Madrid, Sep 13 (IANS) The number of season ticket holders paying to watch Spanish professional football has increased by 3.4 percent, according to media reports.
The number of fans with tickets to watch their supported sides in the La Liga has risen by 43,785 (7.9 percent) to 597,372, reports Xinhua.
This is partly due to the fact that clubs Real Betis, Las Palmas and Sporting Gijon were promoted to the top flight at the end of last season and with Betis having 43,000 season ticket holders, Las Palmas 19,000 and Sporting 22,180; that is considerably more than relegated sides Almeria (11,000), Elche (11,000 and Cordoba 15,200.
It also explains that while the number of season ticket holders in the top-flight has increased there has been a fall in the number of supporters paying to watch the Liga Adelante (Second Division).
But it should also be pointed out that the promotion of Bilbao Athletic (Athletic Club Bilbao’s B-team) to the division makes it harder to calculate fan numbers given that Athletic’s 44,117 season ticket holders can watch their B-team play for free.
A total of 172,023 people now have season tickets to watch Liga Adelante sides, which is down 18,582 on the previous campaign (due mainly to the promotion of Betis, Sporting and Las Palmas and the fact that people watching Bilbao Athletic (around 9,000) are not counted in the survey.
With 85,000 season ticket holders, FC Barcelona have the biggest support in the La Liga, followed by 67,000 at Real Madrid and 47,890 at Atletico Madrid, while Eibar with just 4,000 fans have the lowest number of fans, although the side with the lowest budget in La Liga more than cover their operating costs with money from their TV deal.