Attendance issue at Philips Arena

It was a sparse crowd to say the least at Philips Arena Thursday as the Thrashers returned home and were shut out by Columbus. The announced attendance was 8,461 – a franchise record low. I’m not sure there were that many people in the building.

The record low came just 15 days after the Thrashers broke the record for low attendance – when 8,820 showed up for the Oct. 20 game against Buffalo.

The Thrashers (6-5-2) had recorded eight points in their past five games before the loss. They fell to 2-3 at home this season.

“Definitely,” Zach Bogosian said when asked if it was difficult to play in a half-empty building. “It’s never good feeling when you come out and you are all pumped up and there’s not that many people in the stands. After playing here for three years, you kind of get used to it. The more fans would be a lot better but it’s not an excuse we can use.”

Here are the home attendance figures so far this season:

Oct. 8 vs. Washington – 15, 596

Oct. 20 vs. Buffalo – 8,820

Oct. 22 vs. Tampa Bay – 9,138

Oct. 29 vs. Buffalo – 10,172

Nov. 4 vs. Columbus – 8,461

That’s an average home attendance this season of  10, 437. Take away the season opener and it is 9,148.

I asked coach Craig Ramsay following the game if the atmosphere in the building was becoming an issue.

“You have to create your own atmosphere,” he said. “If you go on the road, somebody is yelling at you. It gives you a little edge sometimes. It’s up to us to create an atmosphere.”

The Thrashers appear early on to be a better than last season. They missed out on the playoffs by five points then so they figure to be in the hunt this year.

One thing I can tell you is not to make the leap between poor attendance and the franchise moving at this point. I chased down yet another rumor (this one by a guy who writes about hockey lifestyle) that the Thrashers were being sold. I can tell from from two sources that it is not true. Think about it folks, even as the team looks for investors, what person(s) would buy and/or invest in a team still in litigation? Until that is resolved nothing will happen.

So, what’s keeping folks away?

Let me know what you think.

I’m at practice and will update with two other blogs when it’s finished. I apologize for the lack of blogs yesterday, but I needed to sleep  after getting back from Florida and then covering Thursday’s game.

133 comments Add your comment

gsukevin

November 5th, 2010
11:30 am

Each loss at home drives the dagger further into the heart of the franchise. Atlanta is a sprawling city and it takes time and money for people to get to Philips arena. The uninspired play by the Thrashers in their building doesn’t make it worth it. Win at home. I don’t care if they lose EVERY away game from here on out. Just win at home, and maybe, just maybe, the philips/thrashers experience will become worth it for people to forfeit the bucks.

RiceOwls

November 5th, 2010
11:33 am

Until the team starts winning, the attenendance will suffer. The playoff year the stands were packed during the playoff run.

Jeff Jones

November 5th, 2010
11:34 am

Obviously different circumstances due to the different time of year and stadium size, but Braves attendance wasn’t that great either. They were in first place for like three months and I don’t think they sold out more than once during that time.

I’m not sure if this is necessarily reflective of the Thrashers or if it’s just the trend in Atlanta sports attendance in general.

Everett

November 5th, 2010
11:35 am

It almost feels like you can just save this as a template for a blog post each season… It’s infortunate because the core fan base is there. The last thing I want to see is the games to be strictly marketed as a social scene, but that may be what it takes. You can’t create false passion in the building no matter how hard you try though. Something has to be done to make fans care about this team the way I and about 8,000 others do.

Eileen

November 5th, 2010
11:35 am

Give the fans a 100 percent effort every game despite how many fans are in the seats and maybe the arena will fill up. The home play of this team leaves a fan with an angry feeling. Not only is it expensive, but it is very hard to get to Philips during the week. Why make the effort to watch a miserable effort? Losing is one thing when a team gives it all. It is another when the team seems half asleep. It is on the teams shoulders to pick up the play BEFORE the fans show up. Not the other way around.

Mike

November 5th, 2010
11:38 am

Sorry, but attendance isn’t the issue. It’s the players showing no interest in the game. Fact: start playing good at home. Win or loss, if you show a good hard working effort at home, people will come watch. As for Zach, grow a pair of pebbles and tighten up your game. The first goal was your fault last night you lazy SOB, don’t expect people to use their hard earned money to come watch your sorry ass skate around like its your first time on the ice

Eileen

November 5th, 2010
11:38 am

C-Viv, there are several reasons expressed by fans on the fan blog concerning attendance.

