More than 16m people have watched matches in the npower Football League for the eighth consecutive season with crowds increasing by 1.5% during 2011/12.

A total of 16.3m supporters attended the 1,656 league matches played in the npower Championship, League 1 and League 2, an increase of more than 200,000 on the previous campaign. The Football League continues to enjoy sustained attendance growth with gates having more than doubled in the 25 years since the introduction of the Play-Offs in 1986/87.

The npower Championship has retained its place as the fourth most watched league in Europe with a total audience of more than 9.9m fans. Crowds grew by 2% this season and averaged 18,568. Only Germany's Bundesliga (13.9m), the Premier League (13.1m) and Spain's La Liga (11.5m) can boast more fans through the turnstiles, with The Football League's top division, once again, attracting more supporters than Italy's Serie A (7.8m) and France's Ligue 1 (5.6m).

Crowds for matches in npower League 1 and npower League 2 averaged 7,359 and 4,406 and totalled 4.1m and 2.4m respectively, with crowds in the latter increasing by a healthy 6%.

Greg Clarke, Chairman of The Football League, said: "It is hugely encouraging to see Football League crowds rising given the increasingly tough economic conditions being faced by many supporters. On behalf of all our clubs, I would like to offer my gratitude to everyone that has gone to a match this season.

"As a league, we are strongly focused on making our clubs financially sustainable and this includes getting as many new fans to our matches as possible. We are also working to improve the matchday experience for existing supporters, as it is their loyalty and commitment that underpins these figures."

For more information on attendances click here