Would starting weeknight Thrashers games 30 minutes later really make a difference?

One of the topics that pops up every now and then on these blogs is the subject of weeknight start times. As you know, Thrashers games normally are scheduled to begin at 7:00 during the weeknights…that translates to a puck-drop of around 7:10. But many people have expressed their desire to have this moved back 30 minutes to 7:30…dropping the puck at about 7:40-ish.

The reason for this is very simple…with so many fans living outside the perimeter, (or OTP), getting from their places of employment to the games is a challenge. This is complicated even further if they are to swing by the house to pick up the spouse and/or kids. That extra 30 minutes, they say, will make all the difference in the world between being able to get to weeknight games and not being able to do so.

I can certainly appreciate that.

Of course, that translates into more dollars being parted ways with for tickets…not to mention parking, souvenirs, food and drink.

However, the trade off here is when the game ends keeping these same fans out 30 minutes later than usual. If the kids are of school age, then that means they are getting to bed 30 minutes later than normal in order to get up for school the next morning.

As a parent, I definitely can appreciate that as well.

When would you like to see Thrashers games begin during the week?

  • 7:00 pm (31%, 33 Votes)
  • 7:30 pm (69%, 74 Votes)

Total Voters: 107

Loading ... Loading ...

For me, if a game starts at or shortly after 7:00, then I know a regulation game will be over at about 9:30-ish. Under normal circumstances, that means I will be back home in the Kennesaw/Acworth area sometime around 10:15 or 10:30…although most of the time it’s later for me since I like attend the Taco Mac post-game show for a while. I’m sure, however, that those in the Roswell/Alpharetta or Duluth areas have the same ETAs.

Start a game at 7:30, and that pushed the home arrival to about 10:45 or 11:00. That’s no problem for me even if I have the tax exemptions with me… given that they are 17 and 16 years of age…so for yours truly, it really makes no difference whatsoever. But again, that could be different for those who have young-uns in the elementary school age.

So personally, it doesn’t matter if the start at 7:00 or 7:30…but what I’m looking for here is your opinion. I know regulars will chime in, however I’m also hoping that the many lurkers we have will do so as well as I’m sure the fine people who consider such things inside the organization would very much value your input.

Now, is there something we can point to…a game that started any other time during the week than 7:00…to use as a “for instance” when debating start times for Thrashers games?

Well, I’m glad you ask…as a matter of fact there is. See, there was a Wednesday game against the Ottawa Senators played just last season that was televised nationally in Canada. For that reason, the game here in Atlanta was slated for 7:30. I was there that night…a 3-2 loss to the Sens.

I remember anticipating going to that game for two reasons. One…I wanted to see this new kid the Thrashers had just plucked off the waiver wire by the name of Rich Peverley…and two, I was curious to see whether or not moving the start time back 30 minutes would indeed make a difference in the crowd size.

To be honest, there really was no noticeable difference than any other weeknight game that season. The “announced” attendance…14,163.

Of course I use “quotes” around the word attendance because what normally is “announced” is not always indicative of “how many” fans attended…but that’s a subject for another day.

Regardless, I did a little digging into other weeknight games just before and just after that January 14th one and looked at the attendance numbers from those games that were played during the week but started at the normal time of 7:00.

Here is what I found from that small sampling:

Wednesday December 10 vs. NYR, (3-2 OTL): 13,704

Tuesday January 20 vs. Montreal, (4-2 W): 13,076

Wednesday February 11 vs. Chicago, (3-1 L): 14,029

Tuesday February 24 vs. Colorado, (4-3 W): 12,101

Thursday March 26 vs. vs. NYR, (5-4 SOW) 13,157

Wednesday April 1 vs. Buffalo, (4-3 OTW): 15,038

The average announced attendance for those six games in the sample is 13,517…646 less than the Wednesday January 14 game against Ottawa that started at 7:30. Obviously this isn’t a scientific study by any means, but like I said…I was there in January 14 and I remember that the start time played no visible role in boosting the number of fans in attendance.

