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

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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

Brendan

November 8th, 2009
10:58 pm

Zach Bogosian played 4 seconds shy of twenty-eight minutes (27:56). Amazing. Kane, Armstrong, and Reasoner were a +2. Guess who was a -1? Yep, Kozlov, Little, and White.

The Center Ice Replay is now just over 5 minutes into the 3rd period. Channel # 773 on Comcast.

kracker

November 10th, 2009
9:00 am

RH said: “The more this team wins consistently…and wins consistently at home…the less and less it’ll matter what time the puck drops.”

Yep.

I voted for 7:30.

Paminski

November 10th, 2009
11:48 am

I have no idea which start time is better for the club. However, 7:30 is better for me. I work in Duluth and don’t get out until 6PM. When I have tickets for a weekday game, it is much more comfortable to have that extra half hour to get to the arena and get a bite to eat. It’s nice to be done chewing before the game starts, so I can get a little more into it. That said, I go to weekend games more often anyway. Typically, I have free tickets if attending on a weeknight.

Joe

November 11th, 2009
7:07 pm

7:30 is better.
Better yet, drop ticket prices by $10 (except for the $10 tickets) and get the parking price down too…most people are not making as much as they did just a couple of years ago