Belfast Telegraph

Big increase in fans attending Northern Ireland Premiership matches

By Stuart McKinley

The first half of the season has seen a major increase in attendances at Premiership matches.

Research carried out by the Northern Ireland Football League has shown an impressive 12.9 per cent increase in crowd figures across the board, which equates to an additional 12,500 fans in total, or 109 at each individual game compared to the same period last season.

When the NI Football League launched its Vision "Creating Our Football Future Together" last year one of the key aims was to increase the number of fans going through the gate at matches and that has been achieved in a short period of time.

"We knew the attendances had been on the increase this season, but as this statistic can vary from week-to-week we wanted to assess things at the midpoint of the season so we could get a clearer indication of the attendances over a prolonged period of time," said NIFL managing director Andy Johnston.

"A 12.9 per cent increase in attendances is phenomenal for the Danske Bank Premiership and is testament to the hard work each club continues to do off the pitch to attract fans through their gates each matchday."

The nature of this season's Danske Bank Premiership title race, with just three points separating Cliftonville, Portadown, Linfield and Crusaders at the halfway stage, has also played a part in the increase in the number of fans watching matches.

"This season is one of the most exciting we have had in recent memory," Johnston added.

"Not only has there been six different leaders of the Danske Bank Premiership, but our goals per game ratio of 3.21 tops the table compared to the many of the leagues around Europe.

"Fans watch football to see goals, and this means our supporters are getting more entertainment and value for money week in, week out."

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