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The "Future AHL?" thread, 2012-13 season edition

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Old
01-03-2013, 08:55 PM
  #1
HansH
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The "Future AHL?" thread, 2012-13 season edition

A new calendar year, a chance to take a look at who the top thirty best-attended North American minor pro teams are, and what a league with those 30 teams would look like. Lots of change from last year, but there's some distortions becuase of the teams who are playing home games in their NHL parents' arenas during the lockout.

Enjoy and comment as you will.

NATIONAL CONFERENCE - 15 teams
Atlantic Division (5)
#1 Hershey (AHL) - 9,351.4
#5 Providence (AHL) - 6,991.0
#16 Bridgeport (AHL) - 5,779.3
#18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL) - 5,373.5
#26 Manchester (AHL) - 4,965.1

Northern Division (5)
#4 Toronto (AHL) - 7,079.8
#7 Rochester (AHL) - 6,889.0
#11 Hamilton (AHL) - 6,546.5
#13 St. John's (AHL) - 6,287.0
#22 Syracuse (AHL) - 5,236.8

Great Lakes Division (5)
#2 Fort Wayne (ECHL) - 7,444.2
#3 Lake Erie (AHL) - 7,173.8
#6 Chicago (AHL) - 6,898.9
#10 Grand Rapids (AHL) - 6,680.8
#15 Toledo (ECHL) - 5,823.3

AMERICAN CONFERENCE (15)
Southeastern Division (5)
#12 Orlando (ECHL) - 6,528.5
#17 Charlotte (AHL) - 5,514.4
#21 Norfolk (AHL) - 5,265.2
#23 Gwinnett (ECHL) - 5,140.0
#29 Florida (ECHL) - 4,834.9

Central Division (5)
#9 Houston (AHL) - 6,796.0
#14 San Antonio (AHL) - 6,173.6
#19 Missouri (CHL) - 5,357.0
#24 Evansville (ECHL) - 5,073.0
#28 Texas (AHL) - 4,837.9

Western Division (5)
#8 Ontario (ECHL) - 6,870.1
#20 Colorado (ECHL) - 5,289.0
#25 Stockton (ECHL) - 5,048.8
#27 Alaska (ECHL) - 4,839.2
#30 San Francisco (ECHL) - 4,750.6


Last edited by HansH: 01-03-2013 at 09:01 PM.
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Old
01-06-2013, 04:28 PM
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So, trying to kick-start some conversation -- anyone have any predictions of how and whether this lineup will change with the NHL lockout ending? Teams you think will drop out before the end of the season, and which teams on the outside you think might sneak in?

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01-07-2013, 12:25 AM
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So, trying to kick-start some conversation -- anyone have any predictions of how and whether this lineup will change with the NHL lockout ending? Teams you think will drop out before the end of the season, and which teams on the outside you think might sneak in?
Milwaukee will be on the list in about 2 months. The Packers are decreasing their attendance with 2 Saturday night playoff games. They should make 5000 a game.

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01-08-2013, 08:45 PM
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There's a slim chance the following WHL numbers will become relevant soon. There's a greater chance Portland's numbers are more relevant. As of this morning (Jan 8):

Portland 6,689

Spokane 6,173

Everett 4,798 (in a down year)

Tri-City 4,322

Seattle 3,852

Also, for sake of reference to old ECHL fans:

Victoria 5,041

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01-11-2013, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by PCSPounder View Post
There's a slim chance the following WHL numbers will become relevant soon. There's a greater chance Portland's numbers are more relevant. As of this morning (Jan 8):

Portland 6,689
Spokane 6,173
Everett 4,798 (in a down year)
Tri-City 4,322
Seattle 3,852

Also, for sake of reference to old ECHL fans:

Victoria 5,041
Interesting phrasing here, Pounder

Here's a question I have - might the owners of the new NBA team in the downtown Seattle arena (assuming everything goes through as many expect) also think about putting an AHL team into that downtown arena like the Spurs and Cavaliers did? Besides bringing people in on more dates, Seattle isn't too far from Abbotsford, and could be a bus rival, therefore might not NEED the two-three other close teams that I thought would be necessary for a Western AHL division... what are your thoughts as someone from closer to the region than I am?

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01-12-2013, 10:55 PM
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If the option is the AHL going against two WHL teams, there's a real problem. People here will sniff out the difference, and we have our stories about WHL players going straight to the big show.

