The Mallards recently clinched a playoff spot and they also clinched something else: that this year’s attendance would surpass last year’s. The Mallards surpassed last year’s total of 125,791 back on March 18. They sit at 135,269 fans on the season with 1 game to go.
On a per game basis, the Mallards are averaging 3,865. Last year they averaged 3,812 per game. If the Mallards just draw 2,000 fans Saturday they will match or beat the number from last year. It looks like they’ve already easily sold more than 2,000 tickets for that last game. So the question is how much higher will it go?
For the Mallards to reach 4,000 fans/game this year, they will have to nearly sell out this last game. That probably won’t happen. They will likely end up around 3,900 fans/game on the season. Either way this will be their highest per-game attendance in five years.
The Mallards had a 24% increase in attendance last year, the largest increase in AA hockey. So an increase of only about 100 fans/game might seem small. It’s misleading though because they had a much less-favorable schedule this year. The 3 extra home games they added when they joined the ECHL were all on Wednesdays. They also had 3 fewer Friday and Saturday games, offset by 3 additional Sunday games. If they can trade some of those 6 unfavorable games for a few more Fridays and Saturdays, they could see a jump in attendance. For example, if they can keep their average attendance by night of the week the same, but get the mix of games they had last year, their average would be somewhere around 4,100 fans/game.
Attendance only tells part of the story of the health of a franchise, but this is a good sign for the continued revival of the team. If they can continue to make inroads in the community and get a more favorable schedule, we could see attendance make a nice jump again next year.
Below are the numbers through today: