Cost of Empty Seats: How Much SPFL Clubs Lose Every Matchday Due to Unsold Tickets

Updated: 416 Football

Just how much do Scottish Premiership clubs lose at every home game with empty seats in the stadia. Who are the worst culprits in the division losing the most money?

Cost of Empty Seats: How Much SPFL Clubs Lose Every Matchday Due to Unsold Tickets
Dan Tracey Data Scientist and Football Editor

Writer, analyst, podcaster, Spurs fan. Three out of four is not bad. If there is a data angle, I will find it.

A few months ago, OLBG took a look at how much every Premier League club is losing this season because of unsold tickets. The findings showed that Tottenham Hotspur were losing the most with an extra £165,000 of revenue going out of the window every time they play at their new state of the art new stadium. 

While any football club would baulk at losing such a high sum every home game, Premier League clubs' income is so high that even these kinds of losses incurred can easily be made up for by other revenue streams. The further down the footballing pyramid you venture though, the more important income from matchdays becomes.

That’s why we decided to conduct the same research on all SPFL teams, who bring in far fewer finances from TV deals, sponsorship and various other means than clubs in England’s top tier. Here’s a full breakdown of how many clubs in these respective divisions are losing out on this season…

Cost of Empty Seats - SPFL

Club Stadium Max capacity Average attendance (2021/22) Ticket price (lowest available) Revenue (based on average attendeances) Average empty seats Cost of empty seats
Rangers Ibrox 50,987 40,532 £30.00 £1,215,960 10,455 £313,650
Celtic Celtic Park 60,832 51,533 £30.00 £1,545,990 9,299 £278,970
Aberdeen Pittodrie Stadium 22,199 11,005 £20.00 £220,100 11,194 £223,880
Dundee United Tannadice Park 14,223 6,972 £26.00 £181,272 7,251 £188,526
Motherwell Fir Park 13,750 4,861 £20.00 £97,220 8,889 £177,780
Livingston Tony Macaroni Arena 9,512 3,687 £25.00 £92,175 5,825 £145,625
Dundee Kilmac Stadium at Dens Park 11,850 6,156 £24.00 £147,744 5,694 £136,656
St. Johnstone McDiarmid Park 10,696 4,209 £17.00 £71,553 6,487 £110,279
Hibernian Easter Road Stadium 20,250 15,045 £15.00 £225,675 5,205 £78,075
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SPFL clubs losses 2021/2022 infographic - updateWith Rangers failing to win the 2021/22 edition of the Scottish Premiership, they are unlikely to be pleased with our latest data-driven analysis. Their Ibrox home may offer a capacity of just over 50,000 but the average attendance is just over 10,000 lower.

40,532 to be exact and with the lowest ticket price currently at £30, this means that the blue half of Glasgow loses an average of £313,650 when it comes to unsold matchday tickets - a league table that the team do not want to be at the top at.

It is somewhat unsurprising that their crosstown rivals fill second place. The Glasgow duopoly is once again maintained as Celtic’s own Celtic Park has an average of 9,299 spare matchday seats.

With the Hoops’ cheapest ticket being priced at £30, this means Ange Postecoglou’s men are currently losing out on £278.970 of average matchday revenue. Although it must be noted that these empty seats did not stop Celtic from regaining the Scottish league crown.

Aberdeen placed third in the lost revenue table, as their Pittodrie ground is usually only half full and as a consequence, the Dons lose out on an average of £223,880 per home league encounter.

But what of the Edinburgh giants that ply their trade in Scotland’s top tier? Hibernian’s Easter Road is on average 75% full and therefore, the revenue lost on matchday is not as hefty as what is found in Glasgow or Aberdeen.

Admittedly the fact that the cheapest ticket at Easter Road is £15 will undoubtedly help and as a consequence, the average lost revenue per Hibernian league matchday is just under £80,000.

In comparison to their Edinburgh rivals Hearts, the Jam Tarts are celebrating their return to Scottish football’s top tier and fans are flocking back to Gorgie in their droves. A capacity of 19,852 but only an average of 3,150 seats being unfilled. 

This means the Tynecastle-based club is losing out on just under £60,000 per home matchday. More than five times less than Rangers who sit at the top of our 2021/22 lost revenue table.

However, Hearts cannot claim the crown in Scotland’s top tier, that honour is bestowed to Ross County. The Dingwall outfit may only have a capacity of 6,541 at the Global Energy Stadium but is still more than 50% full each average matchday.

Therefore, the club only loses out on £55,780 each time. But for a club of their stature, is that near £60,000 loss felt more than the likes of Rangers or Celtic at the top? The answer to this is most likely to be yes. 



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Methodology

Attendance data taken from Transfermarkt: https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/scottish-premiership/besucherzahlen/wettbewerb/SC1/saison_id/2021

Ticket data taken from each club’s own website. 

About OLBG

OLBG is a sports betting community whose users help each other to find the best bets and the best betting sites to place them at. If you are interested in opening a new online betting account then you may want to check out the latest free bets. For those who like to try their luck at the casino, OLBG also has lists for the best UK casino sites and latest casino offers.


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