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NHL attendance down overall, but up in second half


Ottawa Senators fans get their picture taken with the “Sensquatch” prior to the start of their NHL playoff hockey action against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Ottawa on Sunday, April 18, 2010. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Pawel Dwulit)


The Biz of Hockey featured a story that has some good news and some bad news regarding NHL attendance figures. The bad news is that - overall - league wide gates dropped 2.2 percent compared to the 2008-09 season. The good news, though, is that things went up in the second half of the season as teams geared up for the playoffs and the Olympics increased interest (at least on some level) in the sport.

SportsBusiness Daily reported that overall attendance in the NHL is down 2.2 percent from last season. In December, Biz of Hockey looked at how attendance was doing and found that it was down almost 5 percent from where the league finished in ’09. The second half of the NHL season saw a sizable recovery possibly due to momentum gained from the Winter Classic, Olympics and playoff battles. And, despite the overall drop for the league’s worst draw the Phoenix Coyotes, the team finished 12.4 percent higher than it’s first-half percentage. The Coyotes weren’t the only team to see a second-half boost, the Nashville Predators finished 7 percent higher than they stood at mid-season while the Tampa Bay Lightning, Los Angeles Kings and Carolina Hurricanes drew just over 5 percent more fans. Only two teams saw second-half losses, the New York Rangers and the Atlanta Thrashers, both teams finished under 1 percent less than they were at mid-season.

Overall, the league drew finished 2.24 percent higher at the end of the season than where it stood at mid-season.

Even if you don’t really care about the “business side” of hockey, revenue obviously will have a big effect on the ice. For one thing, salary cap ceilings and minimums reflect how much the league makes. And -of course - the better a team does at the box office, the more money they’ll have to acquire stars.

Hey, maybe we’ll get a bunch of 7-game series so the NHL will make big bucks and “everyone” wins? (Except, you know, the teams who lose.)

(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)