I'll throw you a curve, however. If the NHL does reach Seattle, then how about AHL in Everett? As the Mariners already take advantage of having AAA in Tacoma and short A in Everett, the precedence is already set. Besides, if the NHL is in Seattle, it really does disrupt the WHL US teams. Seattle games are still big in Portland, so removing that makes the Winterhawks even less stable than their current state. The effect of NHL on Everett and Kent is debatable, but I think it's problematic for them. I do know the Seattle media ask that question, BTW.

Maybe we see AHL in Everett and Spokane? Maybe Portland as well?

Mind you, if Seattle does get NHL, then a LOT of pressure is placed on Paul Allen to let Portland match that. I think most (sans the few thousand die-hard Winterhawks fans) will see the inability to match as a failure and discard the Hawks. Allen has only considered NHL in conjunction with subsidies his people have asked of the city... but he has to know how viable the Winterhawks are if the NHL drops in up where it smells like fish. The problem: he believes there's only so much corporate money to go around up here. The luxury suite contracts are all tied up with the Blazers and involve 365-day access to those suites, and that obviously can't be changed easily. Mostly, I don't think Allen wants to try... I wouldn't be surprised if he secretly supports the Mariners in trying to kill the arena project in Seattle, frankly. Allen's Seahawks operate the exhibition center attached to CenturyLink Field and probably doesn't want competition from a new arena.

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02-05-2013, 04:13 PM
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I haven't bothered to try to do an alignment yet, but since my last update, ECHL Alaska and ECHL San Francisco have slid out of the top 30, to be replaced at the current moment by AHL Peoria and CHL Wichita. Frankly, just glancing at it, I think trying to come up with an alignment for the current top 30 would be a little nightmarish

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02-09-2013, 01:20 PM
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I've now had a couple people mention to me that Portland Winterhawks owner Bill Gallacher has been interviewed in media here (and apparently a small outlet at that, because it hasn't hit TV or The Oregonian here) and discussed having AHL along with the Hawks (and even NHL, for which that story hit this week). Thing is, no bigs in town believe he'll get NHL past Paul Allen. However, AHL may well be on the table here. If the report is accurate that sanctions are not being reduced, then Gallacher could very well pull the $10 million he's offered for Veterans Memorial Coliseum renovations off the table.

There's also the matter of Allen's health issues and increasing calls for him to sell the TrailBlazers and the Rose Garden... so there's a LOT of moving parts in Portland.

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03-03-2013, 11:40 PM
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Milwaukee will be on the list in about 2 months. The Packers are decreasing their attendance with 2 Saturday night playoff games. They should make 5000 a game.
It is about 2 months later. Milwaukee is averaging 5368 for 28 home games. They are currently in 16th place in the AHL. How about an update Hans?

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03-04-2013, 12:53 PM
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It is about 2 months later. Milwaukee is averaging 5368 for 28 home games. They are currently in 16th place in the AHL. How about an update Hans?
I'll try to get something together this week - I'm behind on getting the minor league attendance data into my database.

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03-14-2013, 02:06 AM
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Just don't feel like breaking it up into divisions - here's the raw numbers after the games of 3/13/13:

1 AHL Hershey 9,919.3
2 AHL Chicago 7,985.2
3 AHL Providence 7,845.6
4 ECHL Fort Wayne 7,486.6
5 ECHL Ontario 7,389.3
6 AHL Grand Rapids 7,371.6
7 AHL Lake Erie 7,331.5
8 AHL Houston 6,987.8
9 AHL San Antonio 6,776.5
10 ECHL Orlando 6,601.4
11 AHL Toronto 6,550.4
12 AHL Charlotte 6,449.2
13 AHL Rochester 6,355.3
14 AHL St. John's 6,287.0
15 ECHL Toledo 6,205.8
16 AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 5,714.5
17 CHL Missouri 5,522.6
18 AHL Hamilton 5,514.7
19 AHL Norfolk 5,514.1
20 AHL Manchester 5,406.9
21 AHL Syracuse 5,401.0
22 CHL Wichita 5,396.6
23 ECHL Gwinnett 5,366.8
24 ECHL Stockton 5,351.8
25 AHL Milwaukee 5,316.6
26 ECHL Colorado 5,289.0
27 AHL Bridgeport 5,231.7
28 ECHL Evansville 5,168.9
29 AHL Peoria 5,108.4
30 ECHL Florida 5,017.4

Just outside the top 30 are: AHL Texas (reasonable chance of getting into the top 30), ECHL Alaska and CHL Rapid City (much less chance of leapfrogging into the top 30).