Obviously this isn’t a “scientific” study by any means and, admittedly…its just one game. But at least it is something to use in comparison to the normal 7:00 start time.

And I’ll add this in closing… when it comes to attendance, there is this other line of thought that goes…”win and they will come”. And that, my friends, is ultimately the side that I fall on. The more this team wins consistently…and wins consistently at home…the less and less it’ll matter what time the puck  drops.

104 comments Add your comment

Dwayne

November 6th, 2009
1:16 pm

Alan R.

November 6th, 2009
1:24 pm

Second, or SILVER!

Ryan

November 6th, 2009
1:25 pm

Attendance in all sports is pretty simple, all you have to do is read the final paragraph. While 30 minutes here or there could make a difference for some people, it probably evens out when you take into account all people (for instance, I live downtown and get up early for work, so I’m more likely to go to an early game, but someone else may need time to come in from OTP). The bottom line is win and the arena becomes the place to be. People will work around the time if they truly want to attend an event

Sara

November 6th, 2009
1:26 pm

To me, it doesn’t matter what time the games start during the week – with a few notable exceptions over the years, I don’t do weekday games. Period. My girls are in bed before the 2nd period is even half-way over. No chance I’m dragging them out on a school-night. And my guess is I’m not the only parent who feels that way. Therefore, I think it’s ridiculous to schedule for families with young children because I’d wager the majority of ATL families are like mine – just not gonna do it.

LAC

November 6th, 2009
1:35 pm

The main thing is parents who have kids… on a school night, home later
less sleep all that stuff. Might hinder the players on back to back games with one here and one out of town. We could care less about other teams ! Maybe it would annoy them or the like.

So I agree with Sara, mine are grown so no issue for me.

somaatl95

November 6th, 2009
1:36 pm

Yes, it all boils down to winning the game – as the points increase so will the rear ends parking it in the seats – but anyone that has to suffer through Atlanta traffic (especially if a drop of rain enters the picture) knows how hard it is to get to Phillips on time. As far as the time situation goes look at the other sports throughout the world that start later than 7PM. Growing up if I had the joy of going to a braves game (usually starts at 7:35 and ends closer to 11PM) I was still expected by my parents and teachers to get up and go to school. I don’t speak for anyone else when I say that while a Professional Game should be safe for a family atmosphere the game time should not be dictated to get the little taters home in time for school tomorrow. If a grown man goes to a game, drinks entirely wayyyy too much and ends up getting at home past 2AM he is still expected to get up and go to work the next day. If the Braves and Falcons have packed games (with Children as well) and they start in prime time, what keeps the Thrashers from doing the same thing? Anyone who lives/works outside of Fulton and DeKalb play hell getting to the arena, parked, and inside the arena before puck drop – and god forbid you want arena food, a $6 beer or $4 coke as well and want to beat puck drop. No disrespect to any parent that reads this, not one bit, but we all grew up with late sporting events and did just fine at school the next day – why should things change?

Smoothie

November 6th, 2009
1:37 pm

It doesn’t make so much a difference in attendance through the turnstiles as it does in who is there and IN A SEAT between 7:08 and 7:45 for our first frustrating 20 mins of hockey. I can’t tell you how many times I am annonyed by the flood of people into seats in front of or below me while I’m trying to watch the latter stages of the 1st period. The team has nothing to feed off as 30-50% of the people coming to the game are still stuck in traffic. It’s more a matter of addressing the horrendous traffic in this town and being more accommodative of your actual supporters and STH’s.

Smoothie

November 6th, 2009
1:40 pm

BTW, Kane is gonna bring the pain on Saturday playing with the Big A and Crazy Legs…Tavares is going to cry for his mommy.

Miami Screaming Eagle

November 6th, 2009
1:45 pm

Win games, sign your stars (now) and show the folks you plan on being here 3 years from now. 7, 7:30 or 10:00, doesn’t matter if there’s commitment!

