Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ranking fan satisfaction

ESPN recently released their annual study of fan satisfaction in all four major professional sports leagues, and the results from an NHL perspective are quite interesting.

For one, the Buffalo Sabres rank first overall in satisfaction among all 122 franchises, scoring right near the top in fan friendliness, ownership, affordability and on- and off-ice leadership. The Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks, meanwhile, rank 117th and 118th overall, ahead of only the Minnesota Vikings, New York Knicks, Oakland Raiders and, ahem, the Detroit Lions.

Other interesting NHL-related notes from the survey?
  • The Minnesota Wild ranked first among all pro franchises in stadium experience, which is quite a feat given the competition (they beat out such hallowed homes as the Green Bay Packers' Lambeau Field and Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field).

  • The Sabres, Red Wings, Ducks, Predators, Hurricanes and Lightning all score in the top 10 in fan friendliness. The Blackhawks are deservedly in hockey's basement here at 115th.

  • Best ownership group? The Red Wings' Mike Ilitch, who placed second overall behind only the San Antonio Spurs' war hero Peter Holt. Chicago, again, is right near the bottom, second last and ahead of only the Florida Marlins.

  • Affordability's an interesting one, mainly because the Maple Leafs rank dead last in all of pro sports in the category. It's really hard to overemphasize just how ridiculous it is trying to go to a game at the Air Canada Centre, where the worst lower-bowl tickets in the building cost $200 (and the best ones are more than twice that) for a Tuesday night tilt against the Panthers. Only Buffalo and Nashville place in the top 20 in this category.

  • Pittsburgh and the Islanders understandably rank near the basement in terms of stadium experience, given their old buildings, but Chicago's cavernous United Center isn't far behind.

  • The Montreal Canadiens are the toughest on their team, ranking its players 97th overall despite the fact they are decidedly middle of the pack (Flyers fans, for instance, rank their last-place club's roster 90th). The most lenient fans are in Washington, where they put their awful roster 43rd overall.

  • And, finally, funnily enough, the Carolina Hurricanes finished at the very top of the peak in terms of championship material, which just goes to show that one unexpected title helps a ton in terms of fan expectations. Six teams score 101st or worst here: Florida, Los Angeles, Columbus, Boston, Toronto, Phoenix and Chicago.
In all, some interesting and, for the most part, accurate results.



At 1:31 p.m., March 28, 2007, Blogger sager said...

That's why I've only been to ACC for Raptors and Rock games!

At 1:41 p.m., March 28, 2007, Blogger Pyronite said...

Buffalo fans rated tops in fan friendliness? I wish their home game fans would start representing them at other arenas more because they don't have a very good reputation.

At 1:44 p.m., March 28, 2007, Blogger PPP said...

They don't have friendly fans at home either. It's a wasted exercise which proves nothing except that some places are most expensive than others and subjectivity can be taken to ridiculous lengths (43rd for the capitals?!)

At 1:56 p.m., March 28, 2007, Blogger BlackCapricorn said...

I am a Sabres fan and have both attended games at the HSBC and "on the road" in NYC where I live. The Sabres fans on the road cheer loud but aren't disrespectful. Often times NYC-based fans get antagonistic towards the Sabres fans, perhaps b/c the outcheer the home fans and are there in such numbers. In Buffalo the fans are very pumped up and admittedly not nice to visiting fansbut not nearly as bad as the NYC fans in their home buildings.

I have heard about what went down in Carolina for the ECF last year and in Columbus this year and I guess all I have to say is that no matter who you root for or where you root for them, each team's fan base should be respectful to the other. Not only Sabres fans should take this to heart.

Glad the Sabres are No. 1 in this poll, let's see if they can bring home the Cup.

At 2:50 p.m., March 28, 2007, Blogger Rob said...

The ... Ducks, Predators, Hurricanes ... all score in the top 10 in fan friendliness well as the bottom 10 in attendance.

At 2:51 p.m., March 28, 2007, Blogger Rob said...

attendance source

At 2:59 p.m., March 28, 2007, Blogger Michael said...

Uh ... Rob?

