If you’re a passionate hockey fan or if you’re a regular reader here at The Comeback (thank you if you are!), you may have heard that the Carolina Hurricanes are already suffering through some serious attendance woes. With the 2017-18 season just getting started, that’s a pretty troubling story for a team that is looking for a new owner and is in the thick of relocation rumors.
The Hurricanes packed the house for their first home game, bringing in a sold-out crowd of 18,680. Then, for the team’s second home game, things took a huge dip. The reported attendance for the ‘Canes second home game was just 7,892, marking a drop of over 10,000 fans. The secondary ticket market shows that there’s a lot of seats available for future games at PNC Arena.
Everything sounds pretty dire, but apparently there’s at least one person in the organization who isn’t too worried about the attendance drop.
When asked about the overall attendance issues from the past couple seasons, team president Don Waddell told the News & Observer he goes by dollars, not reports.
“We’re not last in the league in attendance. You guys can publish (attendance) reports, but I go by dollars. So we’re not last.
Nobody is happy where we are, no doubt. We also have to continue to keep moving all the elements forward. If we can do that, I think attendance is going to pick up with that.”
Waddell is trying to say that the reported attendance might not truly reflect the number of tickets sold (hence his “dollars” comment). Still, the whole statement is kind of strange. It’s no mystery the team has struggled – and appears to still be struggling – with their attendance. No comments can cover up an empty stadium during a game.
He may just be trying to put a spin on things while the team tries to find its next owner. Spin as he may, the team will continue to be at the heart of relocation rumors as long as they skate in front of half-empty arenas.