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SBD Global/August 22, 2012/International Football

La Liga Week 1 Attendance Numbers Are Down From Last Season

Stadium attendance for Week 1 of La Liga saw nearly 40% "empty seats," according to Juan Jimenez of AS. The first match-week, which started on Saturday at 7pm and finished Tuesday in Zaragoza, "only had" stadiums filled to 61% of their capacity on average. In comparison, last year's figure was up to 70.%. The images that will stay in our minds from Week 1, the earliest the league has ever started, "will be of empty stands and tired faces due to the heat for both fans and players." The games were played in an average temperature of 30C (86F). The worst attendance numbers came for the three matches that started at 11pm. Only 11,703 people and 51% of capacity showed up at the Iberostar for the Mallorca-Espanyol clash. Levante-Atletico in Valencia had 14,295 fans and 59% of capacity while the La Romareda stadium in Zaragoza beat the record with only 11,000 people and 32% of capacity. The average for the 11pm games showed that the three stadiums were 53% full. There were also bad numbers for the usual "reliable stadiums." Only 20,000 out of a possible 45,500 showed up at the Sanchez Pizjuan in Sevilla. The city "is a ghost town in August" and the temperature was 37C (98.6F). In Barcelona, "more than 41,000 seats were left empty" in the Camp Nou. A "good hint of the devastating effect that starting the season one week earlier can have in a country that traditionally vacations in August." In Barça's opener last season 75,007 people showed up, "almost 20,000 more than on Sunday." In all the stadiums across the country attendance numbers were down on average compared to last season except for the Ciutat de Valencia stadium where Levante actually beat last season's numbers. Starting the season so early when the weather is still very hot and having games start at 11pm caused "the abandonment of stadiums." Overall, 279,000 people attended games in the 10 venues compared to 323,602 last season (AS, 8/21).
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