The numbers that show the massive improvement in Preston North End's support this season

There was plenty of optimism going into the 2022/23 season and it all started towards the end of last season, Preston North End finished the season well and all was looking good.
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There was going to be change in the summer with outgoings and incomings and an early bird season ticket offer really captured the imagination of the Preston support, leading to record sales.

There was also a trip to Spain that inspired the supporters and gave them a feeling of togetherness with their club that they had not have for many years, and it shows.

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North End’s record season ticket sales, nearing 12,000, has meant attendances this season have blown previous campaigns out of the water.

Preston North End fans show their support against Burnley.Preston North End fans show their support against Burnley.
Preston North End fans show their support against Burnley.

They are so far, in their opening six games, thousands ahead of their average attendance figures since their return to the Championship in 2015.

Their first season back, prior to this season, was in fact North End’s best season when it comes to attendances. After Preston’s four year stay in League One was ended, on average, 12,898 fans came to watch each week as Simon Grayson’s men finished 11th. Their highest single attendance was 15,974 for the visit of Middlesbrough on the opening day.

The following season’s attendances dropped, with 12,000 on average in 2016/17 although the single highest game jumped up notably to 17,696 as Aston Villa got used to life in the second tier.

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There were over 13,600 the following season, in 2017/18, with a new record high attendance since promotion with 18,267 inattendance for Sheffield Wednesday’s trip to Lancashire, again on the opening day.

Preston North End fans enjoy the pre-match atmosphere against Hull City.Preston North End fans enjoy the pre-match atmosphere against Hull City.
Preston North End fans enjoy the pre-match atmosphere against Hull City.

They almost reached 14,000 supporters a game in 2018/19, with 16,331 at Deepdale for the game against Bolton Wanderers.

2019/20 saw a reduction in season tickets and also their highest attendance, with just short of 13,300 attending on average and their highest attendance being 15,715 as Sheffield Wednesday again appear.

Covid meant that the following season saw no supporters in grounds but last season was the lowest for average attendance since PNE’s League One play-off success.

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There were 11,300 on average in PR1, with 18,000 at Deepdale for Derby County’s visit.

Comparing it to this season, North End’s average attendace is 16,700 – over 5,000 more. Their highest attended game is also the most since their promotion, the 20,212 that watched the defeat to Sheffield United before the international break. The 5,000 extra fans have been treated to just the one goal so far, unfotunately.

Interestingly, in both 2018/19 and 2019/20 PNE’s highest and lowest attendance were in consecutive games. The former either side of an international break and the latter just three days apart.

There has been a vast improvement in support from North End’s faithful at home, helped by the success of lowering the price for season cards paired with a charismatic manager that places importance on the fans’ engagement with the team.

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PNE play Sunderland this weekend, Saturday 3pm, and have already sold out their initial allocation for the trip to the North East, with over 2,400 tickets sold so far according to the latest update from the club.