The attendance of the Russian arenas grows very slowly

When the country will host the world Cup, try to take the kids to the stadiums. Because that’s where they can breathe in such atmosphere, which probably breathe will not have to. Though, because selling out our arenas are rare. “MK” understood why. And what to do with it.


photo: Evgeny Semenov
Despite the opening of the new stadium, CSKA loses viewers.

Football is our most popular sport, but clubs are hard to dream about how to make money on the tickets. After all, with rare exceptions, the stadiums are not filled even half. If not to go deep into the story, in 90-e years, the most disastrous for the Russian football Premier League was the 2014/2015 season with an average attendance of 10 to 250 people. In the 2011/2012 season and the next figure was higher — about 13 thousand. The next season — 2013/2014 — was not so rosy — 11.5 thousand on average. In the last two years the number of spectators gradually increased: first 11 thousand in the past — 11.5 thousand But the statistics are still disappointing.

The reasons were highly varied, surveys were conducted of the fans. In 2012, polls by the order of the RFU conducted a sociological research, which revealed that the most relevant reasons are following.

The high price of tickets. This was especially true reason of Moscow and St. Petersburg. At the same time, it is the city with the highest standard of living in Russia. First of all, of course, repelled by the discrepancy between the price level and offer for the price of show and comfort. With the opening of new stadiums (“Open arena”, “VEB-arena”, the stadium “St.-Petersburg” and “Krasnodar”, “Kazan-arena”) the level of comfort increased. Prices, though, too. For example, with the opening of the arena CSKA (details about traffic dynamics later) the army club still loses viewers. At the beginning of the current season (the first League games attendance is consistently above average in all clubs, because people miss the football during the break) on the Premier League’s newcomer “SKA-Khabarovsk” in the July day had only 8,500 spectators. The eighth round is usually the interest falls, but “Ahmad” has come almost two times more — 16 400, even though it wasn’t the match of the first category. The fact that CSKA just before the game with the “Ahmat” reduced ticket prices.

Another reason is the aggressive behavior of fans. With this on the eve of the world Cup we are actively fighting. But the blame and the media that such an aggressive way fans have created. Of course, aggression happens, and pyrotechnics burn, and fight, and shout obscenities. However, most ordinary fans, this aggression is not for, and go to the football and five, and ten years ago it was no more dangerous than going down into the subway at rush hour.

Another potential viewers frightened police work. This reason can also be sent to the warehouse of history, because now in the stadiums carried out the inspection, the launch of the audience and the observation of order in the stands only stewards. The police is, but it is outside the perimeter of a sports facility. And is ready, if it suddenly happens something unpleasant.

And that’s how it seems, the reason: there is no feeling of celebration and comfort. This clubs also began to slowly cope. Earned the fan zone with entertainment before the match, children’s rooms, the stadium plays music, DJs regularly hold interactive sessions with the audience before and at halftime. Food, drinks — everything was there and in sufficient quantity. And queue are not as huge. Nevertheless, the atmosphere is the main thing you need the viewer. It must be sold, inviting fans to the game.

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Fans to come to football, you must first create the demand for this is football. This task is the hardest. But as soon as the demand is there, the audience came to the game, here it is necessary to keep the atmosphere. And that he has not forgotten how great it is to constantly maintain interest and excitement not only to the game itself, but to the players, to their lives.

Why is the United States with attendance of sports competitions are all very good? Primarily because Americans have the blood of competitive excitement. They have a demand for the sport, and started a very long time. At the beginning of last century, the country began to actively promote mass sports, starting with secondary schools. If you watch American movies, you know what the coolest guy in school — who? Correct: the captain of the team in American football (basketball, lacrosse, etc.). Cool girls play basketball, soccer and hockey, well, at worst they are the cheerleaders. You’re successful, promising athlete? Then you’re going to the best colleges in the US, even if you’re in mathematics with physics oak oak.

Well, is it any wonder, when educated in this way American citizens the crowds are going to cheer for the team of their city? In what sport doesn’t matter. Yes, the European football they are not the most popular view, but im interested in more and more people in the United States, more and more students plays. And attendance is already comparable to the popular U.S. hockey and basketball.