Sign Chelios so we have to attitude on the blue line!

BlueSpark

November 6th, 2009
1:47 pm

I work in Sandy Springs, and I have to say that taking MARTA is definitely the way to go. I can get to the game way before the puck drops with no hassle. Getting back, on the other hand, always means a packed train and some standing around. So I just make sure to have enough adult beverages so that I don’t mind the journey. Puts me home at about 11.

I agree with Sara about families though. If I’m going to take my boys, it will most likely be a Sunday 5PM game, not 7 or 7:30 game.

I wonder if having more of a crowd would make a difference to the team’s first period woes. I was thinking about that last night while watching the game on my DVR.

Rob

November 6th, 2009
1:48 pm

I don’t comment much, but I know I’ve talked about this before and nothing seems to happen. It’s like management doesn’t care. But I do understand why they start the games at 7, for families to be able to come. But I would like to echo Sara’s point that families with younger kids are not going to come to weeknight games no matter what the start time. Not with homework, dinner, etc. And with older kids, the extra 30 minutes isn’t going to matter anyway, they’re up just as much at 10:30 as they are at 11:00.
Also, looking at total attendance isn’t comparing apples to apples, because if you’re going to the game, you’re going if the game starts at 7 or 7:30. What a better comparison would be, is how many people were in the seats for the 7:30 start time as compared to the 7:00 start time. I would venture to guess that there are significantly more people with butts in seats for a 7:30 puck drop as compared to a 7:00 puck drop.
My vote on this then is to move the start times to 7:30. Given that families with younger children aren’t coming anyway, it doesn’t matter. All that does is give people that work OTP that extra 30 minutes to get downtown.
I’m an ex season ticket holder (mostly disgruntled at the product on the ice for the past 10 years), and I can tell you that I’ve given up on making puck drop for weeknight games. If I can make it by 7:30 or 7:35 I’m fine with that (which is right about half way through the first period)

Russian

November 6th, 2009
1:50 pm

Finnaly, Slava is going to 3-d line. I am interesting to see Kane in First line.
Could anybody drop me address for TJ restaurant? :-) I will come to Saturday Party. :-)
I do not care about 7:00 or 7:30 PM. I always take Marta to Philips arena on weekend games. I get the Arena at 6:30PM every time. My family did not go to hockey in weekend, only at Saturday or Sunday.

BG33Brown

November 6th, 2009
1:50 pm

Even at the 7pm games….How many kids are in attendance? In my 5 years of being a season ticket holder the answer is very few. So if kids don’t come on weeknights anyway, why not give the adult crowd a chance to get to the freaking games on time.

somaatl95

November 6th, 2009
1:55 pm

Hey Smoothie, if the past has shown anything Atlanta will never address its horrendous traffic – for anyone who had to sit in Olympic Traffic in 95 and early 96 while every major road was worked on we know its been a serious issue that nobody wants to address (that is Atlantas biggest bull in the china shop) Thanks to wonderful mismanagement of MARTA, and the perceived amount of crime that comes with it the City and Suburbs will NEVER embrace Rapid transit…
Bring the pain Kane!
And I go by this name on Xbox 360 and PS3 if anyone ever wants an online game of NHL10!

hip czech

November 6th, 2009
2:02 pm

Don’t the Braves have start times of 7:30 (well, 7:35 for the old TBS telecasts) for weekday games and 7:00 for Saturday games?

To me, that would be the way to go, 7:30 starts for weeknight games and 7:00 for Saturdays. But then again, we don’t have the school issue to worry about during the week…the tax exemptions are un-socialized homeschoolers.

