We’lll start these by looking at the potted crowd figures for 2007-08. These follow on from the very silly season post and show the home crowds for last season. The two tables contain the same information but they’re ordered by different criteria.
The first column of numbers shows the capacity of each team’s stadium; the second column shows the home gate averaged over all 28 runkosarja games; the third column shows the average home gate as a percentage of full capacity; and to build the excitement to excruciating level, the number of times full capacity was reached is thrown into the final column.
Having too much time on my hands, apparently, for some obscure reason I’ve generated plots of each team’s home crowds as a percentage of capacity, that being the vertical axis. Each match is shown as what is technically known as a “blob”, and to save you from reaching for the SM liiga web site, I’ve written the name of the visitors alongside. The software seems to have had some difficulty handling the Scandinavian characters, but it’s pretty obvious which teams are Kärpät and Ässät. The final piece of useless information is the red line, which is the running average of the home crowds. Showing no favouritism at all, here they are in what the software thinks is alphabetical order, but isn’t because Ässät should be last.
The red lines don’t do much other than add a bit of colour to the page, although in the case of Kerho and, more particularly, Ässät they do give an indication of how a season that must have started off with optimism slid inexorably into disillusionment. It’s also noticeable how the support for most of the big clubs — the biggest seems to be the exception here — increases as the season progresses. JYP are anonymous in the first table on this page, but the graph shows what a mind-bogglingly good season they had at the gate. Admittedly, it was needed to pay the wages bill, but it looks like the team’s management got their planning right. Hmmm, maybe there’s a bit more to the red line than I thought originally. It might also be interesting to add to the graphs each club’s “hoped for” gate that is stated in the budget published before the season. If anyone has these to hand it’d save me a bit of digging around.
The individual match blobs show a few things of interest, such as the difference in attitude in Pori towards their two “derby” rivals, a situation repeated in Rauma. The mutual indifference between Tampere and Turku is a bit surprising, as is the Jeckyll and Hyde performance of KalPa in one or two places. The worth of the derby games in both Helsinki and Tampere stands out quite clearly, as does the lack of it in most other places.
More stuff is finally ready, not quite as soon as planned due to a number of factors, such as the elementary error of leaving the programme open and letting the computer battery go flat. Corrupted data upon reboot, etc. etc. The “more stuff” is a breakdown of each team’s crowds into individual figures for each opponent. First up are Espoo’s finest, here’s their pictures:
The table at the top shows the average gate for Blues for each opponent, home and away. The bar chart in the middle shows the average gate in Espoo only for each opponent as a percentage of capacity, and the filling in pie chart underneath mostly adds colour but also shows the relative average gates for each of the opponents, again in Espoo only. A bit of a surprise to see Kärpät outstripping both Helsinki clubs, and by quite some margin too, but nothing compared to the jolt of seeing TPS propping up the rest.
Staying inside Kehä III, next on to the chopping block are HIFK and Jokerit. Despite the oft reported deadly rivalry betweeen the two, neither occupy top spot against the other.
Sprinting down the motorway from Finland’s capital to its third city, we arrive in Tampere where Ilves and Tappara share a stadium, Hakametsä. There’s no mistake of where the rivalries lie here.
A quick look at the home figures, side by side, for both Helsinki and Tampere reveals that Lukko live like Jeckyll and Hyde in the latter, while Blues repeat the stunt, though not quite to the same extent, in both cities.
From Tampere we travel to Hämeenlinna, Lahti and then Lappeenranta. Both Kerho’s and Pelicans’ figures are headed by the geographically distant Kärpät. Matches between Kerho and Kärpät have often been marked as fast, skillful and close affairs between two teams playing similar styles, especially under the Jalonens. This has contributed to Kerho’s popularity in Raksila and, possibly anyway, to the Weasels’ popularity in Rinkelinmäki. Blues stand out as not particularly interesting guests of both Pelicans and SaiPa, more so since the three form one of the local derby groups. A notable dunce’s cap too for Tappara at SaiPa.
Jumping up to the northern group, each set of fans are reassuringly indifferent to one of their supposed “local” rivals. In both Jyväskylä and Oulu the don’t cares are KalPa, and in Kuopio JYP feature strongly whereas Kärpät distinctly do not.
From Oulu we trek all the way down the west coast of the country, ending up in the capital when the Swedes ruled the roost. Ässät and Lukko are fierce rivals so there are no prizes for guessing that each tops the other’s list. Blues get a certain award in both cities. In Turku, Jokerit remain the biggest attraction. Ahh, for the old days.