Another reason for the popularity of the sport is that the States are able to maintain the interest of the audience. Main approach: to avoid a gap in quality between the teams. Professional League are doing everything to maintain the competitiveness of each. For example, the system of draft, where the best athletes have the right to pick the worst clubs, invented precisely to support entertainment sports. Therefore, going to the game, fans can predict the outcome — this to watch the matches more interesting. The name of the opponent does not affect the attendance of the match — in contrast to our football Premier League, for example, where “Zenith” and “Spartacus” will come in two to three times more fans than the “Ufa” or “Ural”.

Of course, the intrigue factor is fundamental in solving attendance problems. And perhaps important first of all for the mentality of Americans. At the same time in Germany (which we will discuss in detail below) have a strong Bayern or Borussia Dortmund, the outcome of many matches can be predicted, however this does not prevent them to be the most visited in the country, and in Europe.


photo: Evgeny Semenov

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In Europe, the approach to conducting sports business is a little different. Speeches about how to take care of the welfare of all clubs in the League. In the end, this often leads to the fact that in the country there are two or three (sometimes a little more) club, who compete for the championship. And the winning team not from this cohort becomes a sensation, as, for example, the title “Leicester” in England in 2016 and “Atletico” (Madrid) in Spain in 2014.

Michel Platini as President of UEFA, generally strong comments about the attitude to football as a business: “Attempts to turn the game into a show to humiliate the sport and turn into a product. Profit becomes more important than victories.” Of course, the super clubs of Europe who have a history of decades of victories not only in domestic but also internationally, to do business in the sport much easier and care about filling the stadiums is not worth it in the first place. And yet they constantly promote the team as a whole and his players individually. They become a secular people, sorry, they are your pages in social networks — and all this contributes to their popularity and the popularity of the clubs.

Are other marketing campaigns. For example, “Manchester United” in August of this year, was invited to its membership the fastest man on the planet Usain Bolt, retired this summer, and cares for the English club. Of course, the Bolt was not supposed to play in official matches is expected that he will play in exhibition charity meeting Manchester United against Barcelona. Sorry, but until that happens: Usain Bolt missed the game due to injury.

And yet, despite all the marketing tricks, despite the fact that the British — the founders of football, they can’t boast of such attendance, as in Germany. The secret again in the love of the people to the sport in General. To introduce sport into the lives of ordinary Germans began in the late XVIII century! And now every third German citizen is a member of a sports community. But since the mid-nineteenth century in the port cities of German workers learned to play football from the British sailors, it became the number one sport. And though the first football club in Germany was founded by the British, now the Germans put English football on the blades. This applies to attendance, and achievements of the team.

In German sports in General can do almost everything correctly, why no touch. That football happened. Every weekend in the country is about 80 thousand football matches, there are 25 thousand Amateur teams, 175 thousand people are involved in football. When the national team was a failure in Germany, quickly reformed the system of training players, and now we see a formidable machine, capable of destroying the Brazilians in their home world Cup…

At German stadiums without any problems and get on the fans and “kuzmichi”, as we call conventional fans. “Kuzmichi” money for the club, the fans support the atmosphere at the match. Of course, they are a little bully and burn the fireworks, and sometimes punished them for it. But to the fans in Germany are treated with respect and not as in England, for example, where the fan movement is almost completely crushed. German stadiums are not very expensive tickets, there are allowed standing room — but only on games of the internal championship, as UEFA such practices in international matches is prohibited.

And here they are, the attendance figures in Germany this season. Top three: Bayern — 61 533 on average, Borussia Dortmund — 54 406, “Shalke” from Gelsenkirchen — 52 510. The most obscure club in this season — Hoffenheim with an impressive figure 27 468. And this figure seems even more impressive when you consider that in Sinsheim is home to only 35,5 thousand people. And for example, the visited the club last season in Russia was declared a “Spartacus” with a 32 750 spectators on average per match. This year, thanks to a new stadium in St. Petersburg “Zenith” has achieved the impressive figure of 45 700 people on average over the past tours (18.5 million last season).

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And yet a study of the attendance of last seasons Premier League gives us the right to hope. Thanks to new stadiums, thanks to the club managers who are trying — and even most often successfully — to create new arenas vibrant atmosphere.