Buzilla in CT

November 6th, 2009
2:27 pm

Going to be Buzilla on LI come tomorrow. I will have my TJ sign all ready to go Willy. I am so siked for this game. Plus its away so we have a good shot at winning. Wish Kovy was playing though

Smoothie

November 6th, 2009
2:35 pm

While we’re talking numbers, I’ve gleaned some stats from the first 12 games last season when we started out 3 – 7 – 2 and endured a miserable 6 game losing streak in which we were outscored by a whopping 29 to 12 margin. Ouch! Looking at the numbers you will see that we have made progress year over year, but we still have a number of issues that are keeping this team from accummulating points. To wit:

Pertinent stats from beginning 12 games of 2008-09 season:
1) negative goal differential of -15 (31 versus 46)
2) goals allowed average of 3.833
3) goals scored average of 2.5 (1 of 31 was a S/O “goal”)
4) even strength goal differential of -10 (ouch)
5) negative shot differential of -53 or avg of -4.42
6) Kozlov recorded 6 goals, 3 assists and a -4 in 12 gms
7) Little recorded 6 goals, 3 assists and a +2 in 12 gms
8 ) Kovy recorded 5 goals, 4 assists and a -3 in 12 gms

Pertinent stats from beginning 12 gms of 2009-10 season:
1) positive goal differential of +5 (includes S/O loss)
2) goals allowed avg of 3.00 (without S/O loss “goal”)
3) goals scored avg of 3.50
4) even strength goal differential of -2 (ATL has 2 S/H goals)
5) negative shot differential of -78 or avg of -6.50
6) Kozlov has 0 goals, 5 assists and a -2 thru 12 gms
7) Little has 2 goals, 6 assists and a +5 thru 12 gms
8 ) Kovy has 9 goals, 1 assist and a -1 thru 7.067 gms

So, are we a better team? I’d say yes, but only in certain respects namely special teams efficiency and goaltending / team defense. However, as far as being a more well-rounded, complete team, the jury is still out. The fact we are getting outshot so dramatically with better personnel in our Top 9 is a bit sobering. Perhaps it is due to the numerous new faces (Nik, Max, Kane) that is causing more fits and spurts this season.

Last year, JA demonstrated that he could fix things, sometimes only temporarily like the 5 game winning streak we went on after losing 6 in a row. But the team improved in just about every facet of the game from the 1st half to the 2nd half. Will that be the case this season or will the chemistry issues and lack of toughness continue to plague this team?

mar1jdh

November 6th, 2009
2:36 pm

I’m a 10 year ticket holder and parent of a 5 year old as well. The 7:00 times suck for me a as parent becuase I’m not taking my child on a weekday anyway (he goes to bed at eight) and I’m choose to go home after work, have a family dinner before I leave – generally leaving for the game around 6:45 once traffic breaks. I generally miss half to all of the first period on weeknights. (Even if I didn’t go home first its near impossible to leave Alpharetta at 5:30-6:00 and get to my seats by 7)

In addition, the sparse early corwds make for a dull atmosphere which probably turns off an occassional spectator from coming back. (And the empty philips experience and no TV’s on in the concourse probably are doing the same).

The 7:30 start time is imperative on all M-F games. The STH survey says its split 52-48 for 7, but I bet the 48% that want 7:30 are more irritated about 7 pm starts than the 52% that prefer 7:00 would be about 7:30 starts. (BTW, my account rep tried to blame the decision on teh NHL prefering 7:00 starts for TV reasons, but judging from our lack of TV exposure I know thats crap.)

It may not help the team win games but it will make for a better atmosphere in the arena and probably over the long term boost attendance if games started at 7:30.

Phil Foley - Atlanta Thrashers Examiner

November 6th, 2009
2:37 pm

This is always a topic of conversation between myself and some my colleagues, not only about the Thrashers and Hawks, but the Braves as well.

Living OTP, I personally think it is foolish to start games at 7:00 and was shocked when the Braves matched the Hawks and Thrashers and moved the bulk of their games (except Friday) to that time a few years ago.

