Monday, September 22, 2008

Keeping an eye on the K.C. crowd

The Blues will display some of their young talent at 7:05 tonight against another team laden with youth, the Los Angeles Kings, in the first NHL preseason game ever played at the Sprint Center. A crowd between 12,000 and 14,000 is expected.
The building's a small one in Kansas City, with a capacity of only about 17,250 for hockey, but a 12,000 turnout likely isn't what organizers had in mind. If the NHL's really serious about getting into the building via expansion by 2010, how well this game draws will likely play a part in determining the interest level in the city.

Other recent exhibition games in Kansas City have sold very well, albeit in the 18,000-seat Kemper Arena, the former home of the NHL's Scouts (remember them?).

There are eight preseason games tonight as the schedule begins in earnest, but this might be the most important one.

This isn't, however, the only neutral site game (although one could argue the Kings are the home team in K.C. given their ownership situation), as Montreal and Boston are playing tonight in Halifax. The Sabres at Leafs game is on TV tonight in Toronto.

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At 12:33 p.m., September 22, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

Until a new ownership group comes together, I think we're jumping to too many conclusions with KC right now. They haven't assembled a new group in light of Boots' scandal.

I guess it's worth keeping an eye on, but really, preseason attendance shouldn't make or break anything, especially in a recession. If it did, Saskatoon might be on the radar for a team. ;)

At 1:20 p.m., September 22, 2008, Blogger Mark said...

What are the ticket prices? If they are anything like regular-season prices, I wouldn't expect a big crowd. And the game features half of the worst in the West Los Angeles Kings. That should be worth a discount right there.

At 1:45 p.m., September 22, 2008, Anonymous Marl said...

Mark: Yes, and not only that - it's the bad half. Seems that the "name" players in KC are Stoll, Handzus and Preissing. Not a pretty roster, mostly youngsters and minor leaguers, no Kopitar, Brown, Johnson...

At 3:24 p.m., September 22, 2008, Blogger Chris said...

I was just about to get ready to give the NHL one more chance this year and then I see Kansas City talked about as a franchise home.

Someone wake me when Bettman's gone and the nightmare is over.

At 5:31 p.m., September 22, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The KC hockey fantasy is facing stiff competition for fans' dollars from the ultra-competitive Chiefs.
Wait. What? Oh, never mind.

At 8:02 p.m., September 22, 2008, Anonymous Tim said...

The NHL should not use pre-season attendance to judge interest anywhere. I paid top dollar a couple of years ago to see the Pens/Flyers in London, Ont. Absolute garbage. The OHL exhibition games I go to are way better. They couldn't pay me to go to an exhibition game ever again.


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