The influence match going fans have on the sport of football is enormous, from the thrill, enthusiasm, and the noise we are so fond of to the money they spend on tickets and other merchandise.
How Many Fans Go To The Matches:
Research conducted by Betway
Match going fans can affect the team’s morale, the finances of a club, and even the stadium itself.
For instance, During the 2018/19 season, the average attendance at a Premier League game was 38,168, while more than 14.5m people clicked through the turnstiles overall.
That translates into a total figure of £677m brought in by fans on a matchday.
This goes to show how much impact fans contribute to the game, but it does not end there; The sound they generate, meanwhile, can be louder than a live rock concert or standing next to a pneumatic drill – easily loud enough to hurt your eardrums and damage your hearing.
But with mass gatherings off the agenda until further notice, stadiums that normally host thousands of fans will lie empty when football returns to the top flight.
The empty seats in the stadiums are no different than art galleries without the paintings, malls without the shops, theaters without the audience, or nightclubs without the music. It gives the vibe of ‘Something missing’, which makes It a new normal that will take some getting used to.
In an interview with betway, former West Ham captain Alvin Martin; said that
“To go from playing in a full stadium to playing behind closed doors is eerie. The atmosphere that you’re reliant on isn’t there and you can’t feed off the energy of the crowd.”
Martin was part of the West Ham team that won against Arsenal at the FA Cup final in 1980 and their subsequent European Cup Winners’ Cup campaign the following season.
The defender earned 17 caps for England and is fifth on West Ham’s list of all-time appearance makers after playing 596 times for the club over an 18-year period.
“At West Ham, the fans created an atmosphere that was up there with the very, very best,” Martin says as he recalled his experiences during the time of West Ham.
“They are the ones that you play for. When they turn up at a game, they set the stage for you.
“They enhance the feeling of the game and the worth of it. You know that if you’re playing in front of 30 or 40,000 people then you’re doing something important.”
How Loud Is A Football Stadium:
The presence of fans at the stadium creates an atmosphere of excitement, passion and plays a major role in the performance of the team.
It is easy to understand how fans can play a supporting role in the performance of their team.
Their vocal backing and the extra responsibility that comes from playing in front of a passionate crowd can elevate a player’s performance.
It motivates players in such a way that it improves their performance by 5 to 10% more than their actual training sessions.
“Those big atmospheres help give you an extra five or 10 percent that you can’t replicate in training,” says Martin.
“Similarly, when the crowd produces that enormous roar when a goal goes in, it gives you a lift.”
The ‘lift’ in question that Martin is talking about, is the psychological boost a player gets from the energy of a crowd, and it is not just limited to in-game performance.
All in all, the influence of match-going fans enables players with an adrenaline rush that helps them play despite having very hectic schedules, and most notably, the buzz that comes from a football crowd also has the power to help injured footballers play through the pain barrier.
Effects Of Fans Generated Income On Football Finances:
The influence of match-going fans isn’t just subject to matters on the pitch either.
The £677m generated by matchday income in the Premier League in 2018/19 works out at 13 percent of the overall turnover for all 20 clubs.
This means that; £1 in every seven is made from fans.
While that might not sound like a significant proportion of income on the surface, it is a source of cash that clubs cannot afford to let go of.
Of course, the industry is big and it will need to adapt to the changes and innovate on how they are going to conceal the losses due to the nonattendance of match-going fans.
Kieran Maguire, The Football Finance expert who gives lectures at the University of Liverpool and Authored the Price of Football, says It doesn’t make a difference in the nature of the business yet nobody will need to discard any regular stream of incomes.
What matters is that the integral relationship between Football and its fans is still there and clubs will have to reimagine various ways they will keep engaging their fans.
The integral relationship between football and fans is something that is not lost on Martin either when he says:
“If you think about it, the game would not have been around for hundreds of years if people didn’t love to go to matches,”
“The community that is created and the people that are so passionately attached to their clubs wouldn’t exist.
“That is the power that a crowd can have.”