Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sea Dogs attendance up significantly

Let's talk about crowd size.

After 24 home games, the Saint John Sea Dogs are averaging 3,816 fans per game, which is good for fourth most in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. After 24 home games last year, the Sea Dogs were averaging 3,324 fans per game. An increase of 492 fans is fairly significant.

While it's difficult to compare attendance figures at mid-season (due to factors such as the amount of weekday games), we've gone ahead and done it anyway.

SeasonAvg. after 24 GPAvg. after 34 GP
2010-114,063 (4th)4,478 (4th)
2011-124,117 (3rd)4,561 (3rd)
2012-133,797 (4th)3,992 (4th)
2013-143,158 (5th)3,423 (5th)
2014-15*3,582 (5th)
2015-163,324 (4th)3,629 (4th)
2016-173,816 (4th)- - -
*The QMJHL's LeagueStat page won't allow us to change dates for 2014-15, for some reason.

The Sea Dogs have 10 home games remaining - seven of which will be played on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The other three will be held on a Tuesday (one) or Wednesday (two).

Also good news for the Sea Dogs is that seven of their 10 remaining games at Harbour Station will be against Maritimes Division rivals. Another one of those games will be against rival Shawinigan. Divisional games typically outdraw Quebec games - although this past weekend saw a couple of great crowds.

The Sea Dogs should draw well down the stretch given the quality of this year's team, meaning Saint John will likely surpass the 4,000 fans per game mark, which the team has done four times previously. They haven't averaged more than 4,000 since the 2011-12 season when they set a team record of 4,561 fans per match at Harbour Station.

While it may not seem huge, an increase of almost 500 fans per game is big in junior hockey. If the Sea Dogs can maintain that or improve on it, it will mark the biggest year-over-year attendance spike in team history.

2005-06156,6944,477 (4th)
2006-07134,3543,839 (6th)
2007-08139,2143,978 (5th)
2008-09133,6133,930 (5th)
2009-10140,7794,141 (4th)
2010-11152,2374,478 (4th)
2011-12155,0604,561 (3rd)
2012-13135,7323,992 (4th)
2013-14116,3803,423 (5th)
2014-15121,7823,582 (5th)
2015-16123,3993,629 (4th)
2016-1791,588*3,816 (4th)*
*After 24 home games

Of note, after 24 Sea Dogs home games in 2015-16, the league average was 3,245 fans per game. This year, after 24 Sea Dogs home games, the league average is 3,022. The drop likely has a lot to do with the Quebec Remparts.

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