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St. Louis Blues’ 2011-2012 Attendance Figures Boggle the Mind: Fan Reaction
As a fan of the St. Louis Blues, I don't understand the problem the team is having selling out games during the 2011-2012 season. With 79 points, St. Louis has a third-best record in the Western Conference. Even more impressive, the Blues have 26 wins at home, tied for the most in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings.
The Blues will likely make the postseason this year for just the second time since the 2004 playoffs, barring a monumental collapse. Yet attendance should be better.
Scottrade Center is only filled to 98 percent capacity on a nightly basis. ESPN's attendance report states that through 33 home games, the average attendance is 18,760 fans per game. The capacity of the arena is 19,150 for hockey.
Before you think I'm a complainer, looking at the past three years of attendance figures makes my case for not understanding the mentality of Blues' fans. Last season, St. Louis missed the playoffs by 10 points. Yet they sold out every home game. A year before that, the Blues also barely missed the playoffs and had 18,883 people show up per game. That's still better than the current season.
The last time the Blues earned a spot in the postseason was the 2008-2009 season. That year saw an average attendance of 18,554. That's even worse than this year.
I don't understand how the Blues can be a successful hockey team and somehow have fewer fans in the seats. I realize I'm quibbling over less than 1,000 seats per game but those numbers add up. The difference between the last playoff year and now is around 200 people per game. Over 41 games, that's a total of 8,200 seats. That's around 40 percent of the arena's capacity. Multiply that by the average ticket price of $41.57 and you have a number over $300,000 of extra revenue. That money could go towards signing another player. It isn't much in NHL salary terms, but those attendance numbers do add up.
Perhaps it's the ticket prices. Even though Blues' tickets are ranked as the 24th-cheapest in the NHL, attending a hockey game is expensive. For a family of four, over $200 can be spent on one game alone.
St. Louis doesn't score many goals. Maybe it's a lack of offense that is hurting attendance. So much for fans liking a winner. Perhaps they want excitement and a show, not just 1-0 or 2-1 games.
Maybe St. Louis truly is a baseball city. The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series in 2011 and the team is expected to be perennial winners. Perhaps fans of the Blues are used to futility. Their consecutive playoff streak ended in 2006. The Blues have never won the Stanley Cup since the team's inception in 1967.
William Browning was born in St. Louis and has been a lifelong Blues fan.
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