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Ten games in, Islanders have league's second-to-worst attendance (and real numbers lower), though that could change

New York Islanders With Worst Attendance in NHL, wrote Michel Anderson of FanSided 11/9/16, with this subtitle, "The home of the New York Islanders isn’t perfect, and the team isn’t much better so far this season and fans are staying away to an embarrassing degree."

After 10 games, nearly a quarter of the 41 regular-season home games, the team's attendance is 12,379, which a few days ago was the lowest raw number, and third-to-lowest percentage of capacity, in the league (Last year, after 12 home games, the figure was 12,407.)

As of today, the Islanders figure hasn't budged, but, thanks to the Carolina Hurricanes' Panthers' weakness, the team ranks second-to-worst in the leage.

Still, the actual gate count at Barclays, based on past performance, is likely nearly 20% lower, which suggests that not more than 10,000 people are walking in the door.

Last year, as I reported, the Islanders officially averaged 13,626 fans, third-to-last in the 30-team league. But the gate count was actually 11,200 fans per game, which is 2,700 fewer people, or 19.4%.

Some caveats

A couple of things to recognize: Islanders attendance started slow last year, then picked up significantly, so presumably more fans will show up if and when the team pushes toward the playoffs.

Then again, it doesn't look like some of the changes for this season--more Islanders branding, more Long Island Rail Road post-game trains, an "ice technician"--have had significant impact yet.

Also, look at the total of Home and Road games in the graphic below, from ESPN.
Graphic annotated from ESPN
The Islanders have one of the most disproportionately front-loaded home team schedules, with the most games at home in the early part of the season, when fan interest is lowest (and, in the case of the Islanders, when the weather is warmest and ice most likely to be substandard).

That at least in part attributable to the fact that the Islanders are the second team in the building, with the Brooklyn Nets--at least last year--perceived by some as getting more prime spots.

Giving tickets away

The Islanders--actually, Barclays Center management, since they're in charge of ticket distribution, in exchange for a fixed payment to the team--may no longer be papering the house via last-minute ticket services.

But they still have seats to just give away. As I heard secondhand, arena staff offered prime tickets to a passer-by at the last minute before one recent game. The next games are Monday, 11/14/16, and Friday, 11/16/16.

Another take

Anthony Baldini, writing 11/8/16 in FanSided, summarized it:

So, take a small fan base, dislocate it, and create strenuous conditions to continue their fandom, and the result is an enormous pressure on the team to sell tickets to its new BK community to replace their absence.
He cited the awkward layout and a weak start for a generally good team. And while ticket costs are relatively low, he suggested they're outweighed by the cost and time it takes for core fans to drive or take the train from Long Island.

Comments

  1. terrible marketing to a Brooklyn fanbase...1) the players don't care about Brooklyn and prefer Long Island (their star, Tavares, had never heard of "Brooklyn Hipsters"); 2) the new owners are not committed to Brooklyn and are looking to move to Queens or back to Long Island. Pretty lame way to try and build a fanbase.

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  2. I feel most knowledgeable sports fans would agree the Carolina Panthers have many weaknesses. Unfortunately, knowledgeable sports fans know their stuff, making them less inclined to read anything with attendance comparisons between the NHL's Islanders & the NFL's Carolina Panthers . (NHL = Carolina Hurricanes) Just a heads-up, they can be awfully blunt! =)

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    Replies
    1. Fair enough, I was careless, that's fixed. There *is* a hockey team called the Panthers, they just play in Florida.

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