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Old
10-28-2010, 02:30 PM
  #1
ChicagoWolves1
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Attendance in AHL

Just became season ticket holder for Chicago. Lots of fun and very good product on the ice. Closer to NHL than I thought it would be. I am shocked, however, at the small attendance at the games. I see that league attendance mirrors what I am experiencing in Chicago, if not lower. I cannot understand it. It appears to be marketed well, is fairly priced, and exciting. How there can be 3-5K per game give or take is very surprising and disappointing. It does not take away my enjoyment of the action, but I am not sure how teams can stay afloat. I know it is a very well established league but still. I would be curious to hear what you all have to say about it. Go Wolves!

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10-28-2010, 03:21 PM
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Cooperalls
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I think alot of the fan base in hockey markets such as Chicago, Winnipeg (Manitoba Moose), Toronto, etc have inferiority complexes that don't allow them to get into what they consider '2nd best'. As for me, I've been to a few Oilers and Canucks games over the last couple years (benefits of marrying a flight attendent), and I'd say the Moose do a better job of their actual game night entertainment. And they also have a nicer/newer arena. Still we only average 6500+.

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10-28-2010, 03:36 PM
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Majik1987
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Besides just being in a secondary position to the local NHL team, think about all the other entertainment options that the Wolves compete with in and around Chicago. I think three to five thousand on a week night is pretty good. Besides, the Wolves market themselves as family entertainment, and it tough to get a kid to a game that doesn't end until after 9:30pm on a school night.

Wait for the weekends when there are 12,000+ people crammed into the place. You'll wish there were fewer people there when the hallways get all clogged up!!

Sidenote - What section are you in? I have a half season over in 107.

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10-28-2010, 03:53 PM
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ChicagoWolves1
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AHL Attendance

I heard that attendance gets bigger on weekend games, although I saw Milw-Wolves last Sunday and around 5000 showed. It is not bad considering as you say. It is true that there are a lot of different things to do in town no doubt. I saw playoff attendance figures from the past few years and I was shocked there as well though. I thought there would be 12-15k easy, but the #'s actually were lower than the regular season. Wolves told me that part of it is the Hawks resurgence which is believable. Still, with such a big city you would think there would be enough fans to go around to both, especially with the cost of Hawks tickets. I have 10 game package in section 103.

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10-28-2010, 04:53 PM
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Majik1987
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Originally Posted by ChicagoWolves1 View Post
I heard that attendance gets bigger on weekend games, although I saw Milw-Wolves last Sunday and around 5000 showed.
Have to wait until after football season is over before the big crowds come. The Bears always affect early attendance on Sundays.

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Originally Posted by ChicagoWolves1 View Post
It is not bad considering as you say. It is true that there are a lot of different things to do in town no doubt. I saw playoff attendance figures from the past few years and I was shocked there as well though. I thought there would be 12-15k easy, but the #'s actually were lower than the regular season.
The playoffs are a different story. Attendance for the Wolves is driven by marketing. During the regular season, the Wolves marketing staff can market to groups like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc. in order to generate the big crowds. The schedule is known far enough in advance. For the playoffs, the schedule is set so late that they cannot do this marketing. Also, many ticket holders don't buy playoff tickets.

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Wolves told me that part of it is the Hawks resurgence which is believable. Still, with such a big city you would think there would be enough fans to go around to both, especially with the cost of Hawks tickets. I have 10 game package in section 103.
Maybe that explains the early season decline so far, but it doesn't explain the playoffs. Every AHL team experiences a similar decline in the playoffs.

BTW - Infrequent poster HansH runs an attendance site where can easily review attendance for several leagues, including the AHL.

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10-28-2010, 06:12 PM
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Providence always get decent attendance usually 8,000ish on fridays and 6000ish on sundays. The main reason in my opinion for the playoff dropoffs is the game are held to a tight schedule which forces them to be played on weekdays in spring which obviously isnt a good recipe for high attendance.

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10-28-2010, 10:58 PM
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Thanks majik. I did not know that Bears affects attendance-interesting. How many do Wolves get on a typical weekend game after football season? I cannot understand how season ticket holders do not want to see playoff action--that concept is foreign to me. Why though is the AHL different than say MLB for example, when crowds get huge for the playoffs. Same unpredictable scheduling exists for all playoffs in all sports.

