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The Phoenix Coyotes Still Facing Attendance Issues

from the QMI AGENCY at the Toronto Sun,

Simply put, not much has changed under IceArizona, which purchased the struggling ‘Yotes earlier this year.

“I’m probably a little disappointed in where we are with attendance,” Coyotes CEO Anthony LeBlanc told the Arizona Republic. “There are those marquee games like the Chicago game, which was obviously a very big night for us from the perspective that we broke the regular-season franchise record for gate revenue for a single game. But (two weeks ago), we had the Islanders and Carolina in town and there was roughly 10,000, 11,000 people in the building, and that’s simply not good enough.”

Maybe more concerning is the fact Phoenix is averaging about 1,000 fewer fans than it did last season after the league relinquished complete control of the team.

“Our next home game on Dec. 27 against San Jose, that’s going to be a sellout,” LeBlanc said. “That’s encouraging, but overall it would be unfair for me to say that I’m thrilled with where things are. There are some positives, but there’s a lot more work. We need stronger support.”

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, d, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

Vladimir16's avatar

The Phoenix Coyotes Still Facing Attendance Issues

And the sun is still bright.
The NHL: Still clueless.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 12/26/13 at 11:17 AM ET

Avatar

Maybe more concerning is the fact Phoenix is averaging about 1,000 fewer fans than it did last season after the league relinquished complete control of the team

The Toronto media couldn’t wait to mislead once again on the issue of the Phoenix Coyotes. Through the month of November the Coyotes are are averaging 14,300 per game as compared to 12,700 for the first two months last year. The Coyotes will have multiple sellouts in the next week as well. Let’s just wait and see how the attendance plays out for the entire season, before everyone jumps to the conclusion things are not getting better.

Posted by timbits on 12/26/13 at 11:42 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

The first two months of the lockout shortened season? That’s likely why the press extended the average. Last year, PHX averaged 13,924 per game. Currently, they’re at 12,662.

This year, they’re filling 73.9% of the seats. Last year they filled 81.3% That’s the index that’s really troubling. Capacity is a much better indicator than raw seats because it has a more clear context.

But when the visitors are the reason your arenal fills up, it’s hard to not say the organization has problems.

Source: http://www.hockeyattendance.com/league/nhl/

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 12/26/13 at 12:55 PM ET

Alan's avatar

“Attendance issues” will continue to be a problem for many sunbelt teams until they actually make deep inroads into the community. People in the south did not really grow up with hockey, nor do they really have many facilities where they can learn or play the sport on their own.

This is what people forget when they look at the Thrashers. The Thrashers had no fans at the end because of crappy ownership and no community involvement. You can’t depend on people from other regions to do the work your PR and marketing departments should be doing.

The Thrashers were a from-the-ground-up disaster. Glendale won the battle to keep the Coyotes - and at a huge economic expense. Don’t let it be all in vain.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 12/26/13 at 02:26 PM ET

awould's avatar

The first two months of the lockout shortened season? That’s likely why the press extended the average.

My guess is the press extended the average because they’re lazy.

The first half of last season the Coyotes averaged 77% and the second half bumped to 86%. What that means, who knows? The team did better. The fans forgot the lockout after 20 games. Who knows.

But if you’re going to frown on somebody comparing apples to apples (first half of this season to first half of last season) because there are mitigating circumstances - the lockout shortened season - then you gotta admit that the Coyotes were dealt a really bad situation when their owner went BK just as the recession hit and then went years without solid ownership and constant rumors of the team’s relocation. The new owners have been their for roughly 4 months - anyone calling it a failure at this point is really just biased. Which isn’t news either.

I mean, why didn’t the Hamilton Blackhawks hoist the Cup this year? They went through some pretty lean years too in the early 2000s (attendance in the mid-60%), before their crap owner died and the team started winning. The Coyotes suffered much worse circumstances, in a non-traditional hockey market, and everyone acts like it’s an abysmal failure that the fans didn’t show up in droves. Post lockout, the Coyotes were over 85% attendance prior to the wheels coming off, and that was through some losing years. 2011-2012 they went to the Conference Finals and the next year their attendance was over 81% for the first time since all the trouble started - think maybe a winning team brings in fans? Unfortunately, they’re doing themselves no favors this season by sucking.

The worst thing the Coyotes did was build that beautiful arena on the west side of town. The bulk of the population and the most of the money is east. The recession stalled all the construction in that area and there is nothing but open fields instead of houses and apartments. Driving 50-100 miles roundtrip to a game isn’t very appealing.