Assuming you leave the office at 5 or 5:30, trek up to get the kids, fight traffic both ways, drive down to the ballpark/arena, you’re lucky to get there by opening faceoff. Hence you see really small crowds to start the game and a true lack of energy in the place until it fills up sometime during the middle of the first period.

Also, I don’t understand why it makes sense from a concessions standpoint. Would you rather have fans there early, eating, drinking, spending money, etc.? Or arrive late and lose out on a beer or two in revenue?

I understand the kids/babysitter argument. But for whatever reason, this seems to be the trend in sports, be it for local television or whatnot, I don’t know.

Personally, I’d much rather have a 7:30 start than a 7:00 one during the week, even if it means that I leave the arena at midnight instead of 11:30 or so when everything is filed.

mar1jdh

November 6th, 2009
2:38 pm

Why are all number eights ( 8 )becoming smiley faces?

Rawhide

November 6th, 2009
2:56 pm

Russian – Glad to read you’re coming to TJ’s tomorrow. See ya there.

mar1jdh – I have no idea how those 8s were turning into smilies…must be something with the coding that creates the emoticons. Anyway, I fixed ‘em…and thanks for the comments!

Rob – Thanks…exactly the kinda feedback I’m looking for.

Phil Foley – It’s always a hot topic…isn’t it. BTW, when we gonna hit the Kennesaw Taco Mac to look at an away game together?

Zilla – We’ll be looking for ya!

Matt A

November 6th, 2009
3:01 pm

Rob got it right … the impact on start time is seen in crowd size at the opening face off. Unless someone has statistics to show the breakdown of attendance by age range, I would suspect that anyone too young to attend a 7:30p start is also too young to attend a 7p start, so with that assumption, the later start seems like the better choice for weeknight games with holidays and weekends getting a 7p (or earlier) start.

somaatl95

November 6th, 2009
3:07 pm

A 7:30 start / 7:40 puck drop gives people enough time to get to their seats and get their lungs ready to scream “Woo-Hoo!” “Lets go Thrashers!” or “Shoot the *@!^&*@ Puck!” and gets the rest of the league off our collective backs. Until they know what we face to getting to Phillips on time they will always throw attendance at us when the ” (Insert Crazy Business Owner or Canadian Town Name Here) plans on buying and moving the Thrashers…” Why do all Atlanta teams take forever before they get a decent footing and make waves?

Smoothie

November 6th, 2009
3:12 pm

Bill, sorry for the statistical post, I forgot which blog I was on! Thought I was on C-Viv’s…I’ve obviously been posting too much today!

As for me and Special K, I’m not sure about tomorrow night as her mom has taken ill and they are at the doctor’s right now. We shall see, but I don’t think we’ll be able to leave the vicinity to go to Alpharetta. Sux cuz I’d love to meet Russian and some of the other bloggers.

Go Thrash! Flush the Island-turds!

Rawhide

November 6th, 2009
3:20 pm

Smoothie – So sorry to hear about Special K’s mom. Please forward to them both my best wishes and hopes for her speedy recovery!

Who cares...

November 6th, 2009
3:32 pm

…it is freakin’ hockey – I guess you might be able to tell the difference in attendance since only 25 people attend now, and that could go up to 30 or down to 20, so it seems to me to be a wash.

Hey, somaatl95...

November 6th, 2009
3:34 pm

…it’s because all “professional” Atlanta teams suck!

somaatl95

November 6th, 2009
3:35 pm

Lessons learned from Kindergarten – If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all!

Viking

November 6th, 2009
3:38 pm

Since I am lucky to live close to a Marta station on the east-west line, it makes life easier to get downtown avoiding traffic and parking hassles. However, this is only part of the problem, since you have to get home from work first.

7.00PM starts on a weekday is just out of the question. Not considering going. It is quite an investment in time, effort and money to attend a game. If you risk missing up to a third of the game or be exposed to severe stress beforehand, and if TV is available, it is the the obvious choice. If no TV, I rather sit and stare at the computer updates while listening to Kamal & Co., than experience more stress and aggravation than what live hockey would bring.

