Poland: Attendance fiasco for Zorya Luhansk

source: StadiumDB.com; author: Kuba Kowalski

Poland: Attendance fiasco for Zorya Luhansk Organisers of Zorya Luhansk's matches can speak of considerable disappointment after the Ukrainian team's games in the group stage of the European competition were held with shockingly low attendance.


Marketing disaster - almost empty stands during European competition matches

As of February 2022, Ukrainian teams cannot stage any European bouts at home due to the Russian invasion. Therefore, Premier Liha teams playing in Europe have to play their matches outside their country.

Encouraged by good ticket sales for the Ukrainian national team's matches in ŁKS’s stadium in Lodz and a decent attendance of fans at Dynamo Kyiv's games in Poland, the Luhansk players chose Arena Lublin for their home away from home during European competitions, starting with the Europa League qualifiers. However, this decision quickly turned out counterproductive for Zorya's management. The matches did not attract crowds - these days, fans often opt for online entertainment, taking advantage of, for example, free spins without having to spend their own money.

Serious cause for concern could already be seen after the qualifying match against Slavia Prague in August. At that time, the attendance record for Zorya's matches this season was also set - the clash was watched by 964 spectators. The Ukrainian club seems to have made no attempt to salvage the situation by promoting upcoming games, which has affected ticket sales for Europa Conference League group stage bouts.

Arena Lublin© Bartosz Makowski / Estudio Lamela

Why could Zorya not count on the fan-filled Arena Lublin?

Lack of proper advertising, limited availability of information for Polish fans, late kick-off hours - these were the explanations given by observers after September's opening group stage match of Zoria and Gent, which was seen by just 539 fans. It has to be said that the club has not taken much care to promote and facilitate the purchase of tickets for Polish fans. Tickets can only be bought online and only on the Ukrainian website of Zorya, there are no match promotions in the city. Ukrainian fans can't afford to come to a match like this because of the prices and the late hour, one of the journalists on X wrote.

After a slight improvement in attendance during the Lugansk team's encounter with Maccabi Tel Aviv (763 attendees) came another disappointment - a devastating 442 fans out of a possible 15,243 at Zorya's last game in the European competition against Iceland's Breidablik. An Ukrainian female supporter, who bought a pass for all three Zorya matches in Lublin, said she had never experienced something so unusual at a sports venue before. The footballers were able to approach each of the fans after the full-time whistle and thank them for their presence. However, it was very difficult to encourage others to cheer, as I myself could not replace a whole wall of loyal supporters with my voice only, she added.

Asked about any Zorya’s promotion attempt, the attendee said she had not seen any advertising in the city. However, would this change the attitude of the locals? Not likely. Zorya couldn't count on making much money from tickets anyway, as the ticket prices, for the Conference League, were far too low. When Dynamo Kyiv played their Europa League matches at Cracovia Stadium last season, more than half the seats remained empty, even when French Stade Rennais came to Krakow (5398 spectators out of a possible 15,000 - editor's note). Zorya Lugansk will not play in the Lublin venue again this season, after the Ukrainian team finished third in the group competition with seven points, two wins, one draw and three defeats.

Arena Lublin© Bartosz Makowski / Estudio Lamela