The Challenge of Attracting Football Fans to Stadia?

Harry Arne Solberg
Ingar Mehus

This article, which is based on an empirical survey of Norwegian football fans, illustrates that frequent viewership of football on TV can make it difficult to maintain attendance levels at the stadium. Fans of clubs that were featured the most often on free-to-air TV channels attended fewer matches than others. Hence, regulations on televised football might be necessary to maintain attendance levels. Fans that had strong preferences for foreign football attended less frequently. This represents a challenge for football clubs in smaller nations, such as Norway, for example, since they are unable to regulate televised matches featuring foreign leagues. Identification with the club was demonstrated to be the most effective instrument in maintaining attendance levels. As a result, a strategy aimed at strengthening the bonds between fans and clubs may be beneficial in the long run. No difference was measured between those who attended matches often and those who attended less frequently regarding the emphasis they placed on the uncertainty of outcome.