FanPost

Another Look at the Albany Devils Attendance

Last year I looked at the attendance of the Albany Devils. I enjoyed doing it and it created a good conversation about Albany hockey so I am back at it again.

Below is the overall attendance for the Devils AHL affiliate and Albany. For some background feel free read to what I wrote last year about the recent history for both.

05-06

06-07

07-08

08-09

09-10

10-11

11-12

12-13

Albany

4025

3966

3940

3539

3751

3048

3435

3846

Devils

4025

2801

2102

2293

2498

3114

3435

3860

Again, the Devils continue to improve in overall attendance and are getting close to where the numbers have been for Albany for the past decade. The numbers in Albany still continue to be a lot better than they were in Lowell and I hope the Devils can continue to improve on them during the 2013-2014 season. The NHL lockout and their promotion for businesses to buy season tickets probably helped the overall attendance this year, so it will be interesting to see what happens next season.

Next I took a look at the monthly attendance average. Monthly attendance averages should be taken with a grain of salt because the amount of games per month changes year to year. It does give an overall idea of how things are though.

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

2010-2011

2816

2601

2465

2585

5365

2858

4676

2011-2012

2554

2757

3144

5001

4588

3671

3495

2012-2013

3456

3883

3498

5218

3326

3595

3698

I noted last year how the early months of October, November and December tend to be lower than the rest of the year. Something happened this year that could be a huge factor as why the numbers jumped this year. (THE NHL LOCKOUT) I wouldn't be shocked to see the numbers next year go back down under 3,000 for the first three months.

January continued to be a strong month from 2011-2012 with the Devils using two big promotions that worked well in the past, the first being GE Kids in Free and the second being an afternoon game vs. ADK with $5 and $10 tickets. February seems like it took a tumble, but there were only three games with two being Monday and Wednesday and the third being Sunday. No Friday or Saturday, which as you will see below are typically the nights that draw the best. March and April were basically on par with 2011-2012. The A-Devils have historically not played well down the stretch and it would be interesting to see if they played better down the stretch, if those numbers would increase.

Finally I wanted to see the breakdown by days of the week. I broke it down by weekday games of Monday through Thursday and then the big three of Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Mon-Thurs

Fri

Sat

Sun

2010-2011

1899

3199

3606

3653

2011-2012

2315

3248

4901

2590

2012-2013

2435

3643

4775

3936

The A-Devils saw improvement in three out of the four categories compared to 2011-2012. Saturday nights continue to be the highest by far. Again, the Devils have found promotions that have worked and continue to use them effectively. The Sunday games had a large spike, not because of what the Devils did in Albany, but what they didn't do. Albany didn't have a single Sunday game before the New Year, which was important considering 2011-2012 had attendance numbers below 1,500 for the first two Sunday games. All the Atlantic City games were Sunday games and if the Devils decide to have more games outside Albany, hopefully they continue to be early season Sunday games.

Promotions

Well, none of my ideas for promotions actually occurred last year. No Retro River Rats Night, no St. Patricks Day green jersey, no Capital District Islanders, no Utica Devils and no I Love NY ticket pack. Not that I really thought they would happen, but one can dream. I'm still going to tell anyone who will listen, but no need to rehash those in this post.

If there were ever a time to have an "I Love NY" pack though, it will be in the 2013-2014 season. With the addition of the Utica Comets the AHL will have six NY teams for this coming season. Combine that with the anticipated departure of the Adirondack Phantoms in 2014-2015, this could the largest amount of NY teams ever.

Another idea that probably won't happen, but I would like to see would be for the A-Devils spearhead a "Hockey Day in the Capital Region". This year the date of their A-Devils record attendance of over 10,000 fans was followed by a RPI vs. Union game at the Times Union Center. I think it would be great if they made it an entire day event in downtown Albany to celebrate hockey. If the weather cooperates activities for fans or local hockey teams could be planned at the Empire Plaza ice rink.

An event that might have a chance for a unique experience would be the ability to be in an outdoor game. With the Devils being the "home" team vs. the Rangers at Yankee stadium, AHL teams use the venue soon after, but sometimes not with the exact affiliations. In 2011-2012 when the Rangers played at Philadelphia, Hartford didn't play the Phantoms, Hershey did. The plan in 2012-2013 was for the Marlies and Griffins to play. So given recent history I'm not sure if an Albany team would be involved. I hope so, but I wouldn't surprised if they weren't invited.

Future of the team.

A recent development that could have an impact on the future Devils in Albany was that the Trenton Titans ceased operations. Given what JVB has said in the past about wanting their minor league team in NJ (he also said on that same Jersey tour that work on Triangle Park would begin in the Spring...so there's that) and the Atlantic City games, it seems like they want to increase their footprint in NJ. Does a future Devils AHL affiliate in Trenton do that? Or did the Devils kill the market with the ECHL Trenton Devils and maybe that door has closed.

I could see the Devils playing a few of those "not really home games" that have been in Atlantic City and putting them in Trenton to test the waters next season. A game vs. the Phantoms in Trenton could get some very good attendance numbers. If things went well a move in 2014-2015 might not be out of the question, the Devils do have an out-clause with Albany. A move in 2014-2015 would also correspond with the Phantoms move to Allentown, so there would be a natural rivalry in Southern Jersey, while Albany would lose their biggest draw in ADK.

Also, if a group lead by South Jersey attorney Andrew Barroway is indeed interested in purchasing a controlling stake of the Devils, could his group be interested in bringing Devils AHL hockey to Southern NJ?

We'll see what happens. No matter what Albany should support AHL hockey because they either want to keep the Devils or prove that it is a hockey market to entice a team if the Devils were to ever leave.

What are your thoughts about the Albany Devils attendance? How can attendance be improved? Due to the Lokcout were you able to make a trip to Albany? What did you think? Could you see Trenton Devils AHL edition?

All FanPosts and FanShots are the respective work of the author and not representative of the writers or other users of In Lou We Trust.

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