. Italian fans were most likely to mention the lack of pre-match and halftime entertainment. British fans were most likely to mention the timing of matches as well as transport issues.

In a blog we’ll publish next week, we will look at how fans perceive their leagues – who comes out top (and bottom) for excitement, entertainment, value and more. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to see all our content first.

Photo © Mika Kornhonen