Friday, October 12, 2007

Attendance troubles already in Nashville

As of Friday night, the Predators have hosted three games this season. And, so far, things aren't so rosy:

October 4 v. Colorado
Attendance: 16,363 (95.6% full)

October 6, 2007 v. Dallas
Attendance: 13,079 (76.4% full)

October 11 v. Phoenix
Attendance: 12,155 (71.0% full)

Yes, it's only been three games. But of the 25 NHL clubs that have had a home gate to this point, Nashville is in dead last in attendance, and ahead of only Chicago (and its cavernous United Center) in filled capacity.

And that only reflects the announced figures — not paid attendance, which was reported to be at 13,724 following the first two games. The Phoenix game likely had fewer than 11,000.

I've been called a lot of interesting names by my bloggin' pals in Tennessee ever since this story came out of the woodwork last spring, something I'm sure will continue, but all I'd really like to see is a full — or nearly so — house in Nashville every night.

Call me a dummy all you like, but awful attendance figures combined with a tumultuous ownership situation has, in the past, always led in one direction.

For the fans in Nashville, the ones who are out there supporting the team, here's hoping things turn around — quickly.

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20 Comments:

At 11:43 PM, October 12, 2007, Blogger Art Vandelay said...

Don't apologize. Sure, roughly 10,000 people in the Greater Nashville area love hockey. And they all go to the games. The other 2 million people think a Predator is the creepy guy who hangs around their kid's school. The 10,000 diehards will have to get their hockey fix on high-number cable. Boo hoo.

 
At 1:15 AM, October 13, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's expand to Europe since everything is great in Nashville, Sunrise, Atlanta...

Salary cap is coming down in two years because strong Canadian dollar can't offset recession in US.

 
At 9:15 AM, October 13, 2007, Blogger justin said...

What else can you say. The core group wants to keep it, and they are great devoted fans. But it's looking like they just don't have enough fans to support a franchise.

Though I'm not sure if the Cap will actually come down, I wouldn't expect it to continue growing at anything near the current rate (about 6 mill a season).

 
At 2:44 PM, October 13, 2007, Blogger Paul Nicholson said...

Thanks for saying you'd like to see a full house, rather than just calling for the team to leave.

I also think your last statement ties the issues...the cloudy ownership issue has made a lot of this worse, combined with inaccurate info in the media. I still get people at work that know i'm a Preds fan saying "I thought they moved" - and they live in Nashville. That's how bad the marketing and promotion has been, and how poorly the media cover the team.

I think once the ownership issue is resolved (and given that said owner wants the team to succeed here) it will be a relatively easy situation to improve rapidly. All it takes is someone making an effort, and right now everything is on hold/cruise-control until the ownership issue is resolved.

Paul (from Nashville)

 
At 3:29 PM, October 13, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still get people at work that know i'm a Preds fan saying "I thought they moved" - and they live in Nashville.
But that's just it, isn't it?
Even brain-damaged non-hockey fans in, just to pick a geographic placename out of my azz, Kitchener-Waterloo, know the Leafs still exist in Toronto. And 15,000 season-ticket deposits in one day are proof they don't need some lame-azzed marketing campaign to tell them they're getting their own NHL team.

 
At 8:51 PM, October 13, 2007, Anonymous Gerald said...

15,000 season-ticket deposits in one day are proof they don't need some lame-azzed marketing campaign to tell them they're getting their own NHL team.

Outrageous horsecrap misstatements like this are a lot of the reason for the state of conventional "wisdom" that many of my fellow hockey fans have.

15,000 = lie.

one day = lie.

 
At 11:22 AM, October 14, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get this James, in previous posts you have said it looks like it's all over in Nashville already - but here you are telling fans to go to games - with what aim? I think the fans in Nashville already sense it's over and their cynicism is the reason for the low attendance.

Diehards will still go to games but I could imagine a situation later in the season where attendance is much worse than it is now.

 
At 12:18 PM, October 14, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I don't think I'm telling fans to go to games.

There's a large segment of the Predators' fan base that refuses to believe there's an issue here, so my bit says merely that, for their sake, I hope attendance picks up.

As you said, I've already made my feelings clear as to what's going to happen.

 
At 2:55 PM, October 14, 2007, Anonymous Jay said...

"Outrageous horsecrap misstatements."

