Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Week's Stats and the Battle of Florida

The Average Spectators for each game this week? 17,296. OK, about 200 below the 17,500 mark that would be considered a success. Along with this, out of 44 games this week, only 17 sold out. Not that bad, but below the 50 and 65% marks I think the NHL should be shooting for.

In an earlier post using the graphs to determine the most stable division, the Northeast came out on top. It came down between the Northeast and Northwest, and I gave a slight edge to the Northeast because of Bostons attendance slowly calming down and rising at the same time. Well what happened this week in beantown? Two sellouts when the Leafs visited on Thursday and the Canes visited on Saturday. Maybe I do have a knack for this stuff.

Moving on... to the Battle of the Sunrise State, Tampa Bay v. Florida. Lets have a look (click graph to get full view):

If I had to describe this graph with one word, it would be volatile. I bring you this graph for a couple of reasons. First of all, I was never a fan of southern expansion to begin with. One or two teams would have been OK, but Hockey and the term "Southeast" don't mix well to me. I refer to such division as the Redneck Hockey division. But back to the graph...

Neither team has a very solid fanbase to begin with. The graph fluctuates so much because:
  1. Attendance heavily depends on what night the game is scheduled for.
  2. Attendance heavily depends on who is in town on such night.
  3. If there is any promotional event going on.
Now look, I would be willing to bet that half of NHL diehard fans are fans of their specific team first before the NHL. Hell, if the Rangers are on and a TV is in my viewing distance I will do anything it takes to get them on the screen. Would I do it for any other game? Most likely not. I might ask for hockey to be put on, but if there is gonna be a big problem, its not worth it.

So, Tampa Bay and Florida experience such fluctuations because:
  1. The smaller fan bases the two teams enjoy will most likely be much more willing to attend weekend games rather than weeknight games.
  2. Retired diehards that shipped themselves to Florida to die from anywhere above the Mason-Dixon line will gladly spend their savings on seeing their team.
  3. If there is an promotional event going on, the ticket holders are most likely one and done consumers.
As I hinted in reason 3, almost all of the fans going to these games are one and done consumers to the franchises. I'd also be willing to be that there are very few season ticket holders that attend every game (I'm guessing somewhere between 1,000-2,000). The retired folks are there to see their team, not the Bolts or the Panthers. And finally, the college couple that had nothing to do won't be going back to the next game unless they completely fall in love with one of the teams.

Now I titled this the Battle of Florida because I think, within 5-10 years, one of these teams will be out of the state and somewhere else. If I had to pick which one to move, it would be Florida. As the graph shows, Tampa has a slight edge on attendance. Also, I'm a firm believer that if a franchise has won a cup, it would be very very hard to move them in this day and age.

Finally, it wouldn't hurt if both teams could get a solid GM that could build a team. Remember in '96 when the Panthers went to the Finals? Miami Arena was packed all throughout the playoffs with 15,000 Floridians. A great way to build a fan base is by winning.

That's all for tonight. Check back tomorrow.

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