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A look at attendance vs. performance

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10-20-2004, 09:13 PM
  #1
Accord
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A look at attendance vs. performance

Quote:
A reader named Kevin from Anaheim recently e-mailed me on this topic, suggesting any study of attendance figures to determine if the new hockey markets can support an NHL franchise must take into account the quality of the ownership group.

Citing his hometown Mighty Ducks as an example, Kevin observed that during its brief history, the club's attendance rose or fell depending on the on-ice product, which was the direct result of how well the team was run.
More here: http://msn.foxsports.com/story/3096572


Once again: please give a link and do not post more than a paragraph or two from an online article, otherwise it's a copyright violation, thanks.


Last edited by Sotnos: 10-20-2004 at 10:02 PM.
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10-20-2004, 09:32 PM
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Interesting read.

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10-21-2004, 02:48 AM
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It's interesting, I guess. But, I think most people (and a bit of common sense) will tell you that with any sport, the more you win, the more fans you have and vice versa.

It's funny, the author mentions ebb and flow of performance for almost every other team, but not for Nashville. He just says the novelty has worn off. Obviously, the Predators never had a continuous success rate. The first 3 years, we improved each season. Year 4 took a drastic decline to finish barely above year 1 in points. Year 5 improved but it was marred by the first and last 20 games of the season (about 2 wins in each 20 games) and fans were frustrated by the fact that Poile wouldn't go out and sign some "big name star." However the point totals were only barely higher than year 2. Year 6 started decently. We kind of hung around and when people saw we got Sullivan and were seriously contending for a spot, they came back. When we made the playoffs for sure, tickets were snatched up in minutes. Game 6 was sold out before the arena closed for the night after game 4 (when we tied the series). Now, season ticket sales/renewals are at the highest they've been in team history. If the team comes back and plays the same way, there is no reason the attendance won't go back up. Pred fans here keep saying that this town supports winners, and the titans are proof of that, an 8-8 titans team wouldn't fill a stadium, but then they start winning again and people go back.

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10-21-2004, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spank303
It's interesting, I guess. But, I think most people (and a bit of common sense) will tell you that with any sport, the more you win, the more fans you have and vice versa.
It is the same everywhere. Attendance dropped like a rock in Vancouver when the team is lousy. Winner can charge very high prices and sell out. Losers have to either keep prices low or have poor attendance. Because it is a gate driven league and because the playoffs are a revenue bonanza, there are huge revenue disparities.

This is a good thing for the game. It provides a real incentive to improve the product. Winners make huge profits, losers struggle to break even. Who would want it any other way?

Tom

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10-21-2004, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spank303
It's interesting, I guess. But, I think most people (and a bit of common sense) will tell you that with any sport, the more you win, the more fans you have and vice versa.
It seemed kind of obvious to me too. I kept waiting for the author to make another point.

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10-21-2004, 11:00 AM
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First of all, let me give Spector a little credit for writing his first article that wasn't a complete piece of crap.

That said, the problem with the markets that he discussed is that for the franchises to be really healthy they're going to need to get better attendance in seasons where the team is poor. Hopefully evening out the competition with a cap will help this problem.

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10-21-2004, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
It is the same everywhere. Attendance dropped like a rock in Vancouver when the team is lousy. Winner can charge very high prices and sell out. Losers have to either keep prices low or have poor attendance. Because it is a gate driven league and because the playoffs are a revenue bonanza, there are huge revenue disparities.

This is a good thing for the game. It provides a real incentive to improve the product. Winners make huge profits, losers struggle to break even. Who would want it any other way?

Tom
Everyone but you and a few others.

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10-21-2004, 11:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stich
Everyone but you and a few others.
Why? What do you want instead?

1) Revenue sharing without a big TV contract? Explain why fans in Ottawa should send money to Peter Karamanos in Carolina.

2) Establish a salary cap so the losers make a good profit and winners make obscene profits.

Tom

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10-21-2004, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stich
Everyone but you and a few others.
But that's the way business is. If you don't manage a business well, it fails and so you move on. This encourages owners to find competent management, not someone who can just throw money around. If you manage a business well, it's successful and you make money. Same thing with sports teams. They are a business. Manage it well and you have success. Be an idiot, and you're stuck. Of course it's not so black and white, there are exceptions where management tries to run things well but are tied down with money restrictions and whatnot, but that's not the case in the majority.

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10-21-2004, 02:11 PM
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Vancouver sold over 16,000 tickets when they were going through those ****** years, just that only about 11-13,000 would show up. The Vancouver situation has been discussed many times, and the door continuously gets shut by the Canucks management who proved that ticket sales were up around the 16,000 mark during those years.