You realize those stats are from last season and thus outdated, right? Since Carolina is now ranked 15th. And Anaheim would actually be in the Bottom 11 now (20th) and not Bottom 10. :-p

Not that I'm defending either team, or anything.

At 3:07 p.m., March 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Based on the espn site it's not fan friendliness, but rather fan relations (FRL (Fan Relations): Ease of access to players, coaches & management). Though whenever I've been to a game both in Buffalo and in other arenas, I find it more fun to joke around with the other teams fans rather than try and start something with them.

At 3:42 p.m., March 28, 2007, Blogger Hockey Amor said...

Awful roster James? I think the Capitals are an up-and-coming team underserving of such a slam.

At 4:19 p.m., March 28, 2007, Anonymous ebscer said...

Based on average attendace 4 of the top i teams this season are all in the same division

At 4:36 p.m., March 28, 2007, Blogger Meg said...

The behavior of Sabres fans has nothing to do with the fan friendliness rating. It states that clearly on the ESPN site. This is a rating of the fans satisfaction with their teams, not of the fans themselves.

At 5:13 p.m., March 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

< sarcasm >

I am shocked to learn that I pay the 4th highest in the NHL to have a beer at a game when I go to Canucks games.

< /sarcasm >

Seriously 7.50 for Canadian, 8.00 for "Premium" (a.k.a Rickards)
I can only assume the 3 higher are in Montreal, Toronto, and New York.

At 5:13 p.m., March 28, 2007, Anonymous PJ said...

Regarding the attendence figures: why do you supposed Calgary lies about their capacity? I find it strange that they are averaging 112% capacity - been in the saddledome many times, and there is no way they can accomodate 2000 standing fans. Or maybe I'm misreading this.

At 5:52 p.m., March 28, 2007, Blogger Doogie said...

I suspect they forgot to mention that they re-opened the nosebleeds for the '04 playoff run. Hello, 1200 more seats.

Simlarly, why the heck are the Oilers listed at 98.5% capacity every night? 16,839 is the capacity of Rexall now, right? Don't tell me another team forgot to mention when they changed their capacity and have wrong numbers (they whacked a few seats in favour of luxury boxes a bunch of years back).

At 6:06 p.m., March 28, 2007, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

Seriously 7.50 for Canadian, 8.00 for "Premium" (a.k.a Rickards)
I can only assume the 3 higher are in Montreal, Toronto, and New York.

If those are Canadian dollar amounts, then you are paying less per beer than I am in southern California (at either Honda Center or Staples Center).

If those are U.S. dollar amounts, then we are paying the same amount.

At 8:01 p.m., March 28, 2007, Anonymous Stephen said...

Canadiens fans are indeed tough on their team. Earlier this year, they booed players during a bit of a slump; but the slump was caused by a flu bug that was making the rounds of the team.

Yes, the players were out there trying to play through the flu, and the fans were booing them for a sub-par performance. Brutal!

At 8:42 p.m., March 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, we pay $7 American here in Columbus for a Bud Light draft. And Columbus is not a giant, expensive city like New York, Chicago, or LA.

At 11:04 p.m., March 28, 2007, Blogger Michael said...

Speaking of Columbus (but off the topic of $7 brewskis at Nationwide), I can't help but feel that the people who swayed the 115 out of 121 ranking for PLA concerning the Blue Jackets are as bitter as frick. PLA is supposed to also deal with likability and personalities off the ice of the team, which I really do feel that this team is not lacking in at all.

It looks like most people took "Effort on the ice" to an extreme. Not that I blame them in the least, though.

At 11:27 p.m., March 28, 2007, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

Yep, we pay $7 American here in Columbus for a Bud Light draft.

Yes, but we were discussing beer prices.

At 11:30 p.m., March 28, 2007, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

Of course, it should be noted that having website visitors click a link to participate in a survey is quite possibly the worst polling methodology ever created.

At 1:00 p.m., March 29, 2007, Anonymous Nick said...

The Briuns are the only team in any sport to rank 100 or worse in every category. My, how this team has fallen. Jacobs needs to go and now.


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