JLC

November 5th, 2010
11:39 am

I think it’s because they are playing hockey?

RK

November 5th, 2010
11:39 am

I was there last night…because I got free tickets. Where is the organ? Or any music? One guy with a drum and that’s all? If they had Braves-like ticket prices, they would do better, but I’m not about to drop $35 to sit in the upper level.

Jlew

November 5th, 2010
11:39 am

Season ticket holder speaking: I’ve been to 3 of five games. All 3 are losses — bad losses. Not close exciting, they played their hearts out but got outworked losses, but they didn’t show up losses. You’re not hearing a panic button, just a little frustration from a loyal fan.

Smoothie

November 5th, 2010
11:42 am

How about play 3 or 4 games up the road in Gwinnett on nites they don’t have anything going on? Just get that 8-11 thousand in a 13 K arena and at least it will look full and seem a heckuva lot noisier. Of course, they may be a violation of their lease agreement / covenant terms, but as long as the bond payments are made, will the city even notice? LOL

Joe Friday

November 5th, 2010
11:45 am

“So, what’s keeping folks away?”

1)Don Waddell killed the fan base in his 10 year tenure as GM. Many naive fans supported him “patience, he’s building the team the right way . . . ” and the owners kept him in place as he slowly and surely drove the fans away, one by one, to where we are today.

2)The moronic decision to move the weekday start times to 7pm has driven fans away. Why plunk downs $1000s when more than 1/2 the games are held at 7pm in the worst possible location to get to in a city that has the 2nd worst traffic in the nation? One has to leave work early, and fight 1 1/2 hours of traffic to try to just possible get there in time for puck drop. Moronic.

3)Bad ownership and low payroll = you get what you pay for

4)Economy

5)Georgia is a football town and the casual fan won’t pay attention until high school and college ball are done

Great, thanks for shooting down the rumors of a pending sale of the club, there goes that pipedream for hope, Happy Friday to you too!

Daculafan

November 5th, 2010
11:46 am

I think that this is not just due to the team’s sometimes lackluster performances on the ice but the ongoing financial stress in the area. Keep in mind that Georgia’s unemployment rate is actually higher than the national average right now, and that the jobs that are available tend to be at much lower pay rates that there used to be.

That’s possibly one reason for the low attendance, the other is squarely on the Thrashers and the Atlanta Spirit. First off, they’ve quit selling the 400 section. That was a section that usually had some good attendance because of it’s low cost and it’s appeal to the college crowd. I don’t know if the Spirit is thinking that they don’t want to sell 10 dollar tickets only to see those people sitting in the lower level because of the open seats in the arena but 10 dollars last time I checked is still more than nothing.

I think if the team could put together an nice winning streak that it would help to get more of a buzz going about the team and bring people into the building. Even the hardcore fans are staying away more this year..the reason is that we are simply weary of this teams overall track record and it’s becoming more enticing to just sit at the house and watch the game there..that way when it’s a blowout by the beginning of the 3rd period I can switch to another channel.

Overall this team needs to market the seats for cheaper or start winning or both.

Jimbo

November 5th, 2010
11:49 am

It’s clearly the product that they put on the ice when playing at home. Ramsey insisted that we would control our own building and set the style and tempo for home games. It’s been exactly the opposite. We come out in the first period with no hustle or grit, fall behind and then have to chase the rest of the game. When we play on the road, virtually every other team comes out charging in the first period and sets the tone for the game. We’ve been lucky enough to come back on several. Not so at home. This is not a new problem for us. Anderson couldn’t get the team motivated to come out smoking and apparently Ramsey can’t either. The last period last night was enough to make even diehard fans throw up. Columbus absolutely controlled the play. They set up in our zone, outhustled us for every loose puck, and played keep away. We were on our way out when the last faceoff occured. Ramsey sets up a play and it works perfectly- FOR COLUMBUS. If he can’t motivate or threaten this team to show something at home, they might as well be playing in their practice rink for all the fans that they’ll draw. Give us a product worthy of the NHL and we’ll support it.

