Tim Serie A’s opening day was as much cause for concern as last year’s turbulent revelations. With teams suffering the threat of financial fair play sanctions, match-fixing scandals amongst Serie B sides, and declining attendance, the 2014/2015 season did not give much hope to Italy’s top league. But sleeping giants lie ready to awaken; with the infusion of experienced ownership with plans to revive teams in trouble and build a foundation for squads with a rich history, the new season gives fans at least a glimmer of hope that perhaps this year will be that “next year” they’ve always looked to.
However, ownership may want to look closely at the results of their summer fan recruiting given the attendance numbers in in the first two Gamedays. That is everyone except Juventus who’s shown that a stable growth plan, supplemented by a new stadium, may be the light at the end of the tunnel for teams and the league as a whole.
Gameday 1: La prima Della Stagione
Gameday 1 raked in a gross attendance of 225,425 fans across 10 games. This was just a small +6,025 fan increase from last season’s opening day, while the capacity rate increased marginally from 59.5% to 60.9%. In comparison to last season’s average capacity rate of 55.9% there is little cause for celebration.
The drivers of the attendance numbers were the games held amongst the league’s big three (arguably): Juventus, Inter and Milan. Attendance at the weekend’s most frequented games Juventus v. Udinese, at the Juventus Stadium, Inter v. Atalanta, at the Giusseppe Meazza, and Fiorentina v. Milan at the Artemio Franchi was 38,433; 37,042; and 33,904 respectively. The capacity rates at these games worked out to 93.2%, 46.3%, and 71.7%. Keep in mind that Inter’s capacity rate is heavily deflated by a stadium able to host upwards of 80,000. Nevertheless, Inter came in with the weekend’s third weakest capacity rate.
An honorable mention should go to Serie A promotee Frosinone with a capacity rate of 90%, having hosted 9,000 fans at the Stadio Matusa during Sunday night’s game against Torino.
Gameday 2: Last Week’s Away Teams Come Home
Gameday 2 gave us a complete picture of all the stadiums hosting this season’s 38 games. The day’s gross attendance reached 230,676 against a total potential capacity of 432,651, or 53%. A substantial decrease from Gameday 1, dropping from 60.9% in the opener.
Attendance numbers for the second round had Rome’s Stadio Olimpico as the most full reaching 77% capacity with 56,040 in attendance for Roma’s game against Juventus. This week Milan played host at the San Siro with 34,382 fans in attendance. While Milan’s game was the second most attended game, capacity for the world renowned stadium was only at 43%, the 3rd least full stadium of the gameday. However, the same caveat made for Inter on gameday 1 should be made here; in order keep pace with Roma’s capacity figures this week, the San Siro would have had to host upwards of 61,000 fans. This feat was only surpassed in last year’s Derbys Della Madonnina and games held in by both Milan teams against Juventus. Torino, at the Olimpico, and Bologna, at the Dall’Ara, rounded up the top 3 capacity figures at 73% and 70%, respectively.
At the bottom of the table was Chievo, who thrashed Lazio at the Bentegodi, in front of only 10,000 fans, or 26% full. They were followed by Napoli, hosting 25,128 fans at the San Paolo, or 42% capacity, to see them draw against Sampdoria.
A Look Ahead
Gameday 3 marks the return of European Football from International break. Fiorentina is lined up to host Genoa at the Franchi Stadium, while Juventus returns home at the Juventus Stadium to see if they can beat their capacity % record for the season thus far. Last but not least, the Milan Derby kicks off early in the season and holds the potential to set a new bar for both attendance and capacity rate. Looking at the visualization below it would seem as though the Serie A has already stabilized to last years capacity rates. However, with the first two gamedays behind us, we’ll now have a full spectrum of stadiums to begin to assess average capacity for the year and see if new ownership will see healthier returns on their investments.