Attendance....

Discussion in 'NLL News and Rumors' started by Vin, Feb 26, 2017.

  1. Vin

    Vin Well-Known Member

    Has anyone noticed?
    I haven't run the numbers, but I would not be surprised if Saskatchewan has the highest Average Attendance this season. Think about that considering Saskatoon is the smallest market in the league.
     
  2. k-hawksfan33

    k-hawksfan33 Active Member

    Saskatchewan is absolutely killing it. The fans treat it like a major league sport and in return the Rush make sure it feels like a major league sport. Pretty sure I saw them lighting off fireworks after a goal last night. If other expansion teams can figure out how Saskatchewan so quickly got the whole city on board with supporting the NLL then maybe we can finally see some steady growth.
     
  3. unspoken

    unspoken Member

    Saskatchewan is top in average attendance right now, beating Buffalo by approximately 900 fans per game. So far, 3 of the 4 games have been sellouts. The only one that wasn't was vs. the Stealth, which was only about 500 tickets short of a sellout, and I suspect that was because it was a Friday night game which makes it harder for people from cities other than Saskatoon (Regina, Moose Jaw, Lloydminster, Prince Albert etc.) to make it to Saskatoon in time for the game.

    I will say it helped that we had a championship calibre team from the beginning. I would suspect it wouldn't be anywhere near the numbers it is if it was an expansion franchise who were getting clobbered every game. Fans can be pretty fickle about that here.

    It does help though that there's not a lot of competition in the entertainment field here. The only other sport is the Blades in the WHL, and they've been a losing team for the majority of their existence. Lots of concerts tend to skip Saskatoon on their way from Edmonton to Winnipeg. Plus selling it as a party atmosphere has helped bring in the young 20s to late 30s crowd. A number of bars this year have bought blocks of tickets and are offering packages where you get a beer at the bar before the game, bus ride to and from the game, and your ticket for $50 or so. It seems to be working well.
     
  4. mtbf

    mtbf Well-Known Member

    Buffalo sucking plus heading into its 3rd Friday game of the season has knocked down their numbers
     
  5. GoKHawksGo

    GoKHawksGo Active Member

    The local media also appear to be treating it as a major league sport which is an immense help
     
  6. chuckster

    chuckster Well-Known Member

    Given the big cities in the rumor mill, that will be a big problem in those cities.
     
  7. Vin

    Vin Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that.
    BTW, not once did you ever discuss that the current form of NLL play not being like the old hard-hitting MILL.
    In other words, NLL play not being like the old hard-hitting MILL is completely irrelevant to franchise success in this league.

    I will say this: that may not be possible with many markets. Part of the reason that Saskatchewan does so well (besides having a Championship-caliber team) is that, yes, the fans treat it like a major sport because the NLL treated Saskatoon like a major league city by going there. This is completely analogous to what happened in San Antonio 44 years ago; San Antonio had no top-tier sports, but the ABA went there and they were successful - and still are. Sacramento in the NBA is another example. Most other markets are not like San Antonio or Saskatoon or Sacramento.
     
  8. Vin

    Vin Well-Known Member

    Yeah, REALLY!
     
  9. Vin

    Vin Well-Known Member

    Well, the one good thing, unlike the past, is that the league is going for established sports owners preferably of Big 4 teams. With that sort of ownership comes some implied respect as well- both from the people and the media. Also, there is an implicit and de facto added marketing power to help win over the local fan base.
     
  10. Andrew GEA

    Andrew GEA Guest

    Another reason for their success is that the entire province had only one pro sports team. The roughriders. The entire province loves the riders and they have been losing for about 4 years now. The riders had the highest attendance in the CFL last year with over 30k (Edmonton was second within 1k of them).

    Since the people of Saskatchewan have a lot of sask pride they really embraced their pro team. Now that the rush moved into the toon they took the same football mentality and applied it the rush.

    In general if they didn't get the rush relocation they would still see these number , just after 3-4 years instead of 2.
     
  11. Pounder

    Pounder Member

    Although when, as is true in most markets, half the fan base falls into the category of loving their team and hating their owner...

    ...I question the value of that relationship.

    Part of the problem may be, in this day and age, my guess of half is conservative.
     
  12. mtbf

    mtbf Well-Known Member

    Just looked at attendance numbers
    Total attendance this season in four games:
    Vancouver 12,635
    Their total attendance is lower than the rush, bandits, and mammoth average attendance for one game.
    Even if by some by some stroke of luck they are averaging $35 dollars a ticket (highly unlikely) they will finish the season with less than one million dollars in ticket sales even if rent is free they must be hemorrhaging money. Compare to the top 5 teams in the league attendance wise who all should have grossed around one million all ready this season on ticket sales. Long term I do not think the NLL can survive with such a wide difference. Players are going to demand to be paid based on the crowds in Sask, Buffalo, and Colorado in the next collective bargaining how will small teams like Vancouver and Georgia stay alive? The NLL needs to choose are they going to be a big league playing in prime arenas or a 5,000 seat small market league.
     
  13. RockStar

    RockStar Well-Known Member

    We talked about that a few years ago when they were first looking at places like Everett/Langley, Uncasville, and Duluth .

    That was a negative turning point in the league, because, you absolutely cannot resolve an East-West league spanning the entire continent when you're playing in a place that's somewhere between a large community rink and an AHL level venue.

    Uncasville has different economic reality because the ops costs are chump change...... they might very well rake more than the annual operating costs in a busy Saturday afternoon!

    They can just paper the house in the hopes that every unique lacrosse patron drops $50 or better at the tables and restaurants on their way to and fro the game.

    The other two are logical impossibilities if you want to continue to believe this is a major, North-America wide league.
     