Marc

November 5th, 2010
11:52 am

There are several reasons why attendance is low:
1) Hockey in the South is not a big draw and will not be a big draw until they win.
2) The hockey fan base here is mostly for other teams and the visiting team will sell more tickets than the Thrashers.
3) It’s a pain to get to – it’s not really a traffic issue around Philips, but with no street parking and getting north or south on 75/85 being an issue it will drive away (no pun intended) the casual fan.
4) I don’t buy the price issue because you can buy $15 seats in the 400 and sit center ice.
All that said I’m not sure what or where the marketing department is? Why not go to schools and offer a free ticket to kids who read or get A’s.
Why not have a pay what you weigh night where kids pay $.10 a pound. There are 100’s of possibilities but I never see anything interesting or fun. With GA State and GA Tech right there I rarely see students in the building; create two sections, one on each side, and have one for Tech and another for State; create competition where the winning school gets a visit by the team.
Just my thoughts…

Darkhorse

November 5th, 2010
11:53 am

I agree with everyone here. There are a million reasons why many people I know quit going to Thrasher games, and why I go to only about half as many as I did the first 8 years(kids, money, time, jobs, lack of a job, traffic, other weeknight commitments, mental/physical exhaustion from the job, appathy to the product, and on and on and on….). The one constant though with everyone I talk to is the product on HOME ice has underperformed for far too long now. I don’t pay 10 bucks to go watch a crappy movie in a theatre anymore when I can wait to see it in the comfort of my home if I hear it’s woth it later. Why should should the lack of effort and winning from our hockey team be any different?

Thanks for looking into the latest ownership rumors Chris. It’s all wishful thinking they could actually sell them to someone who cares.

nicholas

November 5th, 2010
11:54 am

if you get them in the door, they’ll enjoy the game. hockey games are quite possibly the best sport to see live. i’ve got a lot of my friends really into this franchise just by bringing them to the game with me. the atmosphere, even in a less than half full philips arena, is electric. as a hockey fan, they don’t have to do anything to get me to go to games except have it in atlanta. to outsiders and people that haven’t been to a game before; they need some sort of incentive to get into the arena. the chick-fil-a family nights and the new thirsty thursday promotions, in my opinion, are great ideas, but they’re marketed poorly. last year, they had the thrashers thursdays with cheap tickets and i went virtually every thursday. however, i need to give some credit to the franchise for doing the dynamic ticket pricing, which makes games during the week against weaker teams, cheaper. it was a great move, but not many people realize that it even exists. also, last year (and seemingly this year), there’s no promotional giveaway nights. not even a magnetic schedule. people will flock to places that give out free promotional items, especially if the team is playing well.

i agree with the above comments saying that winning is important to get fans in the stands, but the team has to be a better job of marketing (our stand out players, ticket plans, etc) itself to the people in atlanta and surrounding areas. rick dudley’s done this before; he got fans back in the stands when he was with buffalo by bringing in dynamic players and he’s done the same thing here, so i really trust that he’s made the proper steps to turn this trend around. it’s really up to the team to show that they’re worth the money to go downtown and see a game.

NHL Ready

November 5th, 2010
11:56 am

I am sure there is not one thing in general but in my opinion the Thrashers get very little press (local TV News) and they do not advertise very well. Also losing at home and overall record not that impressive. I been to the games and even with a small crowd the building can get loud but a game like last night is a big disappointment. Makes you wonder why did I spend all that money. Oh yes Hockey tickets to most are still considered expensive.
The big factor is that we do not have a Franchise Player. I can see that the Thrashers are trying to promote Kane as a poster child and so called Franchise player. It does’nt work for me and I wonder how other real hockey fans think about that. We need a big name and start to win on a regular basis or have one of our current players step up and take over. The only player who plays hard every game so far is Big Buff the rest are a hit and miss. Need all of them to play hard and pick a Captain I hate not having a Captain. Just my opinion.

RK

November 5th, 2010
11:57 am

They wouldn’t have enjoyed last night’s game, nicholas. It was quite sad.

On the bright side, attendance was so bad last night that you could sit wherever you wanted. Even by Jason Heyward…

R. Stroz

November 5th, 2010
11:58 am

Joe Bob Friday – You covered all the points save one:

This team has NEVER kept any of their top tier talent nor procured a top tier free agent.