If there is some general NHL TV conformity to satisfy with a 7PM start, you would think that it would actually be a good thing to have the games a little staggered. At least for the viewers. Maybe not for commercial views, which increase during period pauses.

7.30PM for weekdays and 5.00PM on weekends!

Hey Coward....

November 6th, 2009
3:47 pm

Why don’t you grow a set and tell The Thrashers, Hawks, Braves and Falcons that to their faces? Oh yeah, because it’s much easier to sit behind a keyboard and troll on a whole citys “Professional” teams. Bet you’re one of those fairweather fans who rushed out to buy a yankees cap yesterday to replace the phillies cap from 2008. Most people come here for civil debate, NOT to be told their teams suck.

Smoothie

November 6th, 2009
3:47 pm

Bill, thanks for the well-wishes. She’s in a lot of pain so hopefully the prescription helps. How’s your brother faring since seeing the specialist?

EA

November 6th, 2009
3:48 pm

If 7:30 would bring in more adults/college students, I vote for it. There are not many young kids at the weeknight games. Sat. 7:00 and Sun 5:00 for families.

somaatl95

November 6th, 2009
3:48 pm

Brendan

November 6th, 2009
4:05 pm

I support the 7:30PM start time. And here’s why. If you are toting the youngsters, what’s that HALF HOUR really going to matter? If you’re bringing the kids out, it’s gonna be a “late night.” So, catering to the 7PM crowd doesn’t “seem” to make that much sense.

Chances are, people leave work at 5PM to rush home to go get the kids, then haul as fast as they can to the arena, fighting traffic all the way, and maybe stopping for “fast food” as a dinner solution at around 6PM-ish, to make the 7PM start. That’s crazy.

Might as well let the family sit around the dinner table and eat a healthy meal, while everyone gets a “reasonable” amount of time to change clothes into their Thrasher gear, for the game. That extra half hour gives you time to fight the traffic.

Games don’t usually take 3 hours anymore. It’s more like 2H, 40 minutes, unless there’s overtime and/or a shootout. Then it might go 3 hours. Is leaving the Arena at 9:45PM really that much better than 10:15 PM? It’s way past any child’s bedtime anyway. And if you want to go do the Taco Mac thing, have at it! Like I said, it’s a “late night” anyway.

Now, there are some traffic tips out there. That’s another blog topic, however! When I lived in Duluth, GA (Gwinnett County), I used Williams St. as a solution, and sometimes West Peachtree St. For those on the Southern Crescent, Harris St., off Spring St., is the fastest way to get a car load full of people onto I-85/I-75 South. So, park on Spring St. and walk the extra distance to make your quick get-a-way.

For an inexpensive lot, that gets you quickly up north as it does south, try the one next to the Courthouse/Martin Luther King Federal building. It’s adjacent to the CNN parking lot off of Marietta St. You walk through a very large parking lot, but you can either access the arena from the escalators or you can come up through the CNN parking garage, up the steps or elevator, and come into CNN through the side doors or into Philips under the A-T-L-A-N-T-A writing. It’s usually $3-$5 to park. There’s hardly anyone there, and you can exit right to Forsyth St. via Alabama St.

To avoid all the traffic, take Forsyth all the way past the Greyhound Bus station, and it winds around the Georgia Dept. of Transportation building, and dumps you right on to I-85 South. This route also works for I-20, off Martin Luther King, East and West bound. I don’t think escape route has ever failed. It’s a two-minute walk to the car, and another two minutes to the Interstate, North, East, West, or Southbound. I’ve never sat in the parking lot. Ever. Even for a soldout game. Just tryin’ to help, folks!

