NYON: The second tier of English football – confusingly called the Championship – was the third most-watched league in European football in the 2016-17 season according to UEFA’s new Club Licensing Benchmarking Report writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The English Premier League leads the way with a total attendance of more than 13.6m ahead of Germany’s Bundesliga (12.7m).

England’s second tier, with an total of more than 11m, ranks higher than Spain’s LaLiga, Italy’s Serie A and France’s Ligue 1. England’s third tier, League One, ranks ninth.

The Championship was fourth in last year’s report and enjoyed an average attendance of 20,125 during the 2016-17 campaign. Title winners Newcastle United’s 1-1 draw with Leeds United saw the league’s highest attendance of the season of more than 52,000.

The European federation’s report also found that the Premier League and Championship continued to top the list of foreign club ownership last season.

Almost two thirds of Premier League clubs have foreign owners compared to 58pc of Championship clubs. For the first time, the average wage bill of the Premier League (€153.9m) was more than double that of the next highest-paying league – the Bundesliga (€75.3m).

Five Premier League clubs – Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal – feature in the top 20 clubs by wages.

For the first time in European football, 11 clubs have reported aggregate league attendances of more than one million with West Ham, Celtic and Liverpool joining Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City in the top 11.

England’s 20 top tier clubs together reported more revenue than all 597 clubs combined from the 48 smaller UEFA countries (all except Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Russia and Turkey).

Twelve English clubs feature in the top 30 revenue rankings, with Man City (sixth), Arsenal (seventh), Chelsea (eighth) and Liverpool (ninth) all in the top 10. English clubs also occupied 16 of the top 20 places in the broadcast revenues table. Man Utd is top (€146m or 21pc of total revenue).

Top 10 European leagues by total attendance (2016/17)

League    Country   Aggregate attendance

1    Premier League England   13,607,420

2    Bundesliga    Germany   12,703,896

3    Championship  England   11,086,368

4    La Liga   Spain     10,621,000

5    Serie A   Italy     8,377,860

6    Ligue 1   France    7,965,940

7    2. Bundesliga Germany   6,652,134

8    Eredivisie    The Netherlands    5,840,316

9    League One    England   4,373,496

10   Primeira Liga Portugal  3,622,428