No firm evidence, but I’ve heard from people who should know that a lot of those sold seats are corporate season ticket seats which were empty because no one wanted to use them.
Here in Atlanta we lost two NHL teams in 30 years. I really doubt we’ll ever get another.
Mostly, poor performing teams led to poor attendance. Also, Thrashers tickets were incredibly expensive.
What are you talking about? The San Jose Sharks are very successful.
That’s assuming it isn’t popular in the south. Is hockey not popular in the south? Let’s start there.
How was attendance? Granted it’s still just the pre-season, but then, attendance is still high at the end of the season, and the post-season is insane.
Probably should also define “the south.” When I grew up in Alexandria, Washington D.C. was certainly “the south.” And you see what’s happened there…
How are you going to define popularity?
Hockey doesn’t have the same level of devoted fans that more warm-weather sports do, because few people grew up playing it, and few of the local universities have hockey teams.
So most people are essentially casual fans- they may have started off playing hockey video games, or watching it on TV, but there’s not that grassroots fan base that sports like football, soccer, baseball or basketball have.
But then again, you may have enough people in a city the size of Dallas to get a reasonable crowd at the American Airlines Center a few times a week, just due to sheer numbers.
The question is too vague to be answered. It just depends. It’s popular enough to make NHL teams successful in certain markets, but not others. For example, it does well in most California markets, in Nashville, and in Tampa, but poorly in Phoenix, Carolina, and Miami.
Even in Ohio, which is definitely not “the South”, hockey is not very easy or convenient for youth athletes to play. There is only a limited number of rinks available and it’s expensive enough that kids don’t just casually play. The few kids I know who play hockey are fully invested in it. Because of the scarcity of teams, it requires a good amount of travel. People my age didn’t grow up with hockey in the area, which doesn’t help. I can only imagine this situation is similar, if not worse, in more southern states.
roller hockey is cheaper (about 1/3 the cost of ice hockey) to play since the rinks are much cheaper to run. Here in NC roller hockey is pretty big with kids.
In addition, the NHL seasons share almost the same schedules as NBA & NCAAB, and basketball is much more popular.
There’s enough transplants down here whose kids are filling up youth hockey leagues, so maybe the South will have a bigger presence in 10-20 years.