As the stakes jumped in the 2nd round of action at the 2018 FIVB Men’s Volleyball World Championship tournament, so to did attendances.
In Italy, at least.
In the 2nd round of play, there was a stark difference between attendances in Pools E and F, hosted in Assago and Balogna, Italy, respectively; and the attendances in Pools G and H, which were hosted in Sofia and Varna, respectively. The gap was even more obvious when the host teams were removed from the equation.
|Host City||Stadium Capacity||Average Attendance||% of Capacity||Avg. Attendance Without Host Teams||Total Attendance|
|Pool E||Assago, Italy||12,677||10371||81.81%||7985||62224|
|Pool F||Bologna, Italy||5,721||4650||81.28%||4650||27900|
|Pool G||Sofia, Bulgaria||12,500||3817||30.54%||583||22900|
|Pool H||Varna, Bulgaria||6,000||643||10.72%||643||3860|
While matches involving Bulgaria drew decent crowds (7250, 8400, and 5500 against Iran, United States, and Canada, respectively) in the capital Sofia, matches without them drew just 583 fans. Pool H in Varna was even worse before the win-and-in match for Poland against Serbia on the final day drew 1,020 fans to bring its average up.
Italy, meanwhile, drew basically sell-out crowds for all 3 of its matches in Assago, averaging 12,757 fans-per-match.
Italy will finish out the tournament as hosts, with the Final 6, semifinals, and finals all being played in Turin at the Pala Alpitour, which seats 15,807. Bulgaria did not advance.
Italy’s next two matches will be on September 26th against Serbia and September 28th against Poland.
The tournament in total has drawn 280,337 fans so far, according to official attendance numbers. With 10 matches remaining, even a Final 6 sellout wouldn’t be enough to come close to the 563,263 fans that turned out in Poland for the 2014 Championship; even if we discredit the 61,500 that attended the tournament-opening match at the Warsaw National Football Stadium, Poland will still draw far more fans than the combination of Italy and Bulgaria: the first-ever tournament co-hosts.