Furthermore, in that vein, NONE of the players brought in at the end of last season or via trade from Chicago have been signed to a multi-year contract.

Management and ownership have done NOTHING to address the player retention issue, NOTHING.

Chago

November 5th, 2010
12:04 pm

What about giving away free tickets? I live in Tampa, the Rumor has it that the Rays made more money from concession and merchandise sales, than they did on the nights they sold a handful of tickets. The other promotion the Rays did was to to have post-game concerts.

That could be something that can work in ATL. book someone like Usher after Friday or Saturday games and get people who don’t know about hockey to come watch the game. ATL seems to have three types of fans, the diehards, the star chasers, and the winning is entertaining fan. The first will be there regardless of the promotion. The second will come to see a musician or a prolific goal scorer (e.g. Capitals, Lighting games). The third will come with time, the team must change, and maintain a winning culture and attitude and start wining awesome games, because the third group wants to be entertained. The benefit to catering to the second and third group, is if you teach them about what makes hockey awesome, they will transition in to the first group – The Diehards!

I was raised in south, and if it wasn’t for a girl I was dating from the Midwest, I would’ve never cared about hockey (ironic it took a chic, I know). But I had to not only learn the language of the game (forecheck, backcheck, crosschecking, ect), but I had to learn the strategy – learning the strategy made the game entertaining and helped me transition into a Diehard…

So, to answer your original question, what’s keeping fans away? Ignorance. Atlantians don’t know what makes hockey entertaining, the perception is that it’s a cold version of soccer and MMA. Education is the key, maybe with some commercials from marketable individuals about “why I love hockey” could increase the knowledge, and draw attention.

Now that the holiday season is coming try marketing the euphoria felt on Christmas day when you open a gift. That’s the feeling you get when the Thrashers score a goal. Or is that just me?

MM

November 5th, 2010
12:04 pm

The WINNING WNBA Dream are used to low attendance also. Price is certainly a factor.

Really????

November 5th, 2010
12:04 pm

you have to ask that question! AS has engaged in some of the crappiest marketing known. So now they are paying the price of year after year of poor on ice product and a bad economy. Even though I think this years team is much improved I have to think twice before I spend what few entertainment dollars i have on bad customer service at the rink. I want to enjoy myself when I spend my hard earned money not feel like a piece of crap from the staff at the rink. And what sucks the team is suffering from AS lack of good customer service

Chago

November 5th, 2010
12:04 pm

Sorry for the long dissertation…

JoeMac

November 5th, 2010
12:05 pm

The Thrashers have always been a joke of a franchise, and it is not a surprise they are not drawing. On the other hand, years ago when the Flames were here, they were wonderful to go watch and I followed them with a passion. The Thrashers… well all I can say is …Yawn!

Eileen

November 5th, 2010
12:05 pm

I have to agree about the “marketing” department. I like the commercials. There needs to a “get to the game” movement. Win tickets. Free tickets in the less expensive seats. Something. The half season ticket holders should be offered discounted tickets on the nights they did not buy. I have said for a long time that the players are only involved in community projects. Not to the paying fans and their kids.

Toby

November 5th, 2010
12:06 pm

It’s all about winning. The year they made the playoffs, the average was over 16k. People made the trek to the arena then. I think people are sick of spending $$ to watch a crappy team which is currently the lowest payroll in the league

Eileen

November 5th, 2010
12:07 pm

I hope that did not sound like I don’t support the community support. I meant that in addition to that it would be nice to have an event with the fans and their kids other than STH autograph night.

Telfo

November 5th, 2010
12:11 pm

Atlanta Spirit is terrible at marketing. Sure they do plenty of ticket discounts and everything, but the only people that ever know about them are the ones that already go to games. You dont even see commercials anywhere but on Sport South.

Economy is probably the main reason it has nose dived even further the last couple seasons, but that is hardly the only reason.

The fact is, the team(owners) has never done much to try and grow the fan base. They have not tried at all to convert any of the thousands of hockey fans(of other teams) that live here into Thrashers fans. I would venture to guess there are more Red Wings fans in this city than Thrashers fans. They really have done a terrible job of trying to create awareness and new fans. They would be better off giving away 5000 tickets a game to schools and whoever else just to get people in the building. If you get people to see a game(a good one, not like last night) chances are you can convert a lot of those people into regulars.

