Friday, February 27, 2009

Attendance Statistics Galore (NHL/NBA Update)

As promised a couple of times over the week, here is a look at more NHL v. NBA attendance and NHL month by month attendance. Lets start with the latter.

I decided to look at the month by month attendance this time through the capacity filled lens seeing that the amount of games in each month varies. With the average attendance, December has been the best month so far for the NHL, so lets see if that holds true for capacity (click to enlarge):

Although January suffered a drop in average attendance and total fans from December, capacity jumped as January enjoyed almost a 150,000 more fans than October in just eight more games, which is close to 19,000 spectators a night.

I also took the average of all the NHL Arenas capacities, which is why you see the NHL Average Capacity. The overall capacity game out just below 94% as you can see, but I used the NHL Average Capacity to figure that. When I took the average of all the capacity percentages from the ESPN NHL Attendance page, I got an average capacity percentage of 94.73%. What to make of the difference? Nothing really, as taking the averages of each teams capacity percentage is generally more accurate than averaging each teams arena capacity and using that figure.

Seeing as February is almost at a close, I will update this when we move into March.

As I updated the NHL v. NBA chart in capacity, I figured that looking at the capacities of teams that share venues from the competing leagues isn't exactly fair because NBA teams have more seats to fill as a basketball court is smaller than a hockey rink, duh. So, I took a look at the average attendances of the same teams which share venues, and not much changed:

The switch happened in New York City, where although the Rangers fill the garden in terms of capacity more than the Knicks, more people file through the garden turnstiles when it comes to Knick games. The Kings still outdraw the Clippers, but cannot touch the Lakers as per usual in the capacity sense.

So even though the NBA is outdrawing the NHL in some of the major cities across North America, the NHL is actually out averaging the NBA. Take a look:

One thing the NHL has going for them is that it seems that some of the franchises are much more stable in terms of average attendance than some in the NBA. The NBA edges the NHL by one team in terms of very good average attendance (over 18,000), but the NHL fires back by dominating the middle of the pack (15 through 18,000) 13 to 9.

Do all these numbers really mean anything? Somewhat, yeah. Hockey is generally agreed upon fans as a sport that is much more exciting in person than on TV. These numbers basically support that claim, and the NHL should use them somehow because they know probably a lot more than I do.

Might be all for tonight.


  1. Good post. A quick question though, did you exclude the Winter Classic? The 40k+ at Wrigley would have to skew the numbers somewhat.

  2. Good question, Ryan. No, I did not. I counted the Winter Classic as a sold-out game for the Blackhawks. I'm 90% sure this is how the NHL counted it as well, but I have no link to back me up. I will look into it though, as I am very sure this is how the "official" attendance was represented due to the special event.