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Lightning attendance up (but it still wasn’t as high as the box scores said)

Ottawa Senators v Tampa Bay Lightning

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 06: Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates his power play goal at 5:41 of the third period against the Ottawa Senators at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on March 6, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. The Senators defeated the Lightning 7-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Bruce Bennett

Those who question official attendance numbers at certain NHL rinks should find this interesting.

From the Tampa Bay Times:

Lightning attendance took an appreciable jump this season.

Official average attendance (tickets sold and distributed) was 18,468, up 7 percent from 17,268 in 2010-11. But more notable, records from Hillsborough County, which owns the Tampa Bay Times Forum, show actual attendance (that is, the turnstile count) up 14 percent from an average 13,474 in 2010-11 to 15,364.

In other words, around 3,000 sold/distributed tickets per game went unused last season. Some might’ve belonged to season-ticket holders that didn’t go or didn’t/couldn’t give them away. Others could’ve been team giveaways that never got used.

Overall it’s good news though. Hopefully the Lightning can keep moving in the right direction off the ice. We’ll see if the team’s failure to make the playoffs one season after nearly making the Stanley Cup finals has any effect.