Attendance in the Turkcell Super Lig
The following article appeared in Wednesday's Zaman. The article addressed attendance in the Turkcell Super Lig and the reasoning behind some of the lack of fan support at the bottom of the table. I thought it was interesting; you can check out the entire article by going to http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=107427&bolum=127
Fener has most spectators, but lags behind Euro teams
Turkey's Turkcell Super League, famous for its loud and cheerful bleachers, does not attract as many spectators as the European clubs.
Fenerbahçe, the richest soccer club in Turkey, has a fan potential of well over 20 million. It is therefore no surprise that Fenerbahçe supporters top the match attendance list in Turkey.
Forty-eight European countries were monitored and the number of spectators at each club was determined and published on a Web site. In Turkey it was revealed that Fenerbahçe has the largest following, while Çaykur Rizespor has the fewest spectators.
The Web site showed that the Yellow Canaries played in front of an average of 39,542 spectators this season. The Canaries were followed by Beşiktaş with an average 26,249 spectators, and the Eagles played in front of 33,000 in their most popular game. Galatasaray was a distant third with an average of only 16,307 fans at its Ali Sami Yen Stadium. Çaykur Rizespor had the lowest following with an average of 8,222 spectators, attracting a maximum of 10,200 fans at best.
Turkey lags behind Europe
The average number of spectators was calculated on a list compiled according to the 18 teams competing in Turkey's Turkcell Super League, and it was determined that Turkey's numbers are no match to their European counterparts.
An average of 14,049 fans came out to support their team in the Turkcell Super League this year. This number is much higher in Europe with teams in the German Bundesliga averaging 38,933 - making it Europe's most popular league. Another interesting finding of the study was the German Second Division attracting a larger number of spectators than Turkey's Super League. Also known as Bundesliga 2, it attracted an average of 15,957 spectators, while TSV 1860 Munich attracted 69,000 at one game, a record-breaker for the season.
When Beşiktaş and Galatasaray, two of the "Big Three" in Turkey, were combined, they had the same number of spectators as Second Division FC Cologne -- coached by Fenerbahçe "reject" Christoph Daum.
Why do Fener matches attract the highest number of spectators? There may be two answers to this question. The first is love for and devotion to the club. The second is the Sükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in İstanbul, where Fener's home matches are played.
The Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in Kadıköy was inaugurated in 1908 and extensively renovated between 1999 and 2006, greatly increasing its capacity. It is the first stadium in Turkey designed according to world soccer standards. In October 2006 after several inspections by the UEFA, European soccer's governing body, Şükrü Saracoğlu was named as the host of the 2009 UEFA Cup final.
The stadium is unique because most Turkish stadiums have a running track between the pitch and the stands, while here the fans are on top of the action. When the stadium was renovated, each stand was completely uprooted and rebuilt. Each one of these stands has been built closer to the pitch, bringing the fans closer to the action on the field.
The style of the stadium is a first in Turkey. The "Maraton" stand can hold up to 14,500 spectators. This stand includes box suites, which are all rented out by the club. These box suites, equipped with TVs, Internet access, work areas, dining facilities and many other luxuries, are the first of their kind in Turkey. Facing Maraton is the "Fenerium" stand with its 15,000 seating capacity and its equally luxurious "1907" zone. With the other stands ("Migros" and "Telsim") each having a 10,500-seat capacity, the total capacity of the stadium is 50,509. The logic is simple: Build a nice and comfortable stadium and fans will come en masse and watch matches.