The announced attendance numbers were way higher than the actual based on the 2 games I saw there and what others who saw more games than I did. The Express's actual paid attendance was probably in the 1000-1500 range. That's roughly 2500 less than what a break even operation would require.
Being 5 or 6 exits down Hwy 90 from the Wolves wasn't ideal. The cost of advertising in the Chicago market other than the local suburban papers was beyond the means of a $2.5 million budget-assuming the Express had an average Eastern Conference budget. The very kid friendly behind the goal area and the train which ran around the concourse were very creative ideas. I understand that $1 beer nights weren't run as smoothly as they could have been, but the overall operation seemed to be professional. $9 cheap seats certainly price the Express in a very affordable range.
The Sears Centre is a great facility. Still, the parking prices couldn't have helped nor the concession prices. From what I understand, the owner, Craig Drecktrah is a great guy who had a lot of passion and wasn't trying to operate on the cheap.
I don't think that an ECHL has a snowballs chance in hell in any market which already has an NHL and AHL team. The chances of any substantial media coverage are slim to none. It went to none when the Express didn't manage to affiliate with the Hawks.
Nothing ventured nothing gained. It's too bad the Express folded, but if the management deemed the task of becoming financially viable after having over a year to prepare for its first season, then it probably was a wise decision. Drecktrah already owned the Chicago Hounds of the UHL (2006-07) and it folded after its inaugural season as well. He saw the writing on the wall for the Express and probably saved himself million$ by pulling the plug sooner rather than later.
Last edited by Cyclones Rock: 04-08-2012 at 04:13 AM.
I went to 1 of their games and could tell this wouldn't last. From what I've read, The Sears Centre has had a few sports teams come and go.
More then a few. The Slaughter are pretty much the only team that's lasted more then a season or two there. Two hockey teams, a lacrosse team, and a soccer team have all failed there, and the lingerie football team moved out pretty much as soon as they conveniently could.