NFL: Attendance per Game, by year
YearAverage attendance
202369,582
202269,389
202167,288
20205,721
201966,151
201867,040
201767,405
201669,487
201568,216
201468,331
201368,397
201267,632
201167,419
201066,957
200967,506
200868,245
  • Region: United States
  • Time period: 2008 to 2023
  • Published: Feb 2024

Data Analysis and Insights

Updated: Apr 7, 2024 | Published by: Statistico | About Us / Data / Analysis

Significant Drop in 2020

The National Football League experienced a drastic decrease in average attendance in 2020, plummeting to only 5,721, likely due to the global COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, which contrasts sharply with the attendance numbers before and after this year.

Recovery and Growth Post-2020

Average attendance rebounded significantly in 2021 to 67,288, and has been on a consistent upward trajectory since, reaching a peak of 69,582 in 2023, indicating a strong recovery and growth phase post-pandemic.

Comparison of Pre and Post-Pandemic Averages

Comparing the pre-pandemic (2019) average attendance of 66,151 with the most recent year, 2023, shows an increase of 3,431 attendees on average, suggesting that the NFL has not only recovered but also expanded its audience base post-pandemic.

Overall Attendance Growth Over the Last Decade

From 2014 to 2023, the NFL saw a modest but steady increase in average attendance, with numbers growing from 68,331 to 69,582, indicating a sustained interest in football despite the significant disruption in 2020.

Highest and Lowest Attendance Records

The year 2023 boasts the highest average attendance recorded at 69,582, while the lowest outside of the anomalous 2020 season was in 2021 with 67,288, highlighting the volatility and eventual recovery of spectator numbers.

Steady Growth Before the Pandemic

Before the unexpected dip in 2020, the NFL was experiencing a period of steady growth in attendance, with the average rising from 66,957 in 2010 to 67,405 in 2017, underscoring the league's pre-pandemic popularity.

The Anomaly of 2020 Compared to Other Years

The attendance in 2020 (5,721) was not only an outlier but also significantly lower than any other year's average, demonstrating the extraordinary impact of the pandemic on live sports events, with a more than 91% drop from the previous year (2019).

Frequently Asked Questions

What was the attendance growth in the NFL in recent years?

From 2014 to 2023, average NFL attendance increased from 68,331 to 69,582, indicating a sustained interest in football.

Terms and Definitions

National Football League, commonly referred to as NFL, is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC).

Average attendance refers to the mean number of spectators present at a series of events. Calculated by dividing the total number of attendees by the number of games, this metric offers an indication of the overall popularity and fan base size of the sport or a specific team.

The American Football Conference is one of the two conferences of the National Football League. The conference is divided into four divisions - East, West, North, and South, each composing of four teams.

The National Football Conference is the other conference that completes the NFL. Similar to AFC, NFC is divided into four divisions - East, West, North, South, each comprising four teams.

Preseason games are matches that occur before the regular season starts. These games are often used as practice matches for teams to prepare for the upcoming season and determine the final player roster.

Playoff games are postseason matches where teams compete for the Super Bowl title. The playoffs are a single-elimination tournament, with the top teams from each conference (AFC and NFC) competing against each other.

The Super Bowl is the final championship game of the NFL season, in which the champions of the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC) compete against each other. This event is one of the most watched television broadcasts in the United States.
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