In chapter 7 we discuss design capacity, effective capacity and achieved capacity (page 175). I thought about this when I heard that so far this season attendance at Manchester United’s home ground, Old Trafford, had averaged 75,101 (achieved capacity). So I thought I would find out what its design capacity is….
Wikipedia asserts it is 73,731, whilst The Stadium Guide states it is 75,811. So I thought I would check with the club itself – and on its website it states “in excess of 76,000”. This suggests that no one at the club actually knows how many seats there are, although there must be a design capacity. Most of the seats are fixed and numbered. But there will be some seats in hospitality and executive suites that are flexible, so whilst the room in which these are to be found will have a seating limit, the actual number of seats is likely to be less than this.
So we know that in this case achieved capacity is 75,101 and design capacity is greater than 76,000, what about effective capacity? Some seats will be unavailable for sale for a number of reasons. The first is that they will occupied by players and staff of the football club. Some seats will be occupied by the press and media. And some will be complimentary seats for guests of the club.
If effective capacity and achieved capacity are the same, then every game has genuinely been ‘sold out’. If not, then there’s a slim chance you’ll get a seat….