AHL Attendance

Amerks, AHL, Sabres, Hockey, Red Wings, Knighthawks, Bills, etc..
insagt1
Posts: 7592
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 2:33 pm

AHL Attendance

Post by insagt1 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:38 pm

We know that the numbers reported each night don't necessarily reflect the actual number of people in the seats. Seems as though the league reports attendance as tickets sold. (maybe some venues do it differently, but I doubt it) So, we take the numbers with a grain of salt. However since this is all we have to use, the 'official' figures indicate the following interesting items:

Dave Andrews is in love with the 7 practice squads. So much so that he gives them unconscienable concessions that defy decades and decades of pro league precedent. How are they enhancing the league? Its subjective. Two of the seven teams are in the top 4 in attendance....San Diego is the leader with an average gate of 8,846; and Ontario is 4th with an average of 8,309. (Hershey is 2nd, just a tick or two behind San Diego and Cleveland is 3rd; Providence rounds out the top 5 with an average of 7,923)

While this looks like a big win for Andrews, it should be noted that the other 5 practice squads are in the lower half of the league in attendance, with San Jose and Stockton right near the bottom. I guess Andrews considers this a huge plus for the AHL. Oh well.

Amerks sit in 18th, with an average of 5,050--which for mid February is terrible. If you eliminate the bloated and completely wrong attendance for the Buffalo game, we would drop to 22nd with an average of around 4,600. Clearly, attendance is down this year, despite a 1st place team all season. Wednesdays draw virtually nothing and Friday crowds have been so-so. Years of losing and pretty much zero media coverage (outside of this site) has contributed to empty BCA. Many here who attend the Wednesday games are quick to observe that on many nights, there are only around 1,000 to 1,500 actual fannies in the seats.

Its really sad to see that a team in Iowa draws more fans (or at least sells more tickets!) The Iowa Corncobs are 10th in the league with an average of over 6,300. Does that bother anyone here? Utica has a tiny arena (just under 4,000) but they sell out every game. Binghamton also has a very small arena and they draw well too.
Milwaukee has been disappointing. Manitoba's crowds are small but they share Winnipeg with the NHL Jets. Hartford draws poorly. Belleville is the worst with just over 3,000. Don't know the size of their arena but it doesn't appear that AHL hockey is a real hot ticket there unless 3,000 is the capacity.

As for Amerks, usually attendance spikes in the last month...at least that was how it was for many years. I can't see us getting to an average of 6,000 this year unless suddenly hockey becomes the thing to do on the weekend. If they can somehow make a playoff run, the crowds WILL return..especially if we could be one of the contenders instead of just a low seed hanger-on.

User avatar
keithLGA
Site Admin
Posts: 2951
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:46 am

Re: AHL Attendance

Post by keithLGA » Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:46 pm

No one will ever change your mind but stable practice squad teams are better for the league overall than teams changing cities every other year like not too long ago.

I disagree with saying Utica and Binghamton draw well just because they have smaller buildings. Utica had a lot of empty seats on Saturday night, they aren't exactly sell outs every night with actual people in the building.

As for us, yea, attendance has stunk minus a handful of games. I think we're well beyond the point of saying lack of media coverage is a reason. It is but the team can't use that excuse anymore without trying new things.

User avatar
UncleBenny
Posts: 2331
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:34 am

Re: AHL Attendance

Post by UncleBenny » Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:51 pm

Where do you see AHL attendance numbers for this year? I have an observation from last year's numbers, but I want to see if it still holds up this year as well.

insagt1
Posts: 7592
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 2:33 pm

Re: AHL Attendance

Post by insagt1 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:25 pm

we'll see how long the west teams remain stable. Plus..,.,since half the league never sees them, its hard to even consider them IMO. You're right though KEith...you'll never change my mind on this. Its stupid, wrongheaded and spun perfectly by the AHL. If they are happy, who cares about anything else...like integrity. They can stay in their own little world. As I have said, if they want to play 8 fewer games, they should be disqualified from the playoffs. It isn't a level playing field. There are no consequences. Travel in California is not any harder than the rest of the league. When their precious 68 games are done....go home, relax and wait for next year.

Utica reports sell outs every night. Notice I said the numbers reflect tickets sold, not actual people. For their market size, they at least financially support their team. We don't even have 3,000 season ticket holders anymore. Also note that I said lack of media coverage wasn't the only reason for bad attendance. It contributes. I also said years of losing is a factor. I should have included lack of marketing the team properly. But having the media on board would sure help that endeavor, wouldn't it?

Most the teams ahead of us (not all but most) in attendance have been in the league for several years. The Pacific division teams have not been in the league long enough yet to declare them better for the league. Their very inclusion makes more money for the league, yes, but is it sustainable? Maybe it will be...but I wonder....what would happen if they had to play 76 games? Would they cry? Would they threaten to form their own league? do they have that much clout? (apparently so) Hey--why not have all the NHL parent teams play 8 fewer games too! Why not. Make it 'fair'. Then you might begin to hear fans and media cry and howl. But we are minor league....we don't count.

