Friday, October 13, 2006

Undercrowding in Chicago

With the city's beloved Blackhawks rocketing to the top of the NHL's preseason standings with a 7-1-0 record, then getting off to a solid 2-1-0 to start the year, it stands to reason more than a few Chicago sports fans are at least curious in seeing this mini-rebirth. Their team, after all, has been awful for a very, very long time.

Yet last night at the cavernous United Center, with the division-rival Nashville Predators in town, the game drew a piddly 8,008 fans — the fewest in the history of one of the most perennially empty rinks in the league. This in a building with a capacity of 20,500.

The UC already has a reputation as a dreadful place to watch a game, one where the old-time rink atmosphere has been as deadened as possible, and as any sports fan knows, it's always better to see a game in a packed house.

What it would be like to see a game in an empty one, I can't imagine.


At 7:12 p.m., October 13, 2006, Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

Go to a Blue Jays game.

At 7:23 p.m., October 13, 2006, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

There's no one at the Wings game tonight, either.

At 7:43 p.m., October 13, 2006, Blogger girlysportsrant said...

They're going to the Wings game now!
Tigers just won.

At 7:56 p.m., October 13, 2006, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Are there only 60,000 sports fans in Detroit? Or only 60,000 who can afford tix?

At 8:15 p.m., October 13, 2006, Anonymous AcidQueen said...

And people still have the bollocks to bust on the Hurricanes for not having 110% attendance every night.


At 9:02 p.m., October 13, 2006, Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

How about Jersey's home opener last night?

Contract! Contract!

You could start right there - what, 25 years and 3 Cups and they still don't draw - why bother?

As for Chicago - as someone who saw a game in the old Stadium - well, its the saddest thing to see how Wirtz has killed the sport in one of the great US hockey cities.

At 11:28 p.m., October 13, 2006, Anonymous Peter Ahola said...

Bill Wirtz is a significant reason the NHL is now considered a niche sport.

At 6:26 a.m., October 14, 2006, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Worse owner, Wirtz or Ballard?

At 8:48 a.m., October 14, 2006, Anonymous Lyle Richardson said...

Wirtz. He's been around longer than Ballard and thus has done more damage for much longer. I know it's not nice to speak ill of the dead, but Ballard did the Leafs a favour by shuffling off the mortal coil.

At 9:10 a.m., October 14, 2006, Blogger Doogie said...

Wirtz. Nothing could kill the Leafs, which is probably the only reason why they did survive the Harold Ballard era.

At 1:08 p.m., October 14, 2006, Blogger Wardo said...

Isn't this the same market that doesn't allow its own fans in Chicago to see games on TV? No wonder nobody cares.

But - so what if they're 2-1? It's not like they're on the verge of the Cup. Upgrading the fan support is like changing direction on an ocean liner. It takes a lot of time to show a trend in another direction, and momentum needs to build. Like:

Fan# 1: Did you see Havlat's two goals? Dat was awesome!

Fan# 2: We gotta spread da word. We're gwine to da Cup. Da Cup!

Fan# 1: DA Cup!

Fan# 2: Somehow, we gotta fill dat building.

Yeah - I don't see it happening.

IF the Hawks stay competitive, they MIGHT have more bums in the seats by March. Getting on their case now isn't fair - this is an abused fan base that doesn't seem too far removed from the Montreal Expos'.


At 11:11 p.m., October 14, 2006, Blogger Nick said...

The wings game was empty because the tigers were on the verge of going to the world series.

During the intermission of the wings game, the announcers were talking about how the women's basketball team in Chicago gets more coverage than the Hawks. I went to a blackhawks game there a few years ago. The crowd was truly a joke.

At 9:35 p.m., October 15, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joke? No. Years ago, when the Hurricanes temporarily played in Greensboro, I would go to games where the attendance would be 4,000. On a good night. That was a damn joke.


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