Yes, adsfan, Milwaukee is #25 overall.

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03-14-2013, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by HansH View Post
Just don't feel like breaking it up into divisions - here's the raw numbers after the games of 3/13/13:

1 AHL Hershey 9,919.3
2 AHL Chicago 7,985.2
3 AHL Providence 7,845.6
4 ECHL Fort Wayne 7,486.6
5 ECHL Ontario 7,389.3
6 AHL Grand Rapids 7,371.6
7 AHL Lake Erie 7,331.5
8 AHL Houston 6,987.8
9 AHL San Antonio 6,776.5
10 ECHL Orlando 6,601.4
11 AHL Toronto 6,550.4
12 AHL Charlotte 6,449.2
13 AHL Rochester 6,355.3
14 AHL St. John's 6,287.0
15 ECHL Toledo 6,205.8
16 AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 5,714.5
17 CHL Missouri 5,522.6
18 AHL Hamilton 5,514.7
19 AHL Norfolk 5,514.1
20 AHL Manchester 5,406.9
21 AHL Syracuse 5,401.0
22 CHL Wichita 5,396.6
23 ECHL Gwinnett 5,366.8
24 ECHL Stockton 5,351.8
25 AHL Milwaukee 5,316.6
26 ECHL Colorado 5,289.0
27 AHL Bridgeport 5,231.7
28 ECHL Evansville 5,168.9
29 AHL Peoria 5,108.4
30 ECHL Florida 5,017.4

Just outside the top 30 are: AHL Texas (reasonable chance of getting into the top 30), ECHL Alaska and CHL Rapid City (much less chance of leapfrogging into the top 30).

Yes, adsfan, Milwaukee is #25 overall.
Very good post and extremely interesting for the attendance nerds like myself

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03-14-2013, 07:31 PM
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Thanks, Hans!

I am surprised by how well Peoria is drawing, considering that the have a losing record and have a -35 goal differential.

Any reason why Missouri and Wichita are drawing so well in the CHL? I don't follow that league.

The last time that I checked Chicago, they were at 7700, so they are increasing!

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03-15-2013, 06:34 PM
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Any reason why Missouri and Wichita are drawing so well in the CHL? I don't follow that league.
Wichita has always been a decent draw in that league -- back when it first re-started in the 90s, the "holy trinity" of the CHL was OKC, Tulsa, and Wichita -- the three cities whose rivalry would always draw. It doesn't hurt that they're in 2nd place in the league right now and in theory could win the regular-season title. Even with that, these season's numbers are actually off by nearly 14% from last season's.

Missouri is relatively new, in a smaller new arena specifically built for hockey in the KC suburbs, so they've still got a little of that "new team smell", would be my take, even though they're a basically mid-table team on the ice this year.

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03-16-2013, 01:01 AM
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Good hockey

Just started watching the Ahl live. Picture is not great but some good hockey

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03-30-2013, 10:10 PM
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Interestnig that Peoria is losing its AHL franchise and Houston might, too.

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04-01-2013, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by HansH View Post
A new calendar year, a chance to take a look at who the top thirty best-attended North American minor pro teams are, and what a league with those 30 teams would look like. Lots of change from last year, but there's some distortions becuase of the teams who are playing home games in their NHL parents' arenas during the lockout.

Enjoy and comment as you will.

NATIONAL CONFERENCE - 15 teams
Atlantic Division (5)
#1 Hershey (AHL) - 9,351.4
#5 Providence (AHL) - 6,991.0
#16 Bridgeport (AHL) - 5,779.3
#18 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL) - 5,373.5
#26 Manchester (AHL) - 4,965.1

Northern Division (5)
#4 Toronto (AHL) - 7,079.8
#7 Rochester (AHL) - 6,889.0
#11 Hamilton (AHL) - 6,546.5
#13 St. John's (AHL) - 6,287.0
#22 Syracuse (AHL) - 5,236.8

Great Lakes Division (5)
#2 Fort Wayne (ECHL) - 7,444.2
#3 Lake Erie (AHL) - 7,173.8
#6 Chicago (AHL) - 6,898.9
#10 Grand Rapids (AHL) - 6,680.8
#15 Toledo (ECHL) - 5,823.3

