July 7, 2009

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A: Map and Chart, with Cities represented; and attendances for July 2009 (from average attendance figures from 4 to 5 home games played per team).

Filed under: Brazil — admin @ 4:16 pm


As part of my ongoing effort to get a better handle on the domestic futebol scene in Brazil,  I have made this map and chart,  which looks at the make-up of the current Brazillian Campeonato Série A,  on a city-by-city basis,  with current attendance figures. 

On the map and chart,  I have shown each club’s current average attendance in graphic form,  on the far right,  via proportionally sized crests.  Below that is the list of average attendances.  On the left is a breakdown of each city that has a club in the top flight in 2009…the cities are listed from north to south.  I have put a photo which is of the city’s skyline or otherwise representative of the city.   Within each cities’ section,  I have listed the club or clubs that hail from the city,  with a thumbnail profile of each club (ie,  date of origin,  major titles,  and current average gate,  plus 2008 average gates). 

In the middle of the map,  at the bottom,  is a list of the cities with 2009 Campeonato Série A representation,  with their populations.  The numbers to the left of each city on the list are their population-size rank.  The populations are for the Municipio ,  or administrative district,  of the city,  not the metropolitan area.   In case you’re curious about the largest cities in Brazil that lack a top flight club in 2009…the 4th largest city in Brazil is the capital,  Brasilia;  the 5th largest city is Fortaleza (which is north-west of Recife);  the 8th largest city is Manaus,  which is deep in the interior,  on the Amazon River (which is visible on the map,  up in the north of Brazil).   To see their locations, see this map ( site).   Here is the list from Wikipedia that I used  {click here  (List of Largest cities in Brazil)}. 


On 30th June,  São Paulo’s Corinthians defeated Porto Alegre’s Internacional in the final of the Copa do Brasil.  Corinthians are in the process of restoring their place at the top of the Brazilian futebol scene, by A). returning to the top flight for 2009;  B). signing former two-time European Footballer of the Year Ronaldo,  and thus grabbing lots of media attention;  C). winning the Paulista state championship earlier this year,  and now D). gaining a much-coveted qualification for the 2010 Copa Libertadores,  by winning Brazil’s national cup.  The only thing is,  for Corinthians’ league matches,  the crowds have not shown up…the club can’t even draw 12,000 spectators these days for their Campeonato Série A games. 

This fact flies in the face of the assertion that Corinthians are the second-most supported club in Brazil (Rio de Janeiro’s Flamengo are considered the best-supported club in Brazil,  and drew league-leading 40,694 per game last season).    [I covered the topic of the best-supported clubs in Brazil in my first post about the Campeonato Série A,  here.]    But there is another factor at work:  Corinthians cup run has drawn fans to those matches at the expense of domestic matches.  For the first leg of the Copa do Brasil final,  Corinthians drew 37,438 (which is almost 26,000 more than their league matches have drawn).  Last season in Série B,  Corinthians drew 23,786 per game in their promotion campaign.  Maybe Corinthians raised ticket prices upon gaining promotion (I tried to find out about that,  but I had no luck).

Meanwhile,  the highest average crowds right now can be found at the surprise of the season,  Atlético Mineiro,  who are from Belo Horizonte,  where they tend to be overshadowed by two-time Copa Libertadores champions Cruzeiro.  Atlético Mineiro drew 16,312 per last year,  but this year they were drawing almost 12,000 more per game.  Then Sunday,  the club drew 48,651 to the Mineirão,  the municipal stadium they share with Cruzeiro.  They were only able to get a 1-1 result to basement-dwelling Botofogo,  though,  and lost their first place position to Internacional,  who beat Náutico 0-2,  on 2 goals by Manchester United target Nilmar.  Internacional seem poised to win the title this season.

The explanation for why Atlético Miniero’s local rivals Cruzeiro have seen a 43% dip in their turnstile count is that many fans have opted to attend Cruzeiro’s Copa Libertadores matches rather than their domestic matches so far this season.  And the poor economy has no doubt contributed to this.  Cruzeiro drew 56,898 and 52,906 for Copa Libertadores matches in May and June,  but a recent league match versus Florianopolis minnows Avaí only drew 3,435 pagantes ,  or paying customers (more on this later).  

The same factor is at work with respect to Porto Alegre’s Grêmio,  whose gate figures this season are around 13,000 lower than their last season’s average gate of 31,725.  Grêmio drew 36,725 and 40,452 for their home Copa Libertadores matches in June and July .  Grêmio’s attendances were second highest in the league in 2008;  Cruzeiro’s turnstile count last season was 24,235,  the 3rd highest. 

On 2nd July,  Cruzeiro eliminated Grêmio from the Copa Libertadores,  and will face Argentina’s Estudiantes de La Plata in the two-legged final,  which is to be played on 8th July in La Plata, Argentina,  and 15th July in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.


Two last points on the attendance figures.  First off,  they are not as accurate as western European football attendance figures.  It is widely believed that many clubs under-report the figures for tax reasons.  Also,  there are divergent sets of figures,  because some outlets report only paying customers,  and some report all attendees,  including those who got in free,  plus the media.  The figures I am using are from the Confederação Brasileira de Futebol site {click here,  and go to the 7th selection listed on the far right: ‘Estatísticas Da Competição’,  then see ‘Bloco 2′).  These figures fall into the second category (total paying and non-paying attendees).  The figures that I originally was using came from the site (it’s on my blogroll),  and show only paying attendees. 

The second thing is that in general,  the figures will change as the average attendances of Cruzeiro and Grêmio (and probably Corinthians) rebound;  and will likely increase with respect to the whole league,  as crucial derbies and their corresponding swells in attendances get added to the tallies.  So I will update this map later in the season.  One thing I noticed is that last season,  all the clubs that were relegated were at the bottom of the attendance list (with the exception of Goías).  And this season,  a similar trend can be seen in the fact that the 6th-lowest drawing club is Botofogo,  who are at the bottom of the standings,  while the other lowest-drawing clubs are 2 of the 4 just-promoted clubs (plus the over-achieving Goías,  and Santos,  who are at mid-table).  The club that is contradicting this whole trend is the painfully low-supported newcomers Barueri (to hear how you pronounce the club’s name, click here). This club was established only 20 years ago,  and is from the outskirts of São Paulo.   Barueri can barely draw 3,000 per game,  yet they sit fourth in the table,  with convincing 4-2 wins over both Belo Horizonte clubs this season.  The thing is,  Barueri drew 9,024 in Série B last season…again,  I suspect the club hiked ticket prices. 


For updates on the Campeonato Serie A,  I have added a nice site to my blogroll…it’s under ‘Brazil: Gringo’s Opinion’ {click here},  and it is the blog of Jon Cotterill,  who is a football commentator for TV Globo in São Paulo.  I also have linked up his 2009 Campeonato Série A preview,  and I have also added a link to his TV network’s site,  which has good highlights of the Brazilian top flight.  But you can see highlights right from his posts.  My new routine this summer is to check out the results and highlights Monday nights.  It’s a good way to stave off European football withdrawal. 

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at Wikipedia {click here (set at Campeonato Brasileiro Série A 2009).  And special thanks to Jon Cotterill,  who was nice enough to show me where to find the attendance figures that I used. 

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