  14. What else is there to do in Saskatchewan? They really don't have any other pro teams besides Blades. Either way, it's nice to see them pack the arena every game.
     
  15. Vin

    Vin Well-Known Member

    While I do not disagree with most of this post, I am not sure that the bold is true (although it likely is to a large extent).
    Behind the NBA and NHL, the NLL is largest average attended indoor professional league in the world. They are in that gray area between "big league" and "small league". Keep in mind growth too. Even the "big leagues" started out as small market leagues; anyone who has attended a Rochester Royals or Syracuse Nationals or Fort Wayne Pistons game can attest.

    However, if the big (NHL or NBA or media) owners get more involved, it will be tougher on the smaller venue like Vancouver. One solution would be revenue sharing, but the big owners might not go for that because that is just throwing money at small owners. They'd rather the small owners sell to a new big owner who can be self-supporting. Yet, at the same time, there is a fundamental problem there too. If there are few big owners, then without revenue sharing, it is conceivable that the smaller teams die off and that makes a much smaller and possibly minimally viable league unless new large owners can be found.

    Anyway, back to arena size, I can see the NLL surviving in the arenas the size of about the BCA in Rochester, provided it gets a good crowd. Many metro areas are now creating arenas of this size in particular for these suburban fans and for smaller leagues. This is one reason why the refurbished Nassau Coliseum is going to be 13k-ish (although, I think that was the wrong decision for that arena).
    Other examples off the top of my head include:
    [Arena (metro): capacity for lax/hockey]
    Sears Centre (Chicago area): 8362
    Family Arena (Saint Louis area): 9643
    Infinite Energy Arena (Atlanta): 11355
    Xfinity Arena (Seattle): 8149

    These mid-range arenas exist because there is a market for organizations who wish to host events but that the schedule for the major arena either makes impossible and/or is cost-prohibitive. It's a similar business philosophy of Southwest Airlines.

    I would like to think that the league would go where there is a minimum capacity of 10k... The league should be fine if it is operating where the average attendance for all teams is at least 8000 in such arenas.

    Anyway, I think that my point is that the league could be, in a sense, the Southwest Airlines of indoor professional sports leagues where it is either in the major arena of a metro area or, unlike the NBA or NHL, it is in one of the suburban arenas. That is different than a genuine small league like, say, the AHL.
     
  16. wacklax

    wacklax Member

    xfinity arena is in everett. out in the suburbs
     
  17. Andrew GEA

    Andrew GEA Guest


    I like where you're going with this , I agree that medium sized arenas / cities could help a lot but i think we should be looking at places that can hold 10-15k that way teams don't get forced to relocate due to arena capacity. I will agree if we move the swarm or stealth to a place with an 8k limit, and it sells out every night that's waaaaay better then 3.5k a night.

    Im just wondering now though with the top 5 teams running average attendance similar to the bottom 5 of the NHL can the league really limit them selves like that? I think the american market is too saturated with sports right now but if we focus on larger Canadian areas that might help out. Most Canadian cities will never have a team outside of the NHL of CFL (besides Toronto). If the league is aggressive with Canadian cities like London, Winnipeg, Quebec city, Halifax, and possibly Hamilton that might help the league grow to have many more teams in the 10K+ level.

    My point is where the NHL and NBA run attandace 25K-15K per game I think the NLL could thrive at 17k-10k but they will need to pick better options for that.
     
  18. RockStar

    RockStar Well-Known Member

    I love a dreamer, but, lets temper this with some realism.

    -Attendance seems down (or steady at crappy levels) everywhere except Sask and Uncasville

    -This league is not on any TV, any time, anywhere,

    We've regressed from the peak, and, we may never claw our way back.

    It feels like the last rapid expansion just about killed the league......lets do this slowly, and carefully.
     
  19. mtbf

    mtbf Well-Known Member

    No expansion until all teams are stable, stay at 9 and shuffle the chairs if a big time owner wants a team have him buy a failing team and charge a relocation fee to fund the NLL similar to an expansion fee. Or impose an away team minimum payment based on say 5,000 tickets sold and let the failing teams fold to allow slots for new owners.
    Giving an potential great owner the 16th team in the NLL with a diluted talent pool and 4-6 failing teams does nothing to help grow indoor lacrosse.

    The more deep pocketed owners should look for some grass roots growth by sponsoring youth leagues in potential expansion areas give everyone who plays free NLL TV, give free NLL tv to high-schools and college PE programs along with some equipment send players into these areas the next season and hold camps give the camp kids free nll tv. Build some damn demand.

    They should send free NLL TV to every school and college with in 50 miles of the Vancouver and Georgia area. I know the Bandits go to schools for events I assume they give out tickets. I trust they so the same in Vancouver and Georgia also give out NLL TV for free for the rest of whatever season it is.
    Send schools in targeted areas enough equipment for PE and a class plan for gym teachers to follow.
    The NLL has already proven you can not expand your way to being popular try something else.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
    RockStar likes this.
  20. Vin

    Vin Well-Known Member

    Halifax might not work - yet - for a variety of reasons.
    1. Bridges are not toll free there.
    2. Arena is smallish, but not bad; Scotiabank Centre has a capacity of 11093
    3. Population for the regional municipality, while larger than Saskatoon, is not large and much of it is across the bridges in what used to be Dartmouth.
    4. Cost of travel in terms of money, time, and players sanity, would take a big toll.

    London's arena, Budweiser Gardens, has a capacity of 9100.

    I do think that Winnipeg needs to be added for a variety of reasons. I am rather pro-Canada on NLL growth.... at least I was when TSN was involved.
     

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