The season ticket base has dwindled every year because of losing, we just dont have the strong base we used to that makes the attendance on weeknights at least passable.

in short….

MARKETING-come up with some new and creative ideas, just get butts in seats even if you give them away, better than being empty

ECONOMY-nothing you can do about it, just gotta get thru it.

OWNERSHIP- i think everyone knows they dont care about the team at all and wish they could get rid of it, I hope they sell it as soon as the lawsuits are over(if that ever happens). A good owner could make the team profitable. If Nashville can turn a profit there is no reason this team cant.

WIN- the team has to have some sort of success in this market to stay in the public eye, they have slowly faded away to the point that people forget they even exist and we dont have enough die hard fans to support this team alone. the casual fans have to be won back.

Darkhorse

November 5th, 2010
12:13 pm

Yeah, Imagine if I had brought some hockey first timers with money to burn to the Columbus game, or the first Sabres game, or the Lightning beat down a few weeks back. Do you think they would be rushing to get back to see those awful showings by the home team?

We all agree it starts at the top though. It’s ownership and managements fault more people stay away these days.

That said, I will be there with a group tomorrow night, rooting the team on, and hoping to see a great effort and maybe a win.

nicholas

November 5th, 2010
12:14 pm

they should also lower the ticket prices in the lower bowl after the first period. getting SOME money for those seats is better than not making any money at all on them. i agree with all the comments regarding the expensiveness of seats and lacking ticket giveaways. sure, ben wright does a giveaway every 5 home game, which i love, but no one knows that he’s doing it.

also, i’ll gladly run the promotional department for this team. just pay me in singles and 3 free tickets to each home game. thanks.

Laura

November 5th, 2010
12:18 pm

To the people complaining about prices – the 400 section was closed, but now you get to sit in the 300 section for the same price you paid for the 400s previously. $10 average for the top part of the 300s, but with flexible pricing tickets can be as low as $6! Totally uninspired play last night made even the $6 ticket seem excessive, but that is a different problem.

HungryCoyote

November 5th, 2010
12:21 pm

I’m here to quell the myth that winning games DOES NOT EQUAL INCREASED ATTENDANCE!! Tell that to the upper-management of the Phoenix Coyote’s and see how far your ‘proposed equation’ will get you.

You want butt’s in seats? Try an Advertising-Marketing Blitz? (why not?)Who remembers the Kovalchuck Billboard on I-85North? Try it again this time with a picture of Burmi or Buff.

The “Pizza Don” Waddell said himself “3-4 millon people in Atlanta don’t even know about the Thrashers”. Try advertising Billboards, MARTA, Jackson-Hartsfield.Where thousands of people move each day and are somewhat inclined to pay attention to the flashy signs on the walls.

Yeah, and the tickets and concessions could use a major overhaul, in an erratic shifting economic climate where folk’s are now getting around to actually THINKING about the money they work for to spend.

GO THRASHERS!!!

Catsup Tickles

November 5th, 2010
12:25 pm

Easy answer: Boring, apathetic, lackluster team play. They are so boring to watch…even on TV when I’m not paying for a ticket.

Mr. Heat Miser

November 5th, 2010
12:28 pm

Get our marketing folks back from the Caps. When they left it went to crap. This is embarassing.

Hank

November 5th, 2010
12:35 pm

The problem is nobody in Atlanta cares about hockey. Like most fair-weather cities, fans will only show up when they have a winning team.
It’s not like Green Bay is with football or Edmonton with hockey where the fans will support their favorite sport no matter how bad the home team is.
The Thrashers could win the Cup this year and if they faltered a little the next season, nobody would show up.
The NHL wants to say that ‘winning cures everything’ but even by giving away useless third-points in OT and SO losses, some teams have to lose more than others.
Unless they make rules so that all the bad hockey markets such as Atlanta, Phoenix and Florida make the Conference Finals every year, those cities will always suck as hockey towns.
The only solution is to contract or move the team. Hockey will never ever succeed in Georgia.

joedaiceman

November 5th, 2010
12:36 pm

As a second year season ticket holder, I go to the games because I love the game of hockey. Although I appreciate the Thrashers, I would not call myself a fan because they have not shown me the heart, attitude and commitment that would turn me into a fan. And by the way, that is not a comment about just the players, it is as much about the owners and management.

Eileen

November 5th, 2010
12:36 pm

Yeah you can get a cheap seat if you want to sit in the 300s. However, sitting in traffic for an hour, parking and at the least buying a beverage certainly adds $$$ to one’s time and effort. However it is a lot more motivating to attend if the fan is going to be entertained. I am a die hard fan and frequent paying customer, but I can guarantee a team in an unfamiliar division on a week night will not be well attended.

litz

November 5th, 2010
12:39 pm

You know … it’s only what … 15 games into the season?

A key test is going to be whether or not the team (and the fans) bother to show up Sat against the Blackhawks.

If the Blackhawks come in here and steamroll us with 8,000 people in the stands on a saturday night … ugly, just plain ugly.

JS

November 5th, 2010
12:39 pm

I agree with most of what is being said above. The common thread is lack of excitement on home ice. These guys have played fairly well on the road, but other than opening night they have been down right awful at home. I am a first time STH because my kids have always been tied up in travel hockey and we were always gone 2-3 weekends a month supporting that hockey habit. Now that they are grown I decided to support the team financially by buying season tix, but after the last four home games I am really questioning that decision. Luckily they have intersted me in a few of the road games on TV so I will give them some more time before I make a decision for next year. If a casual fan went to the Sabres, Lightning, or Blue Jackets game and have not been watching on TV there is no way you are getting them back in the arena without some sort of promotion. Those four games were hard to stomach, and I am an avid fan.
If you want to build a fan base then you have to start with the kids. They can more easily pull dollars out of their parents pocketthan anyone. It may take a couple of years of giving away tickets to schools for good grades, but hen again they will spend money when they get there. As someone said above, something is better than nothing. you also have the opportunity to sell your “brand” if the team is playing well. it’s a tough climate right now, but if they sit back and do nothing, I am afraid they will not like the results.

Look what Aurhtur Blank did with the Falcons. He lowered ticket prices, improved the game day experience, and has made sure the team has been competitive. All this created a new fan base, and he has been able to keep the majority of them through the product on the field.

Smoothie

November 5th, 2010
12:51 pm

I agree that the price of parking and concessions can really make it hard on young families who WANT to watch hockey. But if you’re young, single and / or in college, there’s no excuse other than studying I suppose, but who does THAT?? LOL Young twenty-somethings should have no problem shelling out $10 for 300’s and getting buzzed off two Gorin’s beers. If you don’t have the money, get a part-time job!! I did and I wasted my money on other things cuz I didn’t have access to ML sports!

Russian

November 5th, 2010
12:55 pm

Why I stay home and watched Thrashers on TV? I DO NOT CARE about:
1. Traffic – MARTA is always ride
2. Game Time – I am working 30 minutes (MARTA ride) from Downtown
3. Price Ticket – I can buy $15 ticket and see a game.
4. Kids – My sons are in College. No need to bad time story.
5. NFL or College Football or Braves.
THEN – Why I am not Ticket Holder?
BECAUSE – Team did not play or give me 110% hockey. I could not enjoy to watch a game. I like to see Detroit or Chicago or Philidelphia playing Hockey. It is interesting show. Every time when I watched a game on TV, I kept myself that they are goignt to lose. If they win a game. It is A MIRACLE, something important happened in Sky.

Gladfan

November 5th, 2010
12:57 pm

My take is that the cumulative expense for a suburbanite to get into your seat at Philips Arena makes a Thrasher game very unattractive proposition.
An hour to get to downtown and an hour to get home, the parking cost if you drive instead of Marta to the game, the overpriced concessions,and finally the price of tickets.
I enjoy watching junior hockey and minor league hockey equally as much as NHL hockey, but in my thinking junior hockey & minor league hockey are great entertainment bargains and the NHL is not.

Russian

November 5th, 2010
12:57 pm

Chris,
By the way, It is a good Post. I like it. Thank you.

Nate

November 5th, 2010
1:00 pm

Joe Friday said it best with his points. Some also mentioned lack of marketing which is very true. I’ve always felt the Thrashers and the NHL in general, should use a marketing campaign splicing football hits with hockey hits to market to the football crowd.