BTW--just came back from disappointing loss to Stars 4-3. Should have won that game. Gave up a couple of turnovers that led to goals in own zone. The offense is there, but the D needs some work. I hope they turn it around, although it is early on. I like Pasquale, but is Mannino coming back?

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10-28-2010, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ChicagoWolves1 View Post
Thanks majik. I did not know that Bears affects attendance-interesting. How many do Wolves get on a typical weekend game after football season? I cannot understand how season ticket holders do not want to see playoff action--that concept is foreign to me. Why though is the AHL different than say MLB for example, when crowds get huge for the playoffs. Same unpredictable scheduling exists for all playoffs in all sports.

BTW--just came back from disappointing loss to Stars 4-3. Should have won that game. Gave up a couple of turnovers that led to goals in own zone. The offense is there, but the D needs some work. I hope they turn it around, although it is early on. I like Pasquale, but is Mannino coming back?
Mannino was there tonight,just not suited up.

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10-28-2010, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Cooperalls View Post
I think alot of the fan base in hockey markets such as Chicago, Winnipeg (Manitoba Moose), Toronto, etc have inferiority complexes that don't allow them to get into what they consider '2nd best'. As for me, I've been to a few Oilers and Canucks games over the last couple years (benefits of marrying a flight attendent), and I'd say the Moose do a better job of their actual game night entertainment. And they also have a nicer/newer arena. Still we only average 6500+.
Umm, seeing as the Moose averaged 8000/game last year (2nd in AHL) I don't think they are having attendance issues, particularly as the arena only opens the lower bowl for their games. (Capacity is 15,500).

The Wolves were #3. Toronto (Marlies), though were below AHL avg. at 4k/game. It's Leafs or bust in TO.

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10-29-2010, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by ChicagoWolves1 View Post
I heard that attendance gets bigger on weekend games, although I saw Milw-Wolves last Sunday and around 5000 showed. It is not bad considering as you say. It is true that there are a lot of different things to do in town no doubt. I saw playoff attendance figures from the past few years and I was shocked there as well though. I thought there would be 12-15k easy, but the #'s actually were lower than the regular season. Wolves told me that part of it is the Hawks resurgence which is believable. Still, with such a big city you would think there would be enough fans to go around to both, especially with the cost of Hawks tickets. I have 10 game package in section 103.
I can't speak for chicago as i have no grasp on how fans support or don't support hockey there.Toronto i do its the mind set were a great hockey market but we will not support anything but nhl.The marlies have patheic support the ohl teams just awful attendance as well.

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10-29-2010, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by CdnBison View Post
Umm, seeing as the Moose averaged 8000/game last year (2nd in AHL) I don't think they are having attendance issues, particularly as the arena only opens the lower bowl for their games. (Capacity is 15,500).

The Wolves were #3. Toronto (Marlies), though were below AHL avg. at 4k/game. It's Leafs or bust in TO.
Oh, I'm not saying Chipman is dissapointed in attendance. I agree that's an enviable number to have in the AHL. But it's the highest level of hockey, in a so-called hockey mad market. If the Moose became an NHL team over night, you would instantly put more a$$e$ in the seats, even if the overall entertainment experience wasn't any better. Also, take a look at the Moose schedule. I don't know how we do it, (must be the travel issues being as west as we are compared to most being eastern US), but most of our home games are played on the weekend. I doubt we'd average 8000 if we swapped home schedules with most other teams.

I've been to a Marlies game in the Ricoh Barn (or whatever it's called), it's a pretty horrible old building. It's like an old agricultural exhibition area, but still no excuse in my mind for somewhere like Toronto not to be able to sell more tickets. ESPECIALLY for the Leafs farm team. That should be a marketers dream to be able to establish a cult following of the baby buds.

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10-29-2010, 09:28 AM
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I agree that certain people (many probably) do not want to be involved with a "2nd best". However, I think the quality of play is very good, and that people are missing the boat. I would rather have really good seats for the Wolves and be treated really well as a STH, than be "treated" to a $100 standing room only seat to see the Black Hawks.

