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World\'s most popular football clubs and leagues

  • Wednesday, November 10 2004 @ 05:01 am ACDT
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General News Every now and then the debate begins about which football clubs (regardless of code) are the biggest or best supported, or which cities support their teams best. Now there is a website that answers some of these questions.

World Football Rankings lists crowd figures for all the top football codes in various countries around the world (probably based on 2003 statistics). Note that worldfootynews.com merely noticed this site and does not guarantee the veracity of the data.

American Football's Washington Redskins are listed as the most popular team, based on average home ground attendences, pulling in 80,000 fans to each game. The first Australian Rules football clubs listed are Collingwood at number 48, Adelaide at 56 and Essendon at 58, all around 40,000 to 50,000 spectators. The top soccer club was Borussia Dortmund at about 78,000.

A list of the top Australian Rules football clubs is also given, and interestingly they do list some teams from non-Australian leagues. Again, worldfootynews.com does not vouch for this data, and notes that there would be numerous minor leagues in Australia pulling in larger average crowds than some of those listed towards the end of the table.

The above link also shows the top total crowd figures per city, counting the top sports in those cities. This demonstrates the huge numbers that show up each week in Melbourne to watch AFL football. Another interesting statistic not given would be crowds per capita, in which smaller cities such as Perth and Adelaide (and some others around the world) would do well.

And finally, there is a list of the top drawing leagues in the world. American Football comes out on top, with the AFL fourth. It is interesting to note that there are only nine leagues in the world listed in which the average crowd is greater than 20,000. There is a general attitude in Australia that if a sport "only" gets a few thousand people attending, it is not doing very well and by implication is not very good. This is not a fair measure by world standards, and is something to bear in mind when judging the growth and standard of Australian football leagues around the world.

Of course all these figures are just a bit of fun, and cannot make allowance for issues such as how many teams a city has, or what capacity the stadiums hold. For example most West Coast Eagles and Adelaide matches are sold out, with any crowds less than capacity due to no-shows, so much greater crowds may have attended if possible. Similarly other AFL clubs such as Sydney and Essendon have experienced sell-outs at times, as no doubt do many teams around the world.