Attendance Thoughts on the ECHL All-Star Classic

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There are few who will disagree that what the people of Glens Falls have had to deal with when it came to minor league hockey. Three teams in three seasons over two leagues with the last and current team being a level down from the other two teams– I could understand why fans would be fed up to an extent. However, when the spotlight of the league is on your arena and it’s just a bit over three-quarters full, it doesn’t look good overall for the support of the league/team.

On Wednesday– which is a day that could be one of the worst for putting an All-Star Game together, just ask the NHL’s failed mid-week ASG in Dallas years ago– the ECHL All-Stars squeaked out an 8-7 victory against the Adirondack Thunder. The game showed defense on full-display, as the ECHL team had only 23 shots, which was the fewest shots by a team in an All-Star Classic. The combined 53 shots were also an all-time low for the league’s mid-season game.

Yet, the most interesting number was the attendance. The attendance was announced as 3,767 in the 4,794-seat Glens Falls Civic Center, which means it was only at 78.6% capacity. For a premier event, that seems very low and very undesired for the league and the team hosting the event. Again, the mid-week spot is definitely not the best time to hold a game, but weekends are the way teams get their income for home dates, so it’s understandable why teams wouldn’t want to give up their weekend revenue for the event.

Looking back on past All-Star Classics, this is how they stack up

  • 2015, Orlando: 9,288 (97.2% capacity)
  • 2013, Colorado: 5,289 (100%)
  • 2011, Bakersfield: 7,397 (84.2%)
  • 2010, Ontario: 7,615 (81.1%)
  • 2009, Reading: 5,693 (86.6%)
  • 2008, Stockton: 7,455 (76.6%)
  • 2007, Boise: 4,371 (87.3%)

These are from the ECHL’s website and shows that there has been one worse percentage at capacity, the sheer lack of mass for a priemere event is a bit disheartening. Of course, The Sin Bin’s Barry Janssen has said that the league as a whole has been down in their attendance figures, aiming for the lowest average in a decade.

However, the stats for Adirondack is up by 13% by the time those figures were put up and it seemed like the league and area were pushing hard– so is it a cause for concern that the Civic Center wasn’t fuller than it actually was??

With a confusing format and mid-week date, you could see why people wouldn’t want to go ahead and head out to the rink for this game, as gimmicky and fun as it turned out. I’m sure that when the numbers come out, the city will be happy with the revenue they got from people visiting to see the game and paid for local hotels, restaurants, and the like– but internally…is it a good, bad, or status quo result for the ECHL and Thunder brass?? With fans making the arena look solid in the beginning, the length and format may have gotten to folks, who seemed to thin out after the first-half of play, before the other parts of the format happened.

Next year, surprisingly, the ECHL will have another All-Star Classic next season– which breaks their ideal of holding it every other year. The hosts will be the Indy Fuel, which has a fanbase that has been dwindling a bit this season (as seen in Janssen’s article) and with a team that hasn’t been close their best this season, as well as a record that has gotten worse each season. Have to wonder how much more fans could take and if they’d be able to push their personal feelings of the team aside for a league event that’s in their backyard. The game will be on a Monday (January 15th) and we can only wait and see what happens in 361 days while hoping the Fuel gets better to bring more fans out and that the league simplifies the game so even the casual fan can understand it.

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2 responses to “Attendance Thoughts on the ECHL All-Star Classic

  1. I guess the question is why they should push their feelings aside to buy into the ASG. Buying tickets is a financial decision as well as an emotional one. The town has been kicked around by leagues and teams for a long time, including back to the Adirondack Frostbite of the UHL. They had their ASG in Glens Falls during the 2004-05 lockout, and attendance was decent, considering they were a lower tier league.

    If this was an AHL ASG, you would have probably sold out, due to the neighboring Albany Devils. That, of course, is dependent on the ticket prices as well. I’ve been to a Thunder game, and wasn’t impressed with the cost of the game, nor the level of fun they provide.

    Asking the fans to prop up the next league that comes along and wants to hold their “premier” event in town is asking a lot for this town. They have seen it before. They obviously are not impressed.

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  2. A Midweek game in the middle of a short work week (MLK day) and an odd format– I thought the attendance was about what I expected. Add in the AHL Devils hosted a home game the same night likely kept some hockey fans from the south from making the trip.

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