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10-29-2010, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Cooperalls View Post
I've been to a Marlies game in the Ricoh Barn (or whatever it's called), it's a pretty horrible old building. It's like an old agricultural exhibition area, but still no excuse in my mind for somewhere like Toronto not to be able to sell more tickets. ESPECIALLY for the Leafs farm team. That should be a marketers dream to be able to establish a cult following of the baby buds.
It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the reason for the Marlies low attendance was because they aren't the real Leafs. Same could be said for Abbotsford as well, however, with the Heat being Calgary's farm club in Canucks territory, their low attendance is easier to understand.

We have to keep in mind though that for these markets, the AHL is a whole new league for most people. They're not as familiar with it, and, most people could already be attached to Major Junior teams in their area. How many OHL teams are in the Golden Horseshoe?

I know out here, if the Canucks are eliminated from the playoffs and the Giants are still going, they automatically see a surge in attendance. I really don't think the same could be said for the Heat, even if it was another team's affiliate, except the Canucks.

In the US, however, where we've seen Chicago and Philadelphia with AHL teams, there are some important things to remember, that I'm sure you already know. 1, the Wolves took full advantage of Bill Wirtz being an idiot, marketed the Hell out of themselves and put themselves on Chicago TV, while the Blackhawks blacked out all home games. 2, The Phantoms were the Flyers' farm team, and probably the only family-affordable, high-caliber hockey option. The Sixers have played like crap since the turn of the decade, while the Phantoms usually performed well on the ice, so that probably helped them gain more attendance as well.

I think at the end of the day, when a Canadian city has NHL, AHL and Major Junior teams playing in the area, the AHL will usually be the lowest attended, and I'm sure that has to do with tradition and familiarity, and not the actual product on the ice. AHL is great hockey. Most people in these markets just don't know it.


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10-29-2010, 07:07 PM
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I admit, I'm discouraged from watching players who are in the AHL merely because they aren't good enough for the NHL. I used to go to a few AHL games when I lived in Hamilton, but because I'm a Leafs fan, and they're the Habs farm team - I ended up usually cheering for the other team.

I also should mention that attendance is a big thing for me. I have fun at games with a great atmosphere, and hate going to games where barely anyone else is there. The major exception now is my junior hockey team here in Chilliwack, where I try to go as many games as possible.

It's difficult for me to get excited over a team where I know not as many ppl care. Even when I lived in Hamilton, can't say I had any regard or want to go to a Marlies game. If they were selling out, then I'd probably try to.

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10-29-2010, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Majik1987 View Post
Have to wait until after football season is over before the big crowds come. The Bears always affect early attendance on Sundays.
Majik you are correct. The Packers affect the Admirals attendance the same way. After the NFL season is over or just after Christmas, the Milwaukee attendance goes up by about 2000 a game. They start out around 4000 and go up to 6000, which gives them a season average of 5000 and makes them around 10th in the AHL. Currently, they average 4300 and are 18th in the AHL. Chicago will end up averaging about 7500 and be in the top five in attendance. Check the numbers for 2 or 3 years.

Milwaukee has one of the highest NFL viewership percentages in the US. When the Packers are playing, it is not unusual to have a 60 or 65% share in Milwaukee. If the Packers are off, the Bears and Vikings draw the Milwaukee eyeballs like crazy. The Packers Gold Package is for the Milwaukee STX, they get a preseason game and regular season home games 2 and 5.

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10-30-2010, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RWC View Post
It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the reason for the Marlies low attendance was because they aren't the real Leafs. Same could be said for Abbotsford as well, however, with the Heat being Calgary's farm club in Canucks territory, their low attendance is easier to understand.

We have to keep in mind though that for these markets, the AHL is a whole new league for most people. They're not as familiar with it, and, most people could already be attached to Major Junior teams in their area. How many OHL teams are in the Golden Horseshoe?

I know out here, if the Canucks are eliminated from the playoffs and the Giants are still going, they automatically see a surge in attendance. I really don't think the same could be said for the Heat, even if it was another team's affiliate, except the Canucks.

In the US, however, where we've seen Chicago and Philadelphia with AHL teams, there are some important things to remember, that I'm sure you already know. 1, the Wolves took full advantage of Bill Wirtz being an idiot, marketed the Hell out of themselves and put themselves on Chicago TV, while the Blackhawks blacked out all home games. 2, The Phantoms were the Flyers' farm team, and probably the only family-affordable, high-caliber hockey option. The Sixers have played like crap since the turn of the decade, while the Phantoms usually performed well on the ice, so that probably helped them gain more attendance as well.

