Wednesday, January 14, 2009

NHL Attendance up 1.5%; Other News As Well

I don't have anything personal planned for today, but plenty of stuff coming out of Sports Business Daily...

- NHL Attendance is up 1.5% this season thus far, averaging 17,306 fans per game. Notable gainers are the Washington Capitals (up 29.8% from this time last year) and the Boston Bruins (up 12.3%). Notable declines include the Buffalo Sabres (down 12.4%, still not struggling though) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (down 11.6% thus far). The Thrashers (-7.9%) and Senators (-4.3%) are also down this year by a worthy amount as well. The Article says the Western Conference update will come tomorrow, so I'll be looking for that.

My thoughts? Good and Bad. The chart provided with the article shows that 12 out of the 15 Eastern Conference teams are either down or breaking even on Attendance from last season. Also, as a whole, the Eastern Conference is down 0.5% from last season. Are these numbers so staggering to really start to worry? Not at all, especially considering the current economic conditions. In fact, I would consider it along the lines of dodging a major bullet. Buffalo being down a little shouldn't be a major shocker to anyone, as it is a middle-class smaller market, where the effects of the economy are most likely hitting home. But still, plenty of Sabres fans are getting out to HSBC Arena with their 99.2% Capacity rate thus far. On the flip side, the Capitals are taking advantage of a tough Washington sports scene at the moment, and are on the radar of many casual sports fans in the area, and they have earned it. Boston has earned it as well, as they are in a city of champions in the past five years, and some Bruins fans are coming out of the closet hoping the B's can join in on the fun.

- From the Monday (1/12) issue of The Daily, Liz Mullen reported that NHL Player Reps will vote later this month on the current CBA, and are expected to extend it another two seasons.

Not much else there than that, it will be a hotter topic as it gets closer, but for now lets hope no problems arise between now and then.

Finally, kind of a non-business post, but nonetheless important to me, as I love international competitions...

- E.J. Hradek reports in his blog today that the NHL and NHLPA are working toward setting up another World Cup of Hockey, hopefully around late August through September of 2011, with Feburary 2012 as a backup date. That date doesn't look good, though, due to the fact that the NHL season would have to be halted once again. Hradek also said "The parties would like to stage a World Cup every four years, making it a regular event on the long-term hockey calendar."

My take? To take from Chris Farley; GOOD! GREAT! GRAND! WONDERFUL! NO YELLING ON THE BUS! With the 2010 Olympics having a good shot at being the last involving NHL Players for a while, I'm all for this. Because, I mean from what I know, the Olympics will obviously never be moved to another date, and unless the IIHF steps in and begins talking to the NHL about the problem, shutting down the NHL every 4th year will not be happening again. The last World Cup was held in 2004, and was considered a good success for reviving the tradition. So I say lets make it happen.

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