Since the inaugural friendly match against Argentina in August 2010, the attendance figures at the Aviva stadium have always been a hot topic for reasons on and off the pitch. On the pitch, the style of football played by the Boys in Green has been cited as a cause of several low attendance figures. Off the pitch, the figures have been a concern for the FAI's coffers as the debt owed on the Aviva stadium remains high.
Not counting tonight’s tie against Sweden, the Republic of Ireland international team have played a total of 21 matches in the Aviva stadium. Below is a table and graph showing the attendance figures and the number of supporters who showed up as a percentage of the stadiums 51,700 capacity. There’s one missing observation; a friendly game at home to Norway, which I couldn’t get data on.
66.5%. That is the key statistic for the FAI to build on. This figure is the total attendance for all 21 matches as a percentage of the stadiums capacity or possible number of fans who could have attended. If we strip out the Nations Cup this becomes 72% and if we just consider competitive games it becomes 83%.
Of course, attendances could be improved through the price mechanism for friendlies. The FAI has traditionally used non-uniform strategies as they remain a monopolist for international football in Ireland. They have often discriminated in terms of market characteristics (usually age, or whether you want a family ticket) but have also began to discriminate by bundling friendly ties with qualifiers to capture consumer surplus.