I think at the end of the day, when a Canadian city has NHL, AHL and Major Junior teams playing in the area, the AHL will usually be the lowest attended, and I'm sure that has to do with tradition and familiarity, and not the actual product on the ice. AHL is great hockey. Most people in these markets just don't know it.
keep in mind, Abbotsford's a "rookie market", much as those cities who've been added since 2001, build their brand. those franchises tht transitioned from the classic IHL already had a built-in base... not much should be read into Abbotsford's attendance for a few more years.... tht franchise has moved/relocated three times since.....

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10-30-2010, 03:40 PM
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I have mixed emotions about the arena not being filled. Part of me would like to see a big crowd going wild. Part of me is happy to get whatever seat I want even on game day, and have the area around me, the concenssions and bathroom seemingly to myself. It sounds like part of the season will be one way (pre X-mas) and part will be the other. Then, back to low figures come playoff time. I agree that the level of play is excellent overall. Going tonight to see Wolves host Rockford. Big game early on already. Texas, Peoria and SA playing real well at top of division.

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10-30-2010, 07:55 PM
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I don't know what's wrong here in Albany, it isn't really a small town and it's not like there's any local competition (the mediocre Saints don't count).

Apathetic buggers and always have been.

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10-31-2010, 01:20 PM
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keep in mind, Abbotsford's a "rookie market", much as those cities who've been added since 2001, build their brand. those franchises tht transitioned from the classic IHL already had a built-in base... not much should be read into Abbotsford's attendance for a few more years.... tht franchise has moved/relocated three times since.....
And they'll be gone again soon.

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10-31-2010, 04:09 PM
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keep in mind, Abbotsford's a "rookie market", much as those cities who've been added since 2001, build their brand. those franchises tht transitioned from the classic IHL already had a built-in base... not much should be read into Abbotsford's attendance for a few more years.... tht franchise has moved/relocated three times since.....
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And they'll be gone again soon.
Exactly. The Flames are extremely impatient. Omaha increased their attendance in the second year yet the Flames up and bailed.

Also, how do you explain the poor attendance in long term AHL cities such as Springfield, Albany, Adirondack, Rochester, Syracuse, etc.?

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10-31-2010, 04:37 PM
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Well Rochester is simple...

Years of comp tickets (over 2,500 a game) that people got used to. Suddenly with new ownership, those were gone.

Ownership issues that were very public and ugly.

5 years of terrible hockey, including back to back last place teams.

Ugly 30 year affiliation break up.

Pretty much the perfect storm to kill attendance and interest. Ticket revenue is up 72% compared to two years ago. So it's getting better, although there's still a long ways to go.

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10-31-2010, 06:37 PM
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In Albany... well, the arena is the major problem - it's too big, and nobody ever goes downtown outside of work hours.

That aside, I don't know... maybe folks from Troy & Schenectady don't want to associate with something from Albany, maybe people from smaller suburbs are scared of big bad downtown Albany... just guessing.

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10-31-2010, 07:34 PM
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In the case with the Calgary Flames, were the moves from Omaha and Quad Cities done after contracts had expired?

The reason I ask is because this is the second of a ten year contract between the Flames organization and the Heat. So unless Calgary has a history of deal breaking, then no, the Heat aren't going anywhere!

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10-31-2010, 09:09 PM
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I find it strange that the league, with all its teams clustered in pockets, has this one lone team in Abbortsford, all the way out in BC. For a league that seems to watch its dollars, the travel budget for this one team must be huge in comparison to some of the others. I am surprised there is not a legit western conference with Vancouver, Seattle and a few other Northwestern cities mixed in. I guess it is not cost feasible.

I like the idea of teams within close proximity of one another. I have seen Milwaukee and Rockford fans come into Chicago with their road gear and root against the Wolves. I think it adds something to the game, and also increases attendance.

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10-31-2010, 09:26 PM
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The reason I ask is because this is the second of a ten year contract between the Flames organization and the Heat. So unless Calgary has a history of deal breaking, then no, the Heat aren't going anywhere!
Yes, they break deals.

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