Anyway, to me, they are dead. I don't consider them, I don't follow their players, the standings, nothing. And I live in terror if one day we make the Finals and have to play one of them!!

insagt1
Posts: 7592
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 2:33 pm

Re: AHL Attendance

Post by insagt1 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:39 pm

UncleBenny wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:51 pm
Where do you see AHL attendance numbers for this year? I have an observation from last year's numbers, but I want to see if it still holds up this year as well.
So far 9 of the top 11 teams in attendance are down from last year and most of them are down over several years. Charlotte is up a bit but look at their team so far. Even the top two teams are down. Many teams below the top 11 are also down. Amerks average at the moment is the lowest in 8 years.

Having said that though, attendance does spike over the final month, so maybe there will be a decent improvement by the end. The Pacific teams are also showing declines. San Jose is having a terrible time drawing fans....of course they share their town with the Sharks. Its tough to have an NHL and AHL team in the same city. It failed in Montreal, Boston, Philly (to an extent) and Detroit. Its hanging in there in Chicago and Winnipeg and maybe Denver.

I know our attendance is poor, but actually I had forgotten how incredibly awful it was during the Florida years...one year not even averaging 4,000. We may not be in love with the Sabres, but nobody cared about Florida at all.

User avatar
keithLGA
Site Admin
Posts: 2951
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:46 am

Re: AHL Attendance

Post by keithLGA » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:20 pm

insagt1 wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:25 pm
But having the media on board would sure help that endeavor, wouldn't it?
The media would help but it seems like very few AHL teams have the media on board and still manage to get by and improve with butts in seats.

It'd be interesting to start tracking attendance year over year by day of week / time of year. Not sure it's worth the time but could be an interesting off season project.

User avatar
amerks23
Posts: 2438
Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:39 pm

Re: AHL Attendance

Post by amerks23 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:40 pm

keithLGA wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:46 pm
No one will ever change your mind but stable practice squad teams are better for the league overall than teams changing cities every other year like not too long ago.

I disagree with saying Utica and Binghamton draw well just because they have smaller buildings. Utica had a lot of empty seats on Saturday night, they aren't exactly sell outs every night with actual people in the building.

As for us, yea, attendance has stunk minus a handful of games. I think we're well beyond the point of saying lack of media coverage is a reason. It is but the team can't use that excuse anymore without trying new things.
Having teams in the Practice Squad cities is fine but playing a different amount of games than the other cities playing for the same Calder Cup is totally ridiculous and unheard- of in all of pro sports. Did the other teams vote on this and pass it or did Julie just say that's the way it's going to be. Does anyone know? I can believe all the other teams in the AHL approved it. I totally agree. It's nonsense!
They spent their own dough to get here, and they came here to see us! All right, let's show 'em what we got, guys! Get out there on the ice and let 'em know you're there.

insagt1
Posts: 7592
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 2:33 pm

Re: AHL Attendance

Post by insagt1 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:44 pm

Thats a good idea Keith...would be very interesting IMO. I believe the league already has a good idea that mid week games don't sell...but I wonder how MUCH they don't sell. Also, from March 1 to the end of the season, how much better is attendance, league-wide? I'm sure we would learn some trends!

User avatar
keithLGA
Site Admin
Posts: 2951
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:46 am

Re: AHL Attendance

Post by keithLGA » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:46 pm

Could track our own games, no interest in spending that much time tracking league wide. Can probably use HockeyDB to easily copy/paste numbers into a spreadsheet.

insagt1
Posts: 7592
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 2:33 pm

Re: AHL Attendance

Post by insagt1 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:12 am

Should also be noted that the old guard of supporters like me, the two Steves, Lou...we are slowly fading away. We remember when the league really was something. The newer generation of fan probably doesn't even know, or care how many games teams play...which plays right into the hands of Andrews and Co. Today's fan also probably doesn't know that the West coast teams exist...because we have never seen them. And again, it matters not to them anyway. The relevance of the AHL has changed over the years.
the only thing that does seem to matter is the Cup. Watching the winning teams react...and their fans..still makes winning even at this level very relevant. All the more reason why Practice Squads who don't compete at the same level should not participate. Its a concession that shouldn't have been made without some end date at the very least.

Remember when bus loads of fans from both cities used to go to Amerk-Crunch games? The rivalry was pretty intense. No more. These games are just games on the schedule. A handful of us care about the standings. But todays fan doesn't, nor does the local media. Its real tough swimming upstream.

What a few of us old soldiers remember, doesn't exist anymore; and probably never will again. And pretty much this new brand of fan reviles and scorns us for saying it, or even remembering it. I would be interested in knowing how many on these boards have witnessed every Amerk Cup Championship. (I think at least 4 that I know of) The storied history of this franchise is slowly fading away as are many of the players who created that history.

But I think its this shift that has allowed Andrews to say, no big deal about the uneven schedule. No one really cares that much about the AHL standings anymore. Or the IL standings, or any minor league.

Post Reply