Turkish Super Lig Stadiums & Stats

Turkey Flag on Football Pitch

The Süper Lig is, as you might well have guessed, the top-flight league in the Turkish football league system. Formed as the Milli Lig in 1958, it is one of the leagues that UEFA considers good enough to offer automatic qualification to some teams for the Champions League.

Eighteen teams take part in the Süper Lig, with three teams getting relegated every season to the TFF 1. Lig, the second-tier division in Turkey. Prior to its formation, the different cities of Turkey had their own mini-leagues, but we’ll tell you more about that later. This is the section of the site where you can learn all about the stadiums found in the Süper Lig as well as how the league is structured and some history of Turkey’s top-flight.

Stadium Stats

Stadium Year Opened Capacity Ave Attendance Record Attendance Record Attendance Match
Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi Stadium
2011 52,650 41,076 52,044 Galatasaray v Real Madrid (09/04/2013)
Başakşehir Fatih Terim Stadium
İstanbul Başakşehir F.K.
2014 17,319 2,212
Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium
1908 50,530 28,589 45,070 Fenerbahçe v Galatasaray (2015)
Vodafone Arena
Beşiktaş J.K.
2016 42,590 23,312 38,421 Beşiktaş-Osmanlıspor (2016)

Team Stats

Team Year Founded Nickname Team Owner
Beşiktaş 1903 Black Eagles, Black and whites Ahmet Nur Çebi
Fenerbahçe 1907 Sarı Kanaryalar (The Yellow Canaries), Sarı Lacivertliler (The Navy Blue-Yellows), Efsane (The Legend), Fener, Kadıköy Boğası (Kadıköy's Bull) Ali Koç
Galatasaray 1905 Sarı-Kırmızılılar (The Yellow-Reds), Aslanlar (The Lions), Avrupa Fatihi (Conqueror of Europe), Gala Galatasaray S.K.
İstanbul Başakşehir F.K. 1990 Baykuş (The Owls) Ministry of Youth and Sports

Turkish Super Lig Stadiums

As with most countries in Europe, football lays claim to being the most popular sport in Turkey. There are five professional leagues in the country, with one of those being entirely dedicated to women’s football. Of course we’re mainly interested in the Süper Lig, but the fact that so much stock is given to football as a sport in Turkey is indicative of the sort of grounds that you’re likely to find there.

The popularity of football means that the Süper Lig is rapidly becoming one of the most well attended in all of Europe. Interestingly, no new stadiums were opened in the country for about twenty years between the 1980s and the start of the new millennium; since then, though, numerous grounds have sprung up around Turkey. The new stadiums are replacing the older ones over time and it’s intriguing that most of them appear to be outside of the cities. This is in contrast to the original grounds that were built in the city centres and, therefore, are harder to modernise and update.

The majority of stadiums that host Süper Lig football at present can host between 15,000 and 20,000 supporters. Understandably, the three biggest teams in the country have larger grounds that can welcome from about 50,000 people in the case of Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray, up to over 75,000 when it came to Beşiktaş’ Atatürk Stadium (they have since moved to the Vodafone Arena, with a capacity of just over 40,000). The latter has hosted major matches over the years, most notably Liverpool’s epic comeback against AC Milan in the 2005 UEFA Champions League final, dubbed ‘The Miracle Of Istanbul’.

About The League

Currently known as the Spor Toto Süper Lig because of sponsorship, the top-flight league in Turkish football features eighteen teams doing battle to become the champions. The structure of the league format is pretty much exactly as you’d expect it with each team playing one another twice. They play one game at home and one game away meaning that by the end of the season they have played a total of 34 games each.

As is the case in most leagues, three points are awarded to the winning team and the losing team gets nothing. If the match ends in a draw then both of the teams get one point apiece. Where the Süper Lig differs from some other European leagues is in how the teams are separated at the end of the season in the event that they have the same number of points. Firstly, the clubs’ head-to-head record is taken into account, then their goal difference, before finally, the goals tally becomes a factor.

The winners of the Süper Lig are declared champions and automatically enter the group stage of the Champions League. The second-placed team enters the third qualifying round of the same competition, whilst the team that finished third goes into the third qualifying round of the Europa League. Fourth place earns a spot in the Europa League’s second qualifying round, with an additional place in the playoff of that competition set aside for the winners of the Turkish Cup. The bottom three teams are relegated to 1. Lig and replaced by the top two teams from that division as well as the winners of the playoffs.

Turkish Super Lig History

Turkey national football team in their first ever match against Romania in Taksim Stadium, Istanbul (26 October 1923).
Turkey national football team in their first ever match against Romania in Taksim Stadium, Istanbul (26 October 1923). - See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As with elsewhere in Europe, football was introduced to Turkey when Englishmen came over to Thessaloníki and started playing the game. League football was played for the first time during 1904-1905 when the Istanbul Football League was formed, and after that, numerous other cities started making their own leagues. Adana and Ankara formed leagues in 1923, as did Izmir and Trabzon. Kayseri was late to the party, not forming a city league until 1936. Lazy.

In 1937 the Milli Küme was formed. This was an inter-city competition that pitted clubs from Ankara, Izmir, and Istanbul against each other. In many ways it paved the way for the formation of the Milli Lig in 1959 as teams were already used to having to travel to play matches against each other. That was disbanded in 1950, however, and in 1956 the Federation Cup began. This was the true pre-cursor to the Milli Lig, seeing as the winner of it was entered into the European Cup. It only lasted for two years and was won by Beşiktaş on both occasions.

The top clubs from across Ankara, Istanbul, and Izmir competed in the 1959 Milli Lig, with qualification for the competition taking place in 1958. The first winners of the new competition were Fenerbahçe and no teams were relegated as there was nowhere for them to go. The 2. Lig wasn’t formed until 1963 and at that point the Milli Lig was re-branded as 1. Lig. A new second division was formed in 2001 and was called 1. Lig, meaning that the top-flight division needed a new name. It then became the Süper Lig that we know today.

Despite the popularity of the game in Turkey the Süper Lig has only been won by 5 teams since its inception as the Milli Lig all those years ago. 67 teams have competed in the Turkish top-flight but it has been dominated by Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş. Trabzonspor have won six titles and Bursaspor also managed to snag a solitary title win in the 2009-2010 season.