The A-League this season
boasted the largest aggregate attendance in the seven years
since the top flight of Australasian soccer was launched in
2005, Football Federation Australia (FFA) said on Monday.
A total of 1.416 million fans attended 135 matches in the
regular season at an average of 10,490 per game, the first time
the average has exceeded the 10,000-mark since the league was
expanded beyond eight teams in 2009.
The increase in attendances is welcome news for a sport
which trails in popularity behind the rival football codes of
rugby league and Australian Rules in the congested domestic
The league has also had to deal with the fallout from the
acrimonious demise of mining billionaire Clive Palmer's Gold
Coast United, who attracted just 1,723 fans to one home match
The Socceroos are among the biggest draws in the Australian
marketplace, however, and the return of Australia internationals
Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton to play on home soil this season
will have helped attendances.
Former Liverpool forward Kewell, whose first match for
Melbourne Victory against Emerton's Sydney FC attracted 40,351
fans, will play no further part in this season after his team
finished eighth in the 10-team league.
Former Blackburn Rovers midfielder Emerton, however, was
inspirational in Sydney's 3-2 win over the Newcastle Jets on
Sunday, which won them a place in the league's complicated
A-League chief Lyall Gorman said television audiences were
up by 46 percent on the 2010/11 season, attracted perhaps by the
average of 2.7 goals per match.
"This has been a fantastic season with our goals per game
average in line with some of the biggest leagues in the world,"
he said in a news release.
"The on-field action has been watched by more people,
proving that football has a growing footprint in this country."
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