NHL Attendance: Low As Usual 

NHL Attendance: Low As Usual

It seems the NHL has always had the lowest game attendance among the four major sports leagues in the United States. So far this has been the case during the 2003-2004 season. NHL teams are averaging between 12,000 to 20,000 fans per game. I think the seat capacity of NHL arenas can explain the restriction in numbers. Quite simply, NHL arenas are smaller and have fewer seats than NFL and Major League Baseball stadiums.

Lack of interest in hockey in many parts of the U.S. could be another reason why attendance at NHL games is relatively low. Although this is clearly not the case in Canada where hockey is a way of life.

Therefore, it should come as no suprise that four of the top ten teams in average attendance are Canadian. They are Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Toronto. Montreal was the only one out of the four teams that did not make the postseason last year, but they are ranked second in average attendance.

The other teams in the top ten that have not been mentioned are the New York Rangers, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild and Philadelphia Flyers.

The Rangers were the only team to miss the playoffs from the above list, but they have a large payroll and roster filled with high profile players. Apparently, they don't need to make the playoffs to get people to come to their games.

The Detroit Red Wings lead the league in average attendance per home game at 20,066 fans through five games. They have had one hundred percent attendance with a total amount of over 100,000.

None of these numbers are a surprise as the Red Wings have a long history of championship hockey and the team continues to play at a high level with its many star players. As a result, people want to go see them play.

But the fact that the two Stanley Cup finalists, the New Jersey Devils and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, are in the lower half of teams in game attendance is a surprise. I think this can be attributed to the slow starts to the season for both teams and rising ticket prices. The opening to the NBA season along with the NFL season already in progress might also be reasons for low attendance rates for NHL games.

It's safe to say the folks in New Jersey would much rather see the Jets, Giants, and Nets than the Devils and many people in Southern California would like to see the Chargers and Lakers over the Ducks.

The Devils, keeper of Lord Stanley's Cup, are ranked eighteenth in average attendance with 15,243 fans per game and totaling 91,462. The San Jose Sharks, a team that finished near the bottom of the league last year, is right behind them at nineteenth place with an average of 15,065 fans per game and totaling 75,328 fans. The Ducks, runner up to last year's Cup, are twenty-second averaging 13,991 fans per game and totaling 83,947. Go figure!

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Sun Oct 16, 2005 3:15 am MST by Lakers Tickets

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