Over half a million football fans enjoyed a bumper opening weekend of football in the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two, with 543,168 supporters in grounds up and down the country, making it the highest aggregate opening weekend attendance this century. That figure is over 90,000 more than the opening day of 2022/23, representing a 20.7% rise.

Away from the grounds the audience figures painted a similarly positive picture with the opening weekend of the EFL Championship the most watched on Sky Sports ever, with an average of 631,000 viewers across all four matches, up 77% compared to last season.

Derby County’s 29,957 attendance for the clash with Wigan Athletic was the highest in Sky Bet League One over the weekend and it was also the fourth highest in the EFL over the opening weekend.

Viewing figures for Gillette Soccer Saturday, with new host Simon Thomas, were also up 50% on the opening weekend last season.

EFL Chief Executive, Trevor Birch, said: “With over half a million supporters in stadiums across the country, a record number watching at home and goals flowing at games in every division, it really was a fantastic opening EFL weekend for all involved. Attendances last year were the highest in seven decades and the evidence from the opening weekend suggests the appetite for live football is only continuing to rise.

“This, of course, wouldn’t be possible without the unwavering support and commitment of our Clubs and their supporters. It is testament to the ever improving quality on show across the EFL and it is no surprise that so many people want to be part of the live game experience.”