Here is my Attendance report on the NHL 2014-15 Season.
In spite of promotional strategy changes in Carolina and Florida, Attendance was flat year over year for the league. This should be considered very positive for the league as other teams were able to make up the gaps generated by the steep declines in Carolina and Florida.
Dallas Stars and New York Islanders were the big turnaround stories at the gate this year with 12% and 10% increases respectively. Islanders turnaround was due to a great team on the ice. Dallas turnaround is part of a long term turnaround by Tom Gaglardi and Jim Lites.
As I alluded to earlier, step declines in Carolina and Florida were expected as executives for both teams made public comments that they would stop deep discounts/promotions on tickets just to get more butts in seats. This is a better long term approach especially before a team is set for an upswing on the ice. The Panthers are a young solid team that should be a contender for the coming years.
I know people see the empty seats on Florida and call for relocation but as I’ve said before, Boston, Pittsburgh and Chicago all had their issues with attendance when they went years without making the playoffs. Florida has been the least successful team over the last 10 years.
Here is the average attendance by road team. It is not really fair to compare teams on how they draw on the road for multiple reasons. For starters, some (home) teams sellout regardless who is playing. Most teams in the Atlantic sell out so when Florida and Buffalo play on the road, most of their games will draw well since they play more Atlantic games. The Metropolitan division has a little more volatility. It is still fun to look at but just note it is not the complete picture.