Earlier in the week I wrote about how using reported attendance numbers probably won’t lead to any insight about whether or not the NHL has an attendance probelm.
That’s why a part of Ted Leonsis’ latest blog post stood out to me. He wrote about the Capitals game against the Lighting last night:
The arena here is a big one and it was about 80% full.
If you check out a boxscore from espn.com, you’ll see the number reported is quite different:
Attendance: 18,804 (95.2% full)
That’s a big difference. Leonsis obviously didn’t sit there and count, but his comment wasn’t made with any sort of malicious intent and shouldn’t be thrown away. It was just a casual observation, the same one most of us have made.
Whatever the reason for the difference, arenas that aren’t close to full just don’t have the same feel. It affects the game as well as the game experience for the fans. At some point NHL teams are going to have to ignore tickets, and just look at butts in seats.