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Page last updated at 11:11 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 12:11 UK

Football League crowds on the up

Dean Windass and Phil Brown
Almost 87,000 attended the 2008 Championship play-off final

The Football League is enjoying its highest attendances for nearly 50 years, with crowds topping the 16m mark for a fifth consecutive season.

Over 16.35m fans attended the 1,656 matches played in the 2008-09 season, an increase of 1% on the previous year.

The Championship is currently the fourth most-watched league in Europe, with a total audience of 9.9m fans.

That figure is likely to be bettered only by the Premier League, Germany's Bundesliga and Spain's La Liga.

Attendances at matches in the Championship rose by 5% during 2008-09 and averaged 17,891.

Crowds for matches in League One and League Two averaged more than 7,500 and 4,100 respectively - figures that continue to dwarf those at comparable levels of the game in Europe's other major footballing nations.

David O, BBC Sport

League One crowds are 40% greater than those in Germany and more than three times higher than those recorded in Italy and France.

League Two crowds are almost three times those of German football and four times those of the Italian game.

"Attracting more than 16m fans to matches for the fifth consecutive season is further proof that Football League clubs provide an outstanding experience for supporters," said Football League chairman Lord Mawhinney.

"I am particularly encouraged that more and more families are going to watch their local League club.

"Given the prevailing financial climate, maintaining this progress will be a significant challenge for clubs. A number of clubs are already using innovative pricing policies to enable them to continue making live football accessible to everyone in their local community."

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see also
League crowds reach 45-year high
24 May 05 |  Football
League crowds on the up
11 May 04 |  Football

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