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▶ Could top flight soccer exist without fans? [2020/05/30   ]

As German soccer’s successful restart continues and other leagues look to return, it’s possible that soccer will be played without fans for a long time—possibly not even until 2021.

Fans are traditionally viewed as the lifeblood of the sport. Without them, clubs wouldn’t exist, and the idea of playing in empty arenas is very unappealing to many.

At the Borussia Monchengladbach match this past weekend, rows of cardboard cutouts of fans were placed behind a large visible banner that read: ‘Fussball ohne fans ist nichts' ("Football without fans is nothing")

But is that really true? Is it possible that top flight soccer could be played without fans in the stadiums?

Economic trends suggest we might not need the fans in the stands. According to stats form the BBC, match day income from fans stood at 45% of total income for Premier League teams when the league started in 1992. But last season, that figure dropped to just 13% of total revenue.

Manchester United make just over $5m per game, but match day income only represents around 17% of their total income.

The manner in which big clubs pursue foreign sponsorship deals and pre-season tours to new territories shows that the support of fans in the stadiums is no longer their top priority: it’s the fans around the world watching on TV.

Of course, smaller clubs need match day revenue to survive, and fans will always play a huge part of the game.

But the biggest teams in the world could probably play on the moon and it wouldn’t matter, as long as people around the world tuned in and bought their merchandise!

Local match-going fans will return to stadiums in time, and that’s great.  But the Bundesliga’s return, and the manner in which empty stadiums now appear normal, show that the show definitely can go on without people in the stands.

For more on the beautiful game - follow @FCYahoo on your favorite social channels…and stay up to date on Yahoo Sports.

- The origianl text resource is from Yahoo Sports

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