The 5 Most Popular Football Leagues in the World

Football continues to dominate the sporting calendar this autumn and we take a look at the five most popular leagues in the world

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The weekend comes, and, all around the world, faithful fans flock in their droves to the terraces and tribunes, donning the whole spectrum of colours in support of their teams. But when it comes to the sheer volume of supporters heading to matches, which league reigns supreme?

According to last season’s figures, here are the five most popular leagues in world football.

Premier League, England (Average attendance: 39,472)

Consistently coming out on top in terms of fan turnout is none other than the Premier League. Boasting hulking stadiums such as Old Trafford and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the English top flight backs it up with a steady stream of supporters up and down terraces.

Manchester United’s on-pitch tribulations were witnessed by an average of 72,993 fans, with Arsenal following on 59,776. West Ham, blazing a trail in
Europe and aiming for new heights, beat big hitters Tottenham and Liverpool into third at a touch under 58,000.

La Liga, Spain (Average attendance: 22,829)

Affected in a similar fashion by stadium limits, La Liga saw only one club welcome an average of more than 50,000 fans per match, with Barcelona’s Camp Nou turnstiles typically swinging open 55,848 times.

Atletico Madrid and Real Betis, with 49,323 and 42,750, pipped Real Madrid into the top three – on the attendance leaderboard, at least.

Bundesliga, Germany (Average attendance: 21,014)

Next up – and perhaps surprisingly so – is the German Bundesliga. For country so often associated with booming stadium dins and viewed by many as the centre-point of modern fan culture, Germany posted relatively modest figures when compared to its peers in 2021/22, though enforced stadium cultures skewed statistics considerably.

Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich topped the list with respective average 42,850 and 41,846, with FC Koln coming in third with a respectable 32,931.

The current season sees Dortmund, by contrast, post figures of over 81,000 per game – so expect a shift in the hierarchy.

Ligue 1, France (Average attendance: 20,836)

Coming in at fourth on our list is a league that continues to grow in stature, likely owing to its ability in recent years to attract a greater number of household names to the pitches of Marseille, Monaco and Metz.

Over the course of the 2020/21 season, an average of 20,836 fans attended games in France’s top flight, and though the figures are skewed heavily in favour of one fervently supported club in particular – and by no means the most successful club on the pitch, for that matter – the remaining 19 teams did enjoy a relatively even spread of support.

Leading the way in the gate stakes with an average attendance of 53,495, Marseille rule the roost. A one-club city, the southern port welcomed hordes of impassioned supporters to the Stade Velodrome – not far shy of its 67,394 capacity.

Predictably, league champions Paris Saint-Germain follow; an average of 40,059 turned up to each home game as the capital club marched to its tenth league title with four matches to spare, buoyed by young phenomenon Kylian Mbappé and the legendary Lionel Messi.

Serie A, Italy (Average attendance 18,181)

Pipping the likes of the Championship, the MLS and Mexico’s Liga MX to make the foot of our list is the Italian Serie A – though spectator limits are a factor to take into consideration.

The Milan duo led the way with totals of just under 50,000 spectators per game apiece, the San Siro humming with the throng of fans week in, week out. Inter had the edge over their rivals, boasting totals of 44,999 to 44,015.

Roma and Napoli complete the top four, with Juventus down in sixth on just 23,808.

A sports journalist for over 15 years, Aidan has been part of written and audio coverage on a wide-ranging number of events. Having played and coached at amateur level, he offers in-depth insight and opinion into the world of football in particular.
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