Friday, December 8, 2006

The NHL's Attendance Myth

The NHL's Attendance Myth
Gary Bettman is crowing about the NHL's attendance increase.
TFP Columnist Greg Wyshynski explains why that elation may be short-lived.
By Greg Wyshynski

(WASHINGTON, DC) -- Kevin Morgan was the Vice President of Sales for the Washington Capitals in 2002 when I interviewed him for a magazine article called "How Hockey Can Take Over Your Town."

His arrival in D.C. came at a time when the Caps were literally giving away thousands of tickets to home games, just to get fans through the arena doors and on line for the concession stands. My, how times haven't changed...

Of course, he's not alone — the same rubes who think non-hockey fans will flock to the arena because they might see a skills competition end an overtime game are probably thinking that the elimination of the red line accounted for at least 2% of that record gate increase.Like I said: rubes, the lot of them.

This isn't a screed against the quality of the "new" NHL, because the game is more entertaining than it was before the lockout. But let's not kid ourselves: the on-ice product is wonderful, but its effect on the attendance increase is completely unsupported.

Read more here.

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