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10-21-2004, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SedinFan
Vancouver sold over 16,000 tickets when they were going through those ****** years, just that only about 11-13,000 would show up. The Vancouver situation has been discussed many times, and the door continuously gets shut by the Canucks management who proved that ticket sales were up around the 16,000 mark during those years.
Not according to this site.

NHL Attendance

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10-21-2004, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SedinFan
Vancouver sold over 16,000 tickets when they were going through those ****** years, just that only about 11-13,000 would show up. The Vancouver situation has been discussed many times, and the door continuously gets shut by the Canucks management who proved that ticket sales were up around the 16,000 mark during those years.
Garbage. The last year Northwest Sports published accounts because the stock was publically trade was Messier's second year. The Canucks averaged less than 13,000 paid attendance and they were down to 8,000 seaason tickets when Burke was rehired.

Plus, throughout the lean years, every hockey broadcast had a "hot ticket Discount". If you called a toll free number between periods, you could buy a ticket for half price. Today the team has 17,000 season tiocket holders, there are no discounts, and the Canucks run their own ticket scalping operation.

Revenues tank when the team sucks, zoom when the team is good. That's true everywhere with the exception of Toronto and New York.

Tom

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10-21-2004, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
Revenues tank when the team sucks, zoom when the team is good. That's true everywhere with the exception of Toronto and New York.

Tom
What about Montreal? Looking at the NHL attendance figures triggrman provided, Montreal's numbers are very impressive...

IMO, it looks like Montreal could field a young, inexpensive (yet promising) team and still get 17,000+ people to games...

Does anyone know how profitable Montreal is?

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10-21-2004, 05:28 PM
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One issue with attendance numbers is the amount of freebiees:
Lot of organisation give away 100's of tickets. A more relistic figure will be
paid attendance.
I read in some articles that some arena give away 1000 to 1500 tickets per grame.

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10-21-2004, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ott-sens
A more relistic figure will be
paid attendance.
Yes, but no one gives that figure out that I've seen.

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10-21-2004, 06:06 PM
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If you add up all the unsold seats in an NHL season, using the Team Marketing Report as your source, and average those empty seats out by 30 teams, you come out with about six buildings full of empty seats per team. If you lop 6 games off the schedule and play 76 games instead of 82, you might be able to end the playoffs the last week of May. It's a win win from where I sit.
-HckyFght!

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10-21-2004, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HckyFght
If you add up all the unsold seats in an NHL season, using the Team Marketing Report as your source, and average those empty seats out by 30 teams, you come out with about six buildings full of empty seats per team. If you lop 6 games off the schedule and play 76 games instead of 82, you might be able to end the playoffs the last week of May. It's a win win from where I sit.
-HckyFght!

Win/win? Just because there are fewer games, it does not mean that people will buy all the seats to the games you do have. You are more likely to have roughly the same number of fans attending each of the 76 games as you did the 82 games. You could always try dropping another 5 or 6 games the following season, since you will still have that many empty seats. The only thing you guarantee with this plan is less income for the owners.

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10-21-2004, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djhn579
Win/win? Just because there are fewer games, it does not mean that people will buy all the seats to the games you do have. You are more likely to have roughly the same number of fans attending each of the 76 games as you did the 82 games. You could always try dropping another 5 or 6 games the following season, since you will still have that many empty seats. The only thing you guarantee with this plan is less income for the owners.
Brian Burke disagrees with you. He wants to see the schedule reduced to 70 games. His rationale? It's a lot easier to sell 35 games than 41, particularly on the West Coast. The Canucks get very long road trips and long home stands. It is tough to sell six games in 13 nights unless the team is very good. Season ticket packages are cheaper and easier to sell too.

Tom

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10-21-2004, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Accord
Once again: please give a link and do not post more than a paragraph or two from an online article, otherwise it's a copyright violation, thanks.
Sorry about that...

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10-21-2004, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djhn579
Win/win? Just because there are fewer games, it does not mean that people will buy all the seats to the games you do have. You are more likely to have roughly the same number of fans attending each of the 76 games as you did the 82 games. You could always try dropping another 5 or 6 games the following season, since you will still have that many empty seats. The only thing you guarantee with this plan is less income for the owners.

Not only that but loping 6 games of a team they sells out the entire season can't help. Its not like the fans that would have gone to the lopped off games can get added to the other 76 games attendances because they are sold out. You'd get a small increase in attendance per game but a substantial drop in total attendance.

A 70 game schedule would result in about 15% less revenue from a lot of areas. Would the players accept a 15 pay cut?

