Below are some insights into NHL attendance through October. This is not intended to disrespect any franchises or fan bases. This is simply visualizing publically shared data in a concise manner. Attendance alone is only one metric used when evaluating the financial success of a sports franchise. Ticket prices, sponsorships, and TV agreements can greatly offset any shortcomings in attendance. Attendance naturally ebbs and flows with wins and loses of a franchise.
As a whole, the NHL attendance is flat year over year with only a modest .1 % decline from averaging 17,313 compared to 17,290 in like games over last year. League wide variance will not fluctuate much due to the high rate of sellouts across the NHL. Speaking of sellouts, one thing that caught my eye is that the percent of sellouts is down year over year from 63% to 54%.
On a team basis, the Hurricanes and Avalanche are leading in growth year over year (19% and 11% respectively) while the Islanders have seen a drop of 19% so far this year which is somewhat expected after losing John Tavares during the off season.
While the growth of the Hurricanes attendance is a positive, growth is not everything when evaluating attendance. Percent of capacity is another way to evaluate attendance health. Carolina is averaging 69% of capacity through the first 7 home games this season. Meanwhile, an amazing 23 of 31 teams are averaging over 90% of capacity attendance to date.
Below is some detail on each team’s performance to date.
There are a lot of assumptions and logic built into the analysis that may need tweaking but if you have any specific questions or feedback, please let me know in the comments section.