Posted by awould on 12/26/13 at 02:41 PM ET

awould's avatar

“Attendance issues” will continue to be a problem for many sunbelt teams until they actually make deep inroads into the community.

Very true. Phoenix at least has transplants from the east and midwest that know something about hockey. Not sure if Atlanta has that or not.

Posted by awould on 12/26/13 at 02:42 PM ET

SYF's avatar

The worst thing the Coyotes did was build that beautiful arena on the west side of town. The bulk of the population and the most of the money is east. The recession stalled all the construction in that area and there is nothing but open fields instead of houses and apartments. Driving 50-100 miles roundtrip to a game isn’t very appealing.

Posted by awould on 12/26/13 at 02:41 PM ET

As a corollary, here in Vegas, the Wranglers play in a 7,800 seat arena and only twice has the attendance gone over 7,000 just this half season already.  Average attendance is about 3,300 and that’s not even breaking even.  Yes, it is better this year than last year, but with a new coach who’s never even coached a team at any level, it’s translating into a very average season.  There are long-term ramifications here because the team reached the Kelly Cup Finals the year before and there is an expectation that’s not being met.

There are endless rumors of a 20,000 seat arena being built in the heart of the Strip talked about as early as last year.  I haven’t seen anything being moved in that proposed area.

The NHL should just shut the fuch up about starting up another team in the desert…esp. here in Vegas where ADHD is pretty much the norm.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 12/26/13 at 02:50 PM ET

awould's avatar

My opinion, the NHL went all out to keep the team in Glendale because relocating it and vacating their lease on a taxpayer funded arena would have big ramifications of the owners of franchises in every sport.

Taxpayer funded arenas should require a guarantee from the league on the lease.

Posted by awould on 12/26/13 at 02:57 PM ET

Alan's avatar

Posted by awould on 12/26/13 at 02:42 PM ET

Atlanta has transplants from the northeast and midwest, myself being from Detroit. The organization, however, seemed to depend wholly on the transplants to buy up all the tickets, and eventually, fall in love with the team.

Hockey does not “sell itself”—especially in the sunbelt. While the Thrashers did have fans, they never really worked hard to sell the sport and compete in the marketplace. The Thrashers organization seemed to depend on transplants to bring friends and family, rather than actually market the sport. That is a recipe for disaster, not success.

Kids here in Atlanta grow up with Football and Baseball mostly (my dad adopted the Braves and Falcons as his teams of choice, as I was growing up). The idea of playing a game on an icy surface is foreign, as ice here doesn’t often get thick enough to spit on without melting a nice sized hole in it.

I hope the Gwinnett Gladiators (the local ECHL team, and coincidentally enough, Phoenix’s AA farm team) can forge more of those inroads, so that Atlanta may one day have a crack at a successful NHL team. I may not have chosen to live here, and may not like it here, but I do believe hockey can be a big sport here under the right ownership and with proper marketing.

Again… Glendale has the team, at least for the foreseeable future. Don’t let it all be in vain. Glendale is getting the chances Atlanta should have also received.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 12/26/13 at 05:31 PM ET

Avatar

If the ‘Yotes are good (as in, leading the division or in second good), they’ll be around 90% capacity.  If they are anything else they’ll be in the 70’s, and only there because of heavily discounted tickets.  For example, http://blog.tiqiq.com/2013/09/2013-14-nhl-average-ticket-prices-team/ lists the Coyotes as having the cheapest average ticket price in the whole NHL.  By ten bucks.  That means even at equivalent attendance numbers they’re actually only gating 20-70% of the revenue of most other NHL teams.

The NHL, in their wisdom, has created a system where it’s impossible for a team to be that good that consistently, which dooms the Coyotes to significant stretches of time where the team has lost, conservatively, 8 figures a year.  It is entirely possible that the Rogers deal will mitigate those losses and push them down into the high 7 figures, which is like saying you just got shot with a 9mm instead of a .45.  Plausibly better, but functionally still a bad place to be.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/27/13 at 12:17 AM ET

SYF's avatar

My opinion, the NHL went all out to keep the team in Glendale because relocating it and vacating their lease on a taxpayer funded arena would have big ramifications of the owners of franchises in every sport.

Posted by awould on 12/26/13 at 02:57 PM ET

Heh.  I suddenly have a vision of Gary.A$$ having his NHL franchise in Vegas and the new Pacific Division team is the former ECHL team, the Las Vegas Wranglers.  Fuch my life.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 12/27/13 at 11:34 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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