New study reveals varying impact of Premier League relegation

Commercial chiefs at Aston Villa and Fulham will both be agonising about how much revenue they’ll miss out on should they lose tomorrow’s Championship play-off final, dubbed ‘the richest game in world football’.

However, from an attendance perspective, new analysis from Two Circles shows that the negative impact of playing in the second-tier may be less pronounced than anticipated – and will also bring potentially positive news to the boardrooms of WBA, Stoke City and Swansea City, all relegated from the Premier League this season.

Using our sporting attendance database, we examined the impact of relegation from the Premier League on stadium occupancy – how close to capacity a club’s matchday attendance is – on eight teams who have been relegated from the Premier League at least twice since 2007/08.

At one end of the spectrum sits Norwich City, whose average occupancy changes by just 5.3% between leagues, indicating the club has a distinctly “sticky” fanbase – one that is more prepared to attend home matches regardless of what league they are playing in.

On average, the eight teams see their stadium occupancy level fall by 23.1%; relegation for Norwich, therefore, has a less marked negative impact on commercial gameday revenue compared to other clubs.

At the other end of the spectrum, Middlesbrough’s stadium occupancy falls by 35.3% after being relegated from the top-tier – signifying a fanbase far less willing to watch its team when playing outside of the Premier League, and a club that will take a much bigger gameday revenue hit than its peers when relegated from the top-tier.

Gareth Balch, Chief Executive of Two Circles, said: “Every fanbase has a different relationship with its club, shaped by a number of regional, cultural and social factors that contribute to its desire to attend games regardless of the level of opposition.

“We work hard to help our clients beat the market by maximising matchday revenues regardless of the the league they are in, minimising the uncertainty of promotion and relegation. These strategies are insight-led and data-driven, rooted in a deep understanding of who the club’s fanbase is, and what drives their appetite for attending games.”

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