One of the biggest talking points throughout the 2022 SSE Airtricity League season was the massive increase in attendances for clubs throughout the Premier Division. The evidence from week one suggests 2023 will be even bigger.
For several years clubs have reported official attendances to the League administration within the FAI. While some clubs had released these to the public, others let journalists and fans guesstimate the numbers. Thanks to the new FAI Connect app, we will all now know the official attendances each week.
Thankfully for those hoping for positive signs of growth in the league, the week one numbers are very strong.
Live RTÉ coverage of Cork City’s opener against Bohemians didn’t deter many with the game being officially sold out and 6,487 going through the Turners Cross turnstiles. The 700 away tickets allocated to Bohemians were snapped up in minutes.
St Patrick’s Athletic had sold every home ticket three days before the visit of Derry City and Richmond Park hosted 4,789 on Friday night. They’re likely to break 5,000 for the visit of Shelbourne next week.
The clash of the Rovers in Sligo on Saturday night was another sellout with the travelling support of Shamrock Rovers seeking an increase on their allocation too. The Showgrounds official had 4,248 at the drama filled game.
Shelbourne reported record ticket sales during the week and Tolka Park saw 3,424 through the doors for the visit of Drogheda United.
Dundalk’s home opener saw 3,142 people witness their 1-1 draw with UCD. UCD remain an outlier in terms of support so Dundalk will still be very happy that over 3,000 home supporters turned up to Oriel Park.
In total, 22,290 people officially attended the five League of Ireland Premier Division games this weekend. That meant the average attendance was an amazing 4,418.
Next weekend won’t match these figures as though home games for Derry City, Bohemians and St Pats will sell out, capacity at the venues will remain restricted. Drogheda United will see a big crowd for the visit of Shamrock Rovers but the visit of Sligo Rovers to UCD will likely see the less than half the crowds of elsewhere. A night with home games for Shamrock Rovers and Cork City, the clubs with the largest capacity stadiums, may see this new modern record be beaten.