The Florida Panthers are holding on to a relatively narrow lead in the Atlantic Division and hockey fans around the NHL are starting to see the club as legitimate contenders. As the Panthers continue to put on impressive displays on the ice, Florida residents are taking notice and attendance is improving.
Usually when we discuss the Panthers and attendance it’s about some crazy promotion or deal, but this time it’s a success story.
— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) February 5, 2016
Some will point out the average attendance figure of 14,620 and discredit the Panthers. The team is still near the bottom of the NHL in terms of average attendance (25th after 26 home games) and have a long way to go to improve their overall capacity figure of 85.8%. That being said, the growth is pretty remarkable and worth discussing.
Once again, the formula for attendance in the NHL (or any other league for that matter) revolves around winning. Win games and fans will fill the seats. It’s really that simple. There are some markets where fans will fill the seats even if the team is playing losing hockey, but the overall rule is that you need to win to fill an arena. The Panthers are just the latest example that winning and success in the standings can boost attendance.
Assuming the Panthers remain competitive throughout the remainder of 2015-16, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the attendance gap between last year and the present grow larger. They’ve already bested their number of sellouts from last season and it seems like more are on the way.