NFL American football team the Detroit Lions set an attendance record at its Ford Field Stadium during the 2017 season, it has been revealed.
The Crain’s Detroit Business website reports that the Lions’ eight regular-season games attracted a total of 513,100 fans. The previous season attracted 486,342 fans.
The figure beats the previous record of 510,369 fans that was set for the 2013 season. The Lions have played at Ford Field since the stadium opened in 2002.
The Lions’ best-attended game was the Thanksgiving Day game against the Minnesota Vikings, which attracted 66,613 people – an attendance only bettered by the Lions’ clash with the Chicago Bears in October 2011, which was witnessed by 67,861 supporters.
Crain’s noted that the Lions are using the revenue generated from ticket sales to pay for the privately-financed $100m (£74m/€83m) renovation of Ford Field. NFL clubs retain 60 per cent of ticket sales for each home game, with the remaining revenue shared among the rest of the league. According to Crain’s, the 40 per cent of revenue from Lions games that would normally go to the league will be put towards construction costs.
The Lions’ growing attendance figures come amid a slight decline across the NFL in general. An average of 67,404 fans attended games in 2017, compared to 69,456 in 2016. The 2017 figure was skewed slightly due to the Los Angeles Chargers playing at the 27,000-seat StubHub Center while work is ongoing at its new 70,000-capacity stadium in Inglewood.