There’s been a lot of discussion about the Sens lower home attendance this season, so I decided to crunch attendance numbers between 2003-04 to the present to see if there’s any information that either (a) shows how good/bad the current situation is, and/or (b) explains the lower attendance figures. Without much comment, here are 8 things I noticed.
1. Attendance by day: Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays are the most highly attended games and Saturday, Tuesday and Thursdays are the days where games are scheduled most at home in Ottawa.
2. Attendance by Opposing Team: The opposing team definitely impacts attendance numbers, with Montreal and Toronto obviously being the top attended games. Some teams have played in Ottawa so little that this data may be skewed compared with other teams – e.g. Detroit has only played the Sens at home 4 times since 2003, 3 of which were played on a Saturday. Because of this, their numbers may be higher than they would otherwise be had they played the Sens more and on a variety of days. To correct for this, chart 2 shows average attendance against teams who have played the Sens at least 10 times over the past 10 years.
3. Saturday Matinees: Saturday games have very good attendance whether they are played in the afternoon or at night. Since 2003, there has been 91 Saturday night games and 17 Saturday matinee games. Thus, once again, we could see changes here if the sample size gets bigger and more comparable.
4. Total Number of Saturday Games this Season: The Sens are playing less Saturday (evening or matinee) home games in 2013-2014 than any season in the past 10 years (this stat is corrected for the lockout year where the Sens played 6 Saturday games of 24 total home games which is actually a higher percentage than some other years).
5. Total Saturday Night Games: Because of number 4 (above) and a higher than usual number of Saturday Matinee games, the Sens will play the lowest number of Saturday night games in 10 years. This year, the Senators will play 5 Saturday Matinee games (highest since 2006).
6. Attendance is Down: In general, attendance is down this year, however, it’s not the first time the early season numbers have been low. The Sens saw similar attendance problems early in the season (up to November) in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 and the numbers did manage to rebound by end of season – although they never did climb up as high as other seasons.
(image data from HockeyAttendance.com)
7. Lowest Attended Game: The Friday November 1st Sens gave versus the Islanders had 15,589 in attendance. That’s the lowest attended game since November 2003. In fact, attendance hasn’t been in the 15,000s at all since 2003 until now.
8. The “Stubhub Effect”: Stubhub is becoming a popular alternative to Capital Tickets for fans to purchase tickets, especially last minute. This could definitely have an impact on overall attendance. The New York Yankees had similar issues with attendance and blamed it on Stubhub’s unrestricted market watering down prices. Bottom line: Stubhub makes it easier to conveniently get last minute tickets at great prices. Therefore, the working theory goes something like this: (a) less fans are giving away tickets they can’t use and are instead selling them on StubHub, (b) less fans are purchasing tickets through Capital Tickets, and (c) some fans may even be forgoing the purchase of ticket packages as they can easily get tickets to games by this cheaper alternative.
Below, chart 1 shows how much “Stubhub & Senators” has been googled in the past year versus “Capital Tickets & senators” and chart 2 shows the same over the past 6 years. We are clearly only starting to see the Stubhub Effect this year.
As always, thanks for reading, follow me on Twitter @theosophia and please leave comments below if you have any suggestions or questions that weren’t covered here for attendance figures.