AuburnZ

November 6th, 2009
4:09 pm

I voted for 7:30. I don’t have tax exemptions, but hubby and I have to come from OTP to our home downtown to meet up for the games. Leaving work at 4:30 to make games is not always doable, though. If we leave on time from work, we have (just) enough time to stop at the Va-Hi Taco Mac for dinner and a couple of beers on our way, but we usually have to walk pretty fast through the parking deck to make puck drop. No time to buy concessions or anything which I would think would be important to ASG.

I have been a season ticket holder for a while now and have only been asked once (after the first year) for preferred start time. I don’t know who the ASG is asking, but it isn’t all of their STH base. I have asked around and haven’t found anyone who has been asked recently by ASG for their opinion on start time yet ASG always refers to this 52-48% split preference for the 7pm start time. I think it is the ASG employees themselves that prefer it since most of the sales and marketing people are at the game after putting in a full day of work so they would prefer to start earlier to get their day over with earlier.

Bill Tiller (Rawhide)

November 6th, 2009
4:19 pm

Smoothie – He’s better thanks…doctor said there should be no scaring due to the burns and no nerve damage. Considering he was on fire from the waste up for a few seconds…he’s gotten off quite lucky.

Everyone – I just found out that Tim and Mark Ecclestone will have 2 pairs of tickets to raffle off tomorrow night at the viewing party complements of the Atlanta Spirit and the NHL Alumni group.

Smoothie

November 6th, 2009
4:34 pm

Ooo, the vote is 19 to 10 in favor of 7:30…change we can believe in!

Bill, that’s great news about your brother!! Have fun tomorrow night…it’s looking more and more like we can’t make it…probably will have to look after moms. See you on Sunday though!

Nix

November 6th, 2009
5:06 pm

I work in Duluth and generally can’t leave the office before 6pm, so a 7:30 start time would be a huge help. I’m lucky if I can get to my seat before puck drop. When I do manage to get there on time, there is a huge difference in how many seats are filled at the start of the game and the end of the 1st period.

Wish I could join ya’ll tomorrow night, but I’ve got a birthday party to attend. Maybe next time…

Thrashers27

November 6th, 2009
5:28 pm

Smoothie….”Crazy Legs”…Love it!

Get The Puck Out

November 6th, 2009
6:11 pm

7:30. No doubt about it. I live north of Cherokee county so i need all the time i can get!

ranallo10 (in AT)

November 6th, 2009
6:22 pm

Start time never made a difference to me except for on one horrendous occasion…the first playoff game in franchise history. Normally leaving from Roswell (work) at 5pm meant in my seat by 6:30pm at the latest. Thursday traffic was especially bad for getting to games, but usually it’d only impact me by 15 minutes or so with some hot potato traffic jam handling. However, on the first playoff game I left work at 5pm, wasn’t to Lenox Road until 6pm, and didn’t come into the arena until fricking 7:15pm.

Of course, the one game I miss puck drop at is the first playoff game, and of course the first playoff game is wisely scheduled at the same time as a marathon/parade/some other traffic jam causing festivity in Buckhead and downtown Atlanta.

Otherwise, 7pm was never a problem for me. What I found interesting was that if I left at 5:30pm for a 7:30pm game, I would show up just before puck drop because traffic gets WORSE the closer to 7pm you leave.

So honestly I never experienced poor situations where a 7:30pm start would’ve been the cure to my Thrashers attendance woes. I’m sure others have wonderful reasons for supporting 7:30pm, but in my experience a little planning and sacrificing a dinner at home got me to the game on time. My priority however was hockey, not eating a family meal, so clearly opinions will vary from my own.

But again, I doubt 30 minutes is what is keeping season ticket holders and other casual viewers from selling out the arena. How many games do the Braves sellout with their later starting times, winning records, playoff races, etc? However, winning will definitely help the Thrashers sell out, even if puck drop was at 3pm on a weekday.

jcwhitingjr

November 6th, 2009
6:33 pm

The wife and I have been season ticket holders for several years now and have been asked twice in surveys from the Thrashers about the start times. Each time we’ve voted for 7:30 starts. I don’t know many people who prefer the 7pm starts yet we are told that is what the majority wants.

