Morning Papers Take: What is going on in the desert?

Posted by David Minuk in Morning Papers take,NHL Morning Papers,Phoenix Coyotes on November 3, 2009 — 8 Comments

In the morning papers, the Associated Press story in the Globe and Mail talks about the crowd last night in Phoenix,

Earlier Monday, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Redfield T. Baum approved the Coyotes’ sale to the NHL with the league intending to find a buyer committed to keeping the franchise in Glendale. The conclusion of the team’s bankruptcy proceedings didn’t help the Coyotes avoid a franchise-record low announced crowd of 5,855.

The season opener is starting to look more and more like an anomaly as the crowd size has significantly decreased almost every home game the Yotes have played since that opening night crowd of 17,532.  Since then the crowd’s have fallen off;

vs. St. Louis – 6,899

vs. Boston – 9,162

vs. Detroit – 11,938
vs.  Los Angeles – 7,968
vs. Anaheim – 6,495
vs. Los Angeles –
5,855

So right now the Coyotes are averaging 9,407 at home.  If you remove the opening night crowd from this total, the average nightly crowd to see a Phoenix game is 8,052.  Of course this is the announced crowd, which is generally not reflective of the actual crowds in attendance.

You have to wonder why they aren’t putting on 1001 different promotions every night in the desert.  I have to think that butts in the seats, even if the tickets are dirt cheap, would be better in terms of selling concessions as well as to give the city a bit of a psychological lift from the constant threat of relocation which has been hanging over their heads since the summer.

IC reader Ross laid out some of the problems the Yotes are facing;

Having been to every Phoenix home game, including pre-season, this year I will attest that attendance has been disappointing, but not unexpected. The summer of uncertainty, coupled with the fact that they were not even SELLING season tickets for about two months (from May 5th through late June), has greatly harmed ticket sales.

The best way to increase this, as has been said along, is to win games. It feels like there’s already a bit of a buzz going around the city. The team that everyone had written off is playing well to start the season! If they continue, you will slowly start to see attendance pick up, but it will take time–possibly even most of the season. That’s if they play well… 

However it is time to get past that.  They have a good, young product on the ice which is winning, and it is time that someone actually starts watching the games.  Judge Baum granted the Coyotes to the NHL and Commissioner Bettman will do whatever it takes to ensure they will remain in Phoenix. 

While the fans showing up to support the team doesn’t ensure that they won’t become a lame duck franchise, if they truly appreciate NHL hockey and want it to survive in the desert, they need to at least give it a chance and start attending some games.