Growing interest in both domestic and international football in Asia is seeing attendances generally rise throughout the continent.
Here are some of the best-attended leagues.
The arrival of big-name foreign imports and the growing interest from local supporters has seen Chinese football enter a boom period. The 2016 season saw average attendances of more than 24,000 – the highest in Asia, with only India coming close. The big-money signings of the likes of Oscar and Carlos Tevez should only increase crowds in the Chinese Super League.
Success on the international scene and a host of players plying their trade in the top leagues throughout Europe has not necessarily translated into huge attendances for the K League. The South Korean League has struggled to match the likes of China for attendances, with an average of less than 8,000 in 2016. However, the big games still get big crowds – almost 50,000 watching Seoul against Suwon.
The J League has been slightly eclipsed by the meteoric rise of the CSL. That has not been helped by the temptation of moving to Europe for the top young Japanese talent. However, the depth and long-term planning in Japanese football, particularly with the 2013 addition of a third tier, remains a standard-bearer in Asia. Average attendances around the 18,000 mark are still to be applauded too.
Last year’s average Indian Super League attendances were not able to reach the 2015 high of 26,000, yet crowds were still regularly above the 20,000 mark. That’s a match for both Serie A and La Liga. Like the domestic competition in China, the ISL remains in its infancy and the influx of former Premier League players continues to maximise attention.
Okay, it’s not an Asian competition, but the A League still attracts players and viewers from across the Continent. The franchise system of the A League remains a lucrative one, with average attendances last season in excess of 12,000. More than 40,000 took their place in the stands for the Sydney derby.