Winning Streaks and Attendance Peaks

The Carolina Hurricanes currently have an eight game winning streak at home, but that is not the only reason for the wide smiles and happy faces at Edwards Mill Road.  The franchise has also seen ticket sales spike during the last two months.  Most experts will tell you that a winning team will draw more fans than a losing one, but in the Hurricanes case what came first, the chicken or the egg?

After two sell outs in October, the club's attendance in November and December was nothing to write home about.  During a span of 18 home dates including the traditional New Year's Eve contest, (which drew 18,137), the Hurricanes had an average of 14,741 warm bodies show up to watch hockey at the RBC. 

Since the first of the year though, there has been a remarkable turnaround.  The average attendance for the 16 home dates so far in 2009 is 17,818.   Bad economy?  Apparently not for the hockey die hards in North Carolina. 

Now comes the interesting part.  The Hurricanes did not have a sellout from October until the very first home game in February, which happened to be on a Thursday night when they hosted the Florida Panthers.  At the time, both teams were fighting for the coveted eighth spot in the Conference standings and this was billed as an extremely important game.  But the Canes came up flat and lost 5-0.  

Did the fans walk away?  Quite the contrary.  They sold out the next game as well on Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.  Saturday nights are good nights to draw fans, but against Columbus?  Regardless, the Canes stunk once again in front of a capacity crowd and lost 5-1. 

The next home date was against Boston on a Tuesday night.  Once again, it was a sell out, and once again it was a blow out.  The Canes lost 5-1. 

One might think that after three huge disappointments in a row, the fans might get discouraged and might stop showing up in such large numbers.  Especially the supposed "fair weather" fans residing in a non traditional southern market.

Think again. 

Almost 18,000 showed up for the very next game against Tampa Bay.  And the Hurricanes have not lost at the RBC since. 

So what happened here, did the team's winning ways help to draw the fans, or did the loyal support from fans help to turn around the team's fortunes?  If you ask any of the Hurricanes, they will be quick to answer.  After every single game recently, at least one of them will compliment the fans and say that a loud, vocal crowd is vital to the success of the team. 

Coach Paul Maurice usually mentions in his post game press conferences about how the fans helped to get the players going.  He specifically said after the Islanders game that after playing such a horrid second period, many northern markets would have booed their teams off the ice.  But people were standing and cheering here and the crowd provided a much needed spark which helped the team get juiced up and rally to victory. 

Did the fans help jump start the team, or the other way around?  Either way, it's a happy marriage in Carolina right now and the large crowds are probably not going anywhere, anytime soon.

_________

  1. 10/10/08    18,680
  2. 10/13/08    18,680
  3. 11/1/08      15,016
  4. 11/2/08      15,635
  5. 11/7/08      15,206
  6. 11/9/08      12.398
  7. 11/12/08    14,261
  8. 11/16/08    13,781
  9. 11/18/08    12,164
  10. 11/21/08    14,848
  11. 11/23/08    13,042
  12. 11/26/08    15,057
  13. 11/30/08    14,191
  14. 12/4/08      14,559
  15. 12/6/08      14,061
  16. 12/7/08      15,308
  17. 12/16/08    16,434
  18. 12/18/08    14,533
  19. 12/27/08    16,705
  20. 12/31/08    18,137
  21. 1/2/09        17,092
  22. 1/6/09        15,399
  23. 1/15/09      18,037
  24. 1/29/09      16,405
  25. 1/31/09      16,215
  26. 2/12/09      18,680
  27. 2/14/09      18,680
  28. 2/17/09      18,680
  29. 2/20/09      17,711
  30. 2/22/09      18,680
  31. 2/26/09      18,219
  32. 3/6/09         18,108
  33. 3/9/09         17,826
  34. 3/18/09       18,544
  35. 3/20/09       18,137
  36. 3/21/09       18,680

 

 

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