Gerald, you need to stop being such a useless pedant. The fact that it was actually 10,000 deposits in 2 days doesn't change the point of Anon's statement (and probably doesn't change the fact that, judging by your contributions to the hockey blog community, you get off on smelling your own farts).

 
At 6:08 PM, October 14, 2007, Anonymous Gerald said...

Well, it wqsn't 10,000 in two days, but whatever, Jay.

If you read any posts by the collective hockey blog community, you know exactly how this stuff goes. IT goes from 12,000 over the course of weeks, to 12,000 in a week, to "nearly 13,000" in a matter of days, to "close to 15,000" in "days" to where we are now, which is 15,000 in a day.

The list of examples where this s*** happens is endless.

It is not the smell of my own farts that I crave, by the way. The fine aroma of truth is what I look for, and I despise the stench that wafts up from "hockey fans" (and I use the quotation marks advisedly) when they bend the truth in order to beat on other fans in markets that do not measure up in their eyes.

I wasn't aware that you were closely following my contributions to the hockey bloggin community. I will try to bring up my game, just for you.

 
At 6:27 PM, October 14, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I think we'd all probably appreciate the improvement.

 
At 10:24 PM, October 14, 2007, Anonymous Gerald said...

I think we'd all probably appreciate the improvement.

Right back at ya, big fella.

 
At 11:09 AM, October 15, 2007, Blogger Chemmy said...

At this point I want Nashville to move because I'm tired of hearing about how everyone is biased against Nashville and things are actually going great down there.

 
At 11:45 AM, October 15, 2007, Anonymous Keith said...

Announced 13,000 and change against Calgary, but the Flames announcers said they would be surprised if the building was half full.

The problem for Nashville is whether the spike in attendance after the football season ends can make up for the lower attendance now. If the Preds aren't a good team (and they were terrible on Saturday), fans might not bother.

I would be surprised if they pull off the average of 14,200 tickets sold to avoid reopening the lease.

The big question now is whether the local group can get the team, if Delbaggio gets it himself with the intent of going to KC, or if Balsilie can get back involved.

Gonna be a rough few months for Preds fans. Get used to it.

 
At 12:37 PM, October 15, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Announced 13,000 and change against Calgary, but the Flames announcers said they would be surprised if the building was half full.

No. Say it ain't so. Canadian broadcasters said that?!?! There's just no way. I take their word for it. They know half-full buildings. Edmonton in the 90s. Calgary in the 90s. They know.

 
At 12:43 PM, October 15, 2007, Anonymous Keith said...

What is your point, Anon?

Complaining about the woes other franchises had at different times doesn't really defend Nashville that well, does it?

 
At 12:45 PM, October 15, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Flames attendance
1990 - 19,861
1991 - 19,986
1992 - 19,719
1993 - 19,529
1994 - 19,325
1995 - 19,036
1996 - 18,000
1997 - 17,089
1998 - 16,847
1999 - 16,202
2000 - 15,322
2001 - 16,623
2002 - 15,719
2003 - 16,239
2004 - 16,580
2006 - 19,289
2007 - 19,289

Nashville
2002 - 14,789
2003 - 13,228
2004 - 13,168
2006 - 14,428
2007 - 15,259

 
At 3:52 PM, October 15, 2007, Anonymous Gerald said...

James, I think the point is:

4,500 empty seats in Nashville - "less than half full" for elitist Canadian commentators.

4,500 empty seats in Calgary in the mid/late nineties - not so much of a problem for those same commentators.

 
At 5:37 PM, October 15, 2007, Anonymous Keith said...

Really, so every single ticket distributed in Nashville is used, eh?

That would be highly unusual.


And gotta love the typical southern US inferiority complex. Any time anyone dares to question the viability of such a franchise, it's always the "elitist northerners".

 
At 5:40 PM, October 15, 2007, Anonymous Keith said...

And if you think the lower attendance the Oilers (early 90s) and Flames (late 90s) was "not so much a problem" for those commentators, you clearly are deluding yourself.

At the time, there was a high level of concern about the future of both franchises. Concern that was well justified, as Peter Pocklington nearly sold the Oilers to Houston, and the Flames held a season ticket rally in 2000 to boost attendance.

Of course, in both cases, the fans and business community pulled through. Still waiting on that in Nashville.

We also had a terrible exchange rate, and a salary system horribly out of whack as an excuse. Nashville doesn't have those problems either.

Great lease in Nashville too.

Damn... can't imagine why anyone would question that markets viability. Guess I am just an elitist...

 

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