Not Johan Cruyff's popularity but rather his talent attracted more spectators to stadium De Kuip

Johan Cruyff, who played professional football at Feyenoord in his last season, improved his team's performance and attracted more spectators to De Kuip stadium. Because Cruyff came from arch-rival Ajax, he was not very popular with many Feyenoord supporters. It suggests that Cruyff's talent resulted in the superstar effect, rather than his popularity. This concludes Jan van Ours, Professor of Applied Economics at Erasmus School of Economics, in his research paper Johan Cruyff and his Contribution to Success and Stadium Attendance at Feyenoord.

Johan Cruyff played for Feyenoord in the 1983/84 season. To establish his contribution to Feyenoord's performance and stadium attendance in that season, Van Ours makes a comparison with the previous and the following season. In terms of playing minutes, Cruyff ranked fourth in 1983/84. Of the other 10 players in the top 11 in terms of playing timein 1983/84, 9 players were also present in 1982/83, while all 10 were present in 1984/85. Cruyff scored 11 goals. Apart from Cruyff, of the six top scorers in 1983/84, five were present in 1982/83 and five in 1984/85. So excepts for Cruyff's presence, the Feyenoord teams were not that different over the three seasons.

Feyenoord with Cruyff again national champion in 1984 after 10 years

The most important findings from Applied Economist Jan Van Ours are that Johan Cruyff’s presence improved the performance of his team Feyenoord. Apart from the improved performance, his presence also had a positive effect on stadium attendance at home matches. Before Feyenoord Cruyff played at Ajax, where he also started his career. Van Ours: ‘Since Feyenoord and Ajax are arch-rivals, it is unlikely that the increase in the number of spectators is related to his popularity, but rather to his talent. In football, the devil is in the details and it was Cruyff who took care of those details. Because of this, Feyenoord won the national championship in 1984, 10 years after winning the previous title and 9 years before it would do it again. Johan Cruyff clearly has made a superstar contribution to Feyenoord.'

6,500 extra spectators per game in De Kuip

At Feyenoord Johan Cruyff received a base salary of about 70,000 euros and per league match and cup match about 2 euros per sold ticket in excess of 20,000 spectators. In addition to this, he received 25% of the net revenues from Europe cup matches and a friendly tournament (the AD tournament), which in 1983 had a net revenue of about 270,000 euros. In the 1983/84 season Cruyff attracted on average about 6,500 extra spectators per game which over the season adds up to about 110,000.

More information

For more information, please contact Ronald de Groot, Media & Public Relations Officer at Erasmus School of Economics, or +31 6 53 641 846.

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