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Attendance reporting at professional clubs

Canuck Oranje

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This may end up being a bit of a soccer geek discussion but I am hoping to piece together a little more of what is a little bit of a mystery to me.

I believe this topic was once raised as an aside during a discussion about Greek soccer. The comment was made at the time was that reported attendances are often lower than actual.

I had this issue raised again this week when I came across some attendance stats about Sao Paulo FC. First, let me say that I have attended SP matches and live near the stadium when I am in Brazil.

I was not able to get attendance figures for the matches I attended but one that caught my eye was a Corinthians - SPFC match this year that had a stated attendance of about 33,000 at Morumbi. I was in Brazil when last year's game was played at Morumbi. I can only say that the attendance would have been in the range of 50,000 - 60,000.

As to why the reported numbers are low? My suspicion is that SPFC does not report attendance by club members into the public number. SPFC is a sports/social club. In fact, it has facilities linked to the stadium (aerial shots of the stadium will show the water park next to the stadium). It would not surprise me if game attendance is part of the membership package. But I can't confirm this practice.

With many professional clubs linked to sports/social clubs around the world, I am curious about attendance reporting practices around the world.

Under North American professional club structures, reporting attendance is as simple as counting tickets sold or bodies that pass through turnstyles. When you have a setup where members can wander back and forth between the stadium and the social club, it becomes a little more complicated.

I am interested in hearing the experiences and knowledge of others on this subject.

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Well, some people were saying that the similar crowds at CCR for the Impact and Jamaica (counted as 6,500 and 13,000 respectively) were under- and over-reporter for tax purposes.

The more tickets you sell, the more tax you must pay out, whereas the Impact is non-profit, so it doesn't pay tax, ergo it makes up a number that includes distributed and free tickets.

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I'm thinking in the case of Brazil that you are using, it might be more like Canadian University figures. Because students get in free the attendance is usually given in paid attendance?

I've been to many Atlantic University games where attendance is announced but yet you look around and it's easily double.

Just a thought.

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Yes in Greece they supposedly do not include season tickets in the official attendance count. I say "supposedly" because I don't think anything official has ever been said, and fans always overestimate the crowd at their team's home games.

I really have no clue why, nor have I heard/read any half decent explanations. Makes no sense to be honest.

With regards to taxes, they could still announce one thing publically (like how many people showed up or the total number of tickets distributed), and record an other number officially (how many tickets were actually sold not including freebies, social club members, etc.). I'm sure that's what happens over here.

Pretty much all Greek soccer clubs are linked to an amateur sports club. I have no clue how it works, but maybe technically the season tickets are sold as memberships to the amateur club, so it's different then "season tickets" as we know them over here. Still doesn't make sense as to why they wouldn't announce how many times the turnstiles are turned during game day.

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