The number of fans who attended Etisalat Pro-League matches in Season 2010-2011 increased 23.8% on the previous season, with an average 3,240 spectators per match compared to 2,616 in 2009-2010.
The growth is even more significant when comparing this season to the inaugural 2008-2009 season, which averaged 2,280 spectators per match, as this equates to a 42% increase in only three seasons.
The figures also indicate that the UFL is getting closer to achieving the AFC Football Confederation’s goal of 5,000 spectators per match for Leagues participating in the Asian Champions League.
“We are pleased with the increase in 2010/11 match day attendance figures, and the continued upward trend since the League launched three seasons ago,” said Carlo Nohra, the UAE Football League (UFL) CEO.
“However we also recognise the figures from this season have been largely boosted by Al Jazira thanks to their dedicated marketing efforts to increase their fan base and home match attendances. In order for the success to continue it will be vital that the League and other clubs follow suit by investing greater resources and budgets in order to attract fans and deliver a better match-day experience.”
One Million Spectators Milestone
In another milestone, the Etisalat Pro-League exceeded the one million spectator mark this season, with 1,073,918 spectators in total since its inception in 2008-2009.
The figures were undoubtedly boosted by the strong home crowds achieved by Al Jazira, which saw the Club attract 175,139 spectators in their 11 Etisalat Pro-League home matches at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, including a record match day attendance of 36,241 in their last match of the season. This was an average of 15,922 spectators per match, which was a dramatic increase of more than 100% on the previous season for the Club.
Al Jazira’s commitment to marketing the Club and investing in match-day entertainment and incentives see them leading the way with a 41% share of the total spectators this season, while the other clubs shared the remaining 59%.
Despite a dramatic season with poor results, Al Ain’s fans remained loyal ensuring the Club recorded the second highest crowd attendance with 54,452 spectators in total and an average of 4,950 per match.
They were followed by Al Wahda who, whilst not living up to expectation on the pitch, still managed to attract an average of 3,608 per home match. However overall this was a disappointing result for the Club who averaged 6,027 last season.
In fourth position was Al Wasl with an average of 3,240 and they will very much be looking for a significant increase next season following the signing of Maradona, a sure crowd puller.
Next was Al Ahli, whose attendance increased significantly this season largely thanks to Italian great Cannavaro, with an average of 2,513 per match compared to 1,503 last season.
Al Ahli was followed by Bani Yas with an average of 2,317, however their fan base was not indicative of their success on the pitch and the Club will need to identify ways to attract new fans next season. Next was Al Nasr with 1,703, followed by Sharjah who averaged 1,196, Al Shabab with 1,065, Dubai with 901, and finally the two relegated teams Al Dhafra with an average of 802 and Kalba with an average of 659 spectators per game.