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10-21-2004, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
Brian Burke disagrees with you. He wants to see the schedule reduced to 70 games. His rationale? It's a lot easier to sell 35 games than 41, particularly on the West Coast. The Canucks get very long road trips and long home stands. It is tough to sell six games in 13 nights unless the team is very good. Season ticket packages are cheaper and easier to sell too.

Tom
And my rationale is that you have a certain number of fans that will go to every game, and the remaining fans go to games occasionally.

The fans that go to every game, let's call them season ticket holders, are not going to increase too much just because there are fewer games. The number of season ticket holders generally increase when teams are winning, and decrease when teams are losing.

The fans that go to games occassionally are going to do the same. If the team is winning, they will go to games more often. If the team is losing, they will go to the games less often.

Reducing the number of games will increase the number of people at the games a little, but will not result in more sell outs and will probably result in less ticket revenue for the team.

Look at it this way. If the team is doing well and is selling out most of their games, and owner can sell 738000 tickets (assuming an 18000 seat arena, 41 games), then there is the associated concession sales. If the same situation happens with only 38 home games, the most the owner can sell is 684000. That would be a significant loss of income ($1890000 at an average ticket price of $35 + concessions), considering opening the arena for 3 more dates will not cost nearly that much.

On the other hand, if a team is doing poorly, there is little chance the owner would sell out many games no matter how long the season runs.

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10-22-2004, 02:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I in the Eye
What about Montreal? Looking at the NHL attendance figures triggrman provided, Montreal's numbers are very impressive...

IMO, it looks like Montreal could field a young, inexpensive (yet promising) team and still get 17,000+ people to games...

Does anyone know how profitable Montreal is?
Montreal's the exception rather than the rule. I think it's Montreal, Toronto and the Rangers will always make money no matter what simply because of their fanbase. It's large enough and committed enough that even if the team is doing lousy, the fans will still show up. Sorta like Red Sox fans.

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10-22-2004, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ehc73
Montreal's the exception rather than the rule. I think it's Montreal, Toronto and the Rangers will always make money no matter what simply because of their fanbase. It's large enough and committed enough that even if the team is doing lousy, the fans will still show up. Sorta like Red Sox fans.
I agree... Some teams will always do well (or at least pretty good)...

I think that there is a bit of a trend... For teams that have a 'long history' (i.e. 20+ years in the league), I think that as long as the fanbase sees promise and small, steady improvement (say over 3 or 4 years) then the bandwagon fans will quickly come back (say 3 to 4 thousand extra tickets per game)... But because these 'history teams' have a die hard fanbase - who grew up with the team and followed them all of their lives, the team still does pretty good during both lousy and growing years...

IMO, there is no excuse for these 'history teams' not to be earning profits every year... All their fans really need to see for them to come back in full force is promise for a brighter future, and small steady improvements forward... These 'history teams' can do this with a younger, reasonably-priced team... The more money that these 'history teams' save up during the 'growing' years, the more that they can spend down the road... as their teams get older and more expensive...

For example, IMHO, Edmonton wasted money on acquiring Nedved... Sure, it seems like a pretty good short-term move, but they could have saved that money and used it towards keeping their young core together at a later date... $400,000 here, $200,000 there adds up...

Edmonton doesn't have the same opportunities as a NYR or a Toronto, but they do have better opportunities over a newer American teams... Edm can afford to build their team slowly, and inexpensively, the right way... IMO, because of their awesome fanbase, EDM can earn a profit ever year (and save and build up that profit over the years to use at a later date) - IF they follow the Vancouver strategy and not try and act like they are a 'big spender' team...

Same as Montreal... IMHO, for them to acquire Kovalev was a no-brainer... Save and invest your money, you're going to need it to keep your quality younger 'core' together one day

All IMO...

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10-23-2004, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I in the Eye
For example, IMHO, Edmonton wasted money on acquiring Nedved... Sure, it seems like a pretty good short-term move, but they could have saved that money and used it towards keeping their young core together at a later date... $400,000 here, $200,000 there adds up...
Only because they missed the playoffs. Nedved was fantastic in Edmonton, and they finished two points out of the final spot. That move very nearly paid off in *millions* of dollars.

Sitting back and not even trying is a loser's game.

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10-23-2004, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I in the Eye
For example, IMHO, Edmonton wasted money on acquiring Nedved... Sure, it seems like a pretty good short-term move, but they could have saved that money and used it towards keeping their young core together at a later date... $400,000 here, $200,000 there adds up...
Actually, the Rangers paid Nedved's salary during his short stay w/ Edmonton...so he was basically a free rental for the Oilers.

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