Sunday night’s crowd of 12,465 represented the third game in a row where the attendance was over 10,000 – something almost unthinkable at the start of the year and a huge tick for the PR team at the club led by President Satoshi Onda.
For comparison, these are comparative attendances for the games from last year (I’ve used the Gamba Osaka game to compare this years Jubilo game):
- Yokohama FC
- 2013 – 5,006
- 2014 – 12,465
- V-Varen Nagasaki
- 2013 – 5,211
- 2014 – 13,016
- J2 big team
- 2013 (Gamba Osaka) – 11,719
- 2014 (Jubilo Iwata) – 15,138
All in all, after 12 home games this year, 98,055 spectators have entered the Nagaragawa Stadium – good for an average of 8,171. To put this into perspective, last years total number of spectators for the entire season was 95,032. So, up to this point Gifu have achieved 103% of last years attendance, and we still have nine home games to come.
As you can see, the figures represent a great increase on last year. Obviously the “name” players & manager help attracting people to the stadium, but the biggest impact has been the active promotion, social network usage and the work between sponsors/companies and the club. Since the start of the season, all three of these categories have improved exponentially and have, quite rightfully, garnered hugely positive results.
Also, the actual “gameday experience” (a phrase which I used to dislike but have now come to understand the importance of) at the stadium has much more variety and excitement. The club actively promotes Gifu prefecture with the “hometown day” designation, but it also teams up with local companies to provide events that all ages can enjoy. For example, already this year we’ve had a samba band, Brazilian BBQ, an African charity drive and a fan art installation. In the coming weeks there is a beer garden with live jazz, an anime collaboration and a large truck exhibition. All these things point to research being done and the club looking to get youngsters & families in more often.
While on the pitch might not be as good as people were hoping, off the pitch and in the stands is far better than what anyone would have imagined, and credit is due to people who most people would not really see too much. A big お疲れ様 to the promotion department.