About Zenit has already been said. Now we will tell you in detail about other clubs who have new stadiums. We have followed the dynamics of the last six completed seasons and the beginning of this season. Stalled while CSKA and “the ruby”.

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So, “Spartak”. Before the opening of the new arena the red and whites for three seasons the picture is more deteriorated. While “Spartak” played in a roomy “Luzhniki”, the average attendance was 18 821 person (season-2011/2012). At the end of the next season of “Luzhniki” went for reconstruction, and the last match is red-white played at the stadium named Eduard Streltsov, which probably spoiled the picture — 15 863 (season 2012/2013). In the season of 2013/2014 home stadium “Spartak” was the stadium “Locomotive”, and all this resulted in figure 12 903 people per game. But in 2014, the club began on a new “Open Arena”, and attendance has doubled! 001 25 people in the season 2014/2015, 25 178 people in season 2015/2016. Last season (thanks to the expected title, apparently) the stadium “Spartak” on average visited 32 760 fans (that’s 72.2% from capacity of stadium). The current year is worse than the previous one (28 060), but “Open arena” has not yet met CSKA and “Zenith” that will undoubtedly tweak the statistics.

“Krasnodar”. Until the club Sergey Galitsky played at the stadium “Kuban”, matches consistently called for 10-11 thousand spectators on average per season. With the introduction of their own arena last season, attendance has increased dramatically — 17 322 people, and this despite the fact that the first five home matches “Krasnodar” continued to play at the stadium “Kuban”. This season tours over the past numbers also grew — 22 229 people.

Now about lagging. Let’s start with “ruby” because there is low attendance the explanation is simple (and we’re not about the results). Before the opening of the new “Kazan-Arena” the club from Tatarstan played at the stadium “Central”. And if in the season 2011/2012 on “ruby” in the average went to 16 380 people, the next season is already 9421, and in 2013/2014 is already 7391 audience. The season 2014/2015 Rubin also began to “Central”, but then moved to the new stadium, and fans went (first the match was attended by 36 850 people). However, almost the entire second half of the season the club sent to play on the Rubin stadium with a capacity of 10 thousand, and it really spoiled the performance, although they were still higher than in the previous two seasons (13 549 average). But then, alas, the miracle did not happen. Season 2014/2016 Rubin finished with a score of 871 11 the viewer, the season 2016/2017 and worse — 9650. In connection with the preparation for the world championship “Rubin” not allowed to fully play on “Kazan-Arena”. The team rode with her to the “Central” and back, with her here and there was jumping and the audience. Tired anyone would have. Fans of “Rubin” tired, so this year’s figures also do not Shine: while 9796 the average person.

As for CSKA, bad results attendance — a mystery. It is unlikely that in Moscow there are only 14.5 thousand fans of army club. But above that figure in the past seven years, the average did not rise. Seasons-2011/2012 and 2012/2013 CSKA divided between the “Luzhniki” and “Khimki” and the attendance equaled 11 813 14 and 397, respectively. The following three seasons the army men held in Khimki, sometimes short, moving to a stadium named Streltsov: 9580 (2013/2014), 8967 (2014/2015), 9590 (2015/2016). But a new “VEB-arena” in the usual army location on 3rd is Sandy, and last season the club showed increased, but not impressive performance — 14 454 fans on average per game (48.2% of the capacity of the stadium). The season rolled to its equator, and the results are the same — 14 262. And then really difficult to explain. During this time, CSKA scored three of the championship, in other years was in the top three. Every game at the stadium spectators entertained as they can. There are fan zones, there is entertainment for children during breaks, games, prizes, music. Launched the program “For horses”, published in the Internet before each match. They invite star fans or athletes from the “army family” (players of CSKA, CSKA Moscow basketball players or female players of CSKA). The stadium start fairly quickly. Food and drinks no problem, even beer can be really soft.

Of course, all is never. For example, not a modified system of sale of electronic tickets on the website. If you go to the mobile version of the site, it is necessary to scroll a long time to get, finally, to the ability to buy a ticket. It would seem, a trifle, but in business there are no trifles.

And yet this season the average attendance in the Premier League have to crawl up through the opening of new stadiums. And next, the idea may not take off. On the wave of interest in football after the world Cup and an even larger number of new stadiums. It is here that we must take the audience lukewarm and do not let go.

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