Friday, February 02, 2007

Numbers contrary to public perception?

The NHL released its January attendance figures on Thursday, and the diviners of New York have determined that the league set an all time attendance record in January, playing to 92.3 per cent capacity.

This despite the visage of some rather empty rinks in the likes of St. Louis, Chicago, Washington, Long Island and New Jersey to name a few.

League officials crunched their numbers and claim that they attracted 3,193,093 fans to 187 total games and posted a per-game average of 17,075 in January.

Which is surely a wonderful thing for a league perceived as struggling at the gate, with little to no television exposure in America and with a laundry list of franchises that are struggling and ripe for relocation.

They don't of course say whether the numbers reflect paid attendance, there are reports that places such as Miami offer two for one deals just to bring in some numbers and even at that have problems making it past 10,000 on some nights.

While you would like to think that all is well, it would be interesting to learn the break down on the numbers, because anecdotal evidence from a variety of reporters travelling to the NHL outposts don't quite sing from the same song book.

The numbers also run contrary to some of the video evidence available on those Google video casts, which show more than a few empty seats on some of those games uploaded for our enjoyment.

Announced attendance and actual attendance, it possibly is a wider gulf than we might think, but if the NHL's numbers are to be believed the stands are full and the cash registers must surely be ringing.

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