Fans expectations review
Article originally published 18th of March 2008
Fans expectations have changed the way your fans react to match results. As a butterfly effect it has also changed the dynamics of your arena attendance, which indeed was one of the reasons why we introduced it in the first place. But be assured, we are also keeping an eye on the formulas to make sure they are working as intended. Some things, like lower attendance figures than you're used to, were expected. Other things need to be further improved, like for example your fans' expectations for the cup.
With many users reporting lower attendances than usual during the first weeks, we would like to point that this is an expected consequence of the new system. Fans expectations is designed to reduce the drastic mood swing of fans, where fans only react to the last game played. Right now, we are at the start of the season, where many teams are used to build up their fan mood by a string of easy cup wins. With fan expectations in place fans are taking a more realistic view of these wins. As a result, fan mood is not boosted as quickly and this impacts the attendance of the league games as well. At later stages of the season, when fan mood have risen in general and when many teams have rearranged their arenas with more seats under roof, we should see higher attendance figures in general than what we have seen so far.
Less impact from away fans
In the past when both the home and away fans were in a good mood we saw high attendance figures, and typically we saw a lot of such games being played in the beginning of the season. Because the away fans have less impact today, these games get less attendance this season. On the other hand, matches where the away fans are in a bad mood (but home fans are happy) will see higher attendance than we're used to. But most such matches aren't played at season start, they are yet to happen.
First rounds matter less
It is also the case that your fans are less concerned about the results of the first few rounds of the league. The impact of results to fan mood increase each week at the start of the season, and this means it takes a little longer to reach euphoria at the start of the season. This rising fan interest is a way to decrease the importance of the league schedule - without this mechanic, a team that starts at home would keep a theoretical fan mood advantage throughout the season, compared to rivals that started with an away game. Today, it matters very little in what order you play your games, the actual results are what matters.
Income is about the same
Enough about fan mood and attendance figures, at the end of the day it's attendance income which really matters. You might think that the lower attendance figures would lead to lower income, but there is in fact no such indication in general. Average income in the system remains the same, it even went up a little bit. In bigger leagues we have experienced an attendance income drop of around 5% though. What we can see is that teams playing in the top 5 divisions in big countries are making less money compared to last season, while teams in lower divisions are having the same or higher income. The main reason for this is that top division teams' fans are taking a more realistic view of easy cup wins (as explained above), but also because of the wealth of these teams. We will continue to follow the economical effects of this change, especially as we expect many teams to rearrange their arenas and build more seats under roof during the season.
Cup expectation tweak
One problem that we saw, and that we now have changed for the fourth cup round, was how fan expectations for cup games were calculated. Teams in big leagues have been at a disadvantage, since fan expectations for the cup were calculated based on the seasonal expectations (which among other things take the number of league levels between two teams into calculation). A division 2 team in Germany that takes on a division 6 team is in effect taking on a mid-level team in his league, whereas a division 2 team from Venezuela that is facing a division 6 team is taking on a team from the absolute bottom of the league.
We have now added a factor for this into the fan expectations, making fans understand better what kind of teams they are up for in the cup. This will level out the effect between countries with different sizes, making it more realistic and well-balanced.