Working from home in Cumming, I just wait for the wife to get home from work, usually around 5pm. She gets into her Thrasher’s gear and we are off. On a good day we are there by 6. Bad days we are there around 6:30ish. On a really bad day, we miss the first half of the first period. Getting home is usually not a problem. Last night it took 35 minutes.

jcwhitingjr

November 6th, 2009
6:38 pm

I’ve not been to a Braves game in several years but, if they start at 7ish, they won’t end usually until around 10pm. If you started a Thrashers game around 7:30 it would end around the same time. If a baseball game that is going to end roughly around 10pm good enough for families to attend and a hockey game that ends roughly the same time not?

mutton

November 6th, 2009
6:39 pm

As for me, it doesn’t REALLY matter what time the games start. I live in western North Carolina, although far enough south that Atlanta is closer (about half the distance) than Raleigh. So either way it’s pushing 3 when I get home if I’m lucky. But I’m more of a night person anyway, and with no time by which I need to be home, I’d rather the game start at 7:30 so that if traffic is particularly heavy (as it has seemed both times, although I know that’s just the country boy in me) there’s a little buffer. But again, since it’s a good 3-4 hour drive (since I have a penchant for Waffle House and usually stop at one on the way) it makes little difference for me.

jcwhitingjr

November 6th, 2009
6:48 pm

OH yeah, one more thing, the wife and I may be able to make it down to TJs tomorrow night as well!

Glovesave29

November 6th, 2009
8:02 pm

I’m with Sara…I’ve got two little ones who like to go to games, but we just pick the weekend games, so in that respect, the time difference means little to me. But on the other hand, when meeting up with the boys to catch a game, I am more likely to go to a 7:30 game. Gives me a bit more time to get down there and get a meal and a brew before they drop the puck…with traffic from the Johns Creek area, it’s tough to make it down there in time for the earlier start.

See y’all tomorrow night.

Wayne stuck in AL

November 6th, 2009
9:09 pm

As a former Atlanta resident, I’ve never understood why the Braves and Thrashers scheduled 7 pm games when the bulk of their fan base comes from outside 285.

Tony C.

November 6th, 2009
9:35 pm

I don’t think most parents of school-aged children are taking their kids to a weeknight game. Now, for some, I’m sure that the prospect of getting out of the game @ 9:30 is more appealing than 10pm.

But uhh… howabout they promote the weeknight games to kids that DO go out on weeknights? Seriously!

GSU’s campus is very close as well as GT…. I know that we live in the belt buckle of the bible belt, but why not do a beer promotion on weeknights? I’ll bet that the cost of 10-15 extra security guys would be more than offset by ticket and concession revenue.

We went last night, and didn’t even make the 1st period due to extremely horrible traffic on 400-anyway, I would like to say that those of us that were in the lower bowl (and c’mon guys, if it’s that empty-C”MON DOWN-they won’t stop you. Seriously.) made some pretty good noise for as small a crowd as was there.

Anyway, I think 7:30 would definitely help those of us on the 400 corridor actually make it before the 1st intermission.

Glovesave29

November 6th, 2009
10:56 pm

Garnet Exelby has been benched up in TO. Internet boards up there are hanging ol’ X out to dry. Guess thay’d like to have Pavel Kubina back right about now. They are actually singing the praises of Jeff Finger as he relinquishes his seat in the pressbox. Leaf fans are hysterical – X went from a tough guy savior, to the root of all their problems in a month…can anyone here prescribe about 20,000 xanax for those yahoos?

sisu

November 6th, 2009
11:05 pm

Coming from Marietta it’s quick and easy to go up I-75, I avoid 400 like the swine flu! 7:30 would be my preferred time, that way I can eat something other than the crap food at the bulb.
As a 7 year sth I have been asked twice in a survey about start time and I prefer 7:30