In 2018, 41,535 spectators had watched League of Ireland football by the end of Gameweek 3. This season has seen that number jump to 51,390 for the same time period. The average crowd has moved from 2,967 to 3,426 (14 games versus 15).
Monday nights have mainly shown a dip in the crowd numbers compared to if the fixture took place on a Friday. Therefore playing a fixture like Bohemians versus Shamrock Rovers, which has proven to sell out in the recent years, on a Monday was a very smart move. It means avoiding a potential impact on a gate due to the guaranteed popular nature of the clash.
It proved to have been a successful ploy as well with a sell-out 3,594 in attendance to watch Bohemians take all three points thanks to a 66th minute Dinny Corcoran penalty.
When you look at the other fixtures played on the Monday, you might also think there is a logic behind them. The distance between Derry and Waterford, Dublin and Donegal, and Sligo and Cork would be a tough journey for away fans to make whether it was a Friday or a Monday so it would stand to reason they would be the least likely to draw a Friday crowd.
By playing them on the Monday, you avoid more attractive fixtures for away fans taking the hit therefore maximising the overall attendance potential. The final fixture of Dundalk versus UCD on paper should present a small travelling contingent so once again minimising the impact of a Monday on a fixture.
We recorded Derry City’s 3-2 win over Waterford as the second best attendance of the week (3,000) but the Candystripes do not issue official figures so this is an estimate and therefore has to come with a reasonable margin of error warning.
Dundalk welcomed UCD to Oriel Park and 2,437 spectators saw the Students take the lead before Patrick Hoban and Michael Duffy goals gave the home side all three points. The Lilywhites previous home outing last Friday week saw 3,347 turn up for the 1-1 draw with Sligo Rovers.
St. Patrick’s Athletic faced Finn Harps and the 0-0 stalemate was watched by 1,747 people. When you look at last years’ Monday/Tuesday fixtures (vs Dundalk – 1,609, vs Sligo Rovers – 1,139, vs Waterford – 1,358) it shows an increase over those games.
Sligo Rovers saw a drop in crowd numbers for the 2-1 defeat to Cork City compared to the season opener against St Pats. The totals went from 3,314 to 2,275. While that seems quite a drop, when you look back on 2018, the Monday night fixtures (vs Cork City – 1,842, vs Bray Wanderers – 1,327) were much lower so positives can be taken. Last season, Sligo Rovers only broke the 2,000 mark on five occasions. This season so far they are yet to drop below it.
Overall, this Gameweek saw 13,053 in attendance across five games with an average of 2,611. The equivalent week last season saw 8,252 turn up with an average gate of 1,650.
Before we wrap up, there was an attendance correction from last week – Shamrock Rovers originally reported 4,522 but have since confirmed the figure to be 4,612. We also provided an estimate last week for Drogheda’s home game as 620. The official figure has since been provided as 616. (well estimated David Wilson).
It’s been a very strong start to the season regarding attendance but this weekend’s games will be the good indicator to how strong as it is the weekend that traditionally teams start to see a drop off in crowd figures for a variety of reasons (number of fixtures in a short time, team form etc). We will be back next week with the latest update.
If you wish to get in touch to ask about any of the figures or attendance queries in general you can contact Gareth on twitter at @garethpenrose.
PREMIER DIV GAMEWEEK 3 ATTENDANCE: 13,053
PREMIER DIV AVERAGE GAMEWEEK 3 ATTENDANCE: 2,611
LARGEST CROWD OF THE WEEK: Bohemians 1-0 Shamrock Rovers – 3,594