Last month our paper "Changing Competition Design and Spectator Turnout: Evidence from the League of Ireland" was published in the Economic and Social Review. The very last line of the paper says:
"While specific strategies to foster habit formation are challenging to pinpoint, a precise policy recommendation arises from the scheduling effect we identify – there is a need to ensure as many fixtures as possible take place between Friday night and Sunday afternoon."
This is one of the key recommendations of the paper. Attendances are higher for Friday and Saturday matches. Last weekend provided a very nice example of this.
Bohemian (Bohs) played Waterford twice in 36 hours. Both games were at Dalymount Park in Dublin. The first was an FAI Cup Semi-Final on Friday night and had full capacity (3,100 approx.). The second was a league match on Monday night. Attendance is reported as "2,000".
Admittedly the games are not the same competition. The cup match generated significant interest and had 900 away fans. The league game was more important to Waterford (from a relegation perspective) but saw a sizable decline in travelling support. This is to be expected as it was played on a Monday night.
Even accepting the changing circumstances and competitions, a fall in attendance of about 35% in the space of 36 hours is quite something and demonstrates the importance of scheduling.
The full paper can be accessed here.