AMERICAN CONFERENCE (15)
Southeastern Division (5)
#12 Orlando (ECHL) - 6,528.5
#17 Charlotte (AHL) - 5,514.4
#21 Norfolk (AHL) - 5,265.2
#23 Gwinnett (ECHL) - 5,140.0
#29 Florida (ECHL) - 4,834.9

Central Division (5)
#9 Houston (AHL) - 6,796.0
#14 San Antonio (AHL) - 6,173.6
#19 Missouri (CHL) - 5,357.0
#24 Evansville (ECHL) - 5,073.0
#28 Texas (AHL) - 4,837.9

Western Division (5)
#8 Ontario (ECHL) - 6,870.1
#20 Colorado (ECHL) - 5,289.0
#25 Stockton (ECHL) - 5,048.8
#27 Alaska (ECHL) - 4,839.2
#30 San Francisco (ECHL) - 4,750.6
Keep in mind when you bump those ECHL teams up to the A, attendance will drop with the increase in ticket prices. Just look at OKC. Barons attendance is half or less what the Blazers' was.

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04-02-2013, 01:02 AM
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Keep in mind when you bump those ECHL teams up to the A, attendance will drop with the increase in ticket prices. Just look at OKC. Barons attendance is half or less what the Blazers' was.
While you are correct to point out OKC what about Charlotte? Are they not averaging more fans as an AHL franchise than as they did in the ECHL?

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04-02-2013, 01:18 AM
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Keep in mind when you bump those ECHL teams up to the A, attendance will drop with the increase in ticket prices. Just look at OKC. Barons attendance is half or less what the Blazers' was.
As has already been pointed out to you, there is no guarantee either way about attendance after moving from the low minors to the high minors -- we have examples of it not really mattering (Peoria when they returned to the high minors a while ago, Norfolk/Hampton Roads when they were forced by the city to jump from the ECHL to the AHL, Rockford's move from the UHL to the AHL), examples of it not working well at all (Quad Cities, Oklahoma City), and examples of it working pretty well indeed (Charlotte for one, though I'm finding it hard to think of another).

In addition, ticket prices are set to maximize revenue, not directly just to cover costs. You cannot say that a move to the AHL would automatically increase ticket prices. It is LIKELY to, yes - because the owners would believe that they would get people to pay more money for the perceived higher product... but if there were more money to be gotten in revenue by increasing ticket prices, it would already have been done, so you MIGHT see owners trying the tack of keeping the prices low and trying to drive more attendance that way, thus maximizing their revenue.

Basically... you've got a metric ton of assumptions in your post. Some of them may indeed work out the way that you think, but the automatic "A, therefore B" is way too strong an assertion to make, is what the history of this business should have already taught all of us.

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04-02-2013, 10:50 AM
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I have heard that in the case of Oklahoma City, it was a case of the Blazers giving out tickets like candy at Halloween. When they joined the AHL, that practice stopped.

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04-02-2013, 09:32 PM
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Norfolk has their highest average attendance since joining the AHL....amazing what a Cup does for a team, even with the affiliation swap.

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04-02-2013, 10:06 PM
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Which current ECHL market would be the most attractive and likely to get an AHL team should one become available?

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04-03-2013, 12:04 AM
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Which current ECHL market would be the most attractive and likely to get an AHL team should one become available?
Fort Wayne and Ontario finished the regular season as the top 2 attendance leaders

Fort Wayne- 7,583
Ontario- 7,575

I would say those are the most likely candidates but I don't see either of them moving to the AHL.... well maybe Fort Wayne but not for a long time.

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04-03-2013, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by mkhockeygoalie View Post
Fort Wayne and Ontario finished the regular season as the top 2 attendance leaders

Fort Wayne- 7,583
Ontario- 7,575

I would say those are the most likely candidates but I don't see either of them moving to the AHL.... well maybe Fort Wayne but not for a long time.
Where would you put Gwinnett's chances? The Metro-Atlanta is quite large and I think it could easily handle an AHL franchise and the Gladiators are always in the top 10 and in most seasons top 5 in attendance.

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04-03-2013, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkhockeygoalie View Post
Fort Wayne and Ontario finished the regular season as the top 2 attendance leaders

Fort Wayne- 7,583
Ontario- 7,575

I would say those are the most likely candidates but I don't see either of them moving to the AHL.... well maybe Fort Wayne but not for a long time.
Question by somebody who doesn't follow minor hockey all that close.

I remember a few years back, people said Fort Wayne would never move out of the CHL due to some issue with the PHPA. Anybody know what changed?

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