NFL per-game attendance was higher in 2021 than 2019
NFL attendance didn’t only rebound in 2021 after many games were played in empty stadiums in 2020, it actually exceeded the per-game average for the 2019 season.
For the full 2021 season, NFL games averaged 67,254 fans, a 0.9 percent increase over the 2019 average, according to Ben Fischer and David Broughton of Sports Business Journal.
That doesn’t mean the situation is rosy everywhere, though. In fact, 19 of the NFL’s 32 teams actually saw their average attendance decline from 2019 to 2021. The league average attendance rose thanks largely to many more fans attending Chargers home games and Raiders home games, which is to be expected after the Chargers moved out of their tiny temporary stadium and into the 71,500-seat SoFi Stadium, and the Raiders upgraded from their dilapidated stadium in Oakland to 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Other than the Chargers and Raiders, the biggest attendance increases came in Cincinnati and Tampa Bay, where Joe Burrow and Tom Brady demonstrated that a franchise quarterback can change a franchise’s fortunes. The biggest attendance declines were in Washington and Detroit.
Overall, NFL teams sold 95.1 percent of tickets available, up from 94.6 percent in 2019.