The other reason, as others have stated, is the lackluster effort on home ice. It costs me at the very least, $5 for parking, $10 for a ticket, $6 for food/drink. That’s $21 for just one person. How the hell is a family supposed to afford that in this economy?

CT in CP

November 5th, 2010
1:01 pm

The Waddell administration drove the fan base away. I was a season up until the year after the playoff run. In addiiton to fielding a losing team, the team was offering seats similar to mine at half price with all of the specials they ran. Why would someone pay full price? After that, I got out of the habit of going unless I was offered free tickets.

If the team makes the playoffs, I might go to those games, but until there is a winning product on the ice, why bother?

P.S. Settle the case already!

Smoothie

November 5th, 2010
1:03 pm

“An hour to get to downtown and an hour to get home, the parking cost if you drive instead of Marta to the game”

Ahh yes, the hidden opportunity costs on top of overpriced concessions, parking and in some cases, tkts. Why sit in a car for 2 hours when you can watch the game live on TV in HD from the comfort of your couch, and then turn the channel when CBJ strangles us with the trap?

J (Z)

November 5th, 2010
1:05 pm

Don’t forget there was a GT football game last night and we were playing Columbus. A team who is off to a good start but over their history has been just as bad as us. Weeknight games like that, I KNEW we’d break the attendance record. I had 4 club seats last night and had trouble giving them away to friends :(

C-Viv – any way to gather up attendance figures for weeknight games against the CBJ’s in out history?

A winning streak will do wonders, I promise!

Thomas Magnum

November 5th, 2010
1:10 pm

I think its many different reasons. 7 o’clock starts during the week, ticket prices during a bad economy, having a bad team for 10 years, hockey in the south, traffic, Don Waddell still being with the franchise, the amount of turn over every year that causes a casual fan not to be able to keep up with the player movement, the hatred for the ownership group and the feeling by the fan base of a lack of accountability, not winning enough at home, not have a “star” player like kovalchuk to market, lack of a good marketing strategy in general, and not spending enough money on players leaving the fans to think the ownership group does not care about putting a quality product on the ice.

I could probably come up with 10 more reasons that contribute to the lack of attendance at games. They are all factors and all important. At this point I think the 3 best things that could happen to this franchise is for it to be sold (to anyone, it really couldn’t be much worse but also better if they spent a little more money on players), for the team to win and make it to the playoffs, and for the team to win and to make it to the playoffs.

K

November 5th, 2010
1:10 pm

Every year they raise ticket prices. In this economy, in this market — where fans must be cultivated — it doesn’t make sense.

Growing up, the Astros were my local MLB team. People in Texas love baseball, so why was attendance (in the early 70s) so low? It takes time to cultivate fans. It’s taken a generation of parents taking their kids to games to get solid attendance at Astros games. The problem is more difficult in Atlanta, as hockey isn’t a game most people are familiar with or grew up playing. Plus, the cost of attending a MLB game (and getting pretty good seats), for example, is nominal compared to a hockey game.

At Thrashers games seats on the glass are so overpriced now that I won’t even pay for them — and I used to drop a lot to get awesome seats. Now I sit behind the goal — and even those tickets aren’t exactly cheap. I think they are pricing out even passionate fans who have money. I think dropping ticket prices significantly to get butts in the seats and fill the arena would be a good start. Getting eyeballs watching the games and knowledgable hockey fans who love the game will follow. If you at least get people through the door, they will pay for parking, buy food and drinks, etc.

Target local college students like Pittsburgh does. They do great promos to get students excited and cultivate loyalty. Why not give our local college students deals on great seats? Those Georgia Tech (and other college) students will eventually graduate, get jobs and be fans of the game. Just one small idea: Emulate what has worked for other teams, but sharply tailor it to your specific market.

So much more could be done to woo the local population and foster a love of the game. Just look at what the Dallas Stars have done for hockey in Texas. My old high school, near the beach in hot, humid SE Texas has a hockey team now. That’s progress. And the Thrashers could do that in Atlanta if they cared/tried a little harder. It bothers me that the people of the city are apparently to blame for not showing up. Just because you put a team here doesn’t mean people will flock to you. This isn’t the NFL. Make them come. Compel them to come. Give them a damn reason to come! Make the NHL experience in Atlanta unmissable.