A new Star has definitely risen in Dallas. The Stars have seen a steady rise in attendance since owner Tom Gaglardi took over in 2011. This season has seen the Stars rise even higher in the attendance ranks and one has to wonder if the bandwagon effect has anything to do with it.
The Dallas Stars got off to an ultra-fast start to the 2015-16 season and it has helped them be atop of the Central division for most of the year so far.
Hockey in Dallas has proven to work quite well. It just works a lot better when the Stars are winning.
Stars are Rising
Of the 27 home games at American Airlines Center, the Stars average attendance has been 18,321 people. That is good for 98.9% of the total capacity, on average. That percentage ranks 15th in the NHL with 13 or the 14 markets ahead of them being at or over 100%.
The Stars attendance this season has risen above teams like the Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators. The increase in attendance in Dallas has been outstanding.
Last season, the Stars average attendance fell at 17,350 (93.6% average capacity). That was 24th in the NHL.
2013-14, the season the Stars introduced Victory Green and made the playoffs, their average attendance ranked 28th in the entire NHL. This was coming off a long playoff drought for the Stars.
Dallas is a multi-sport city and hockey usually isn’t high on the list. You’ve got the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL and the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA. Not far away, you’ve also got MLB’s Texas Rangers. Hockey will only be well-attended if the team is winning and winning a lot.
And they are.
What Has Changed?
Winning certainly has played a big part in the sudden surge of attendance but there are other factors as well. The Dallas Stars play an incredibly entertaining brand of hockey that allows for both teams to rack up a ton of scoring chances. That alone is worth the price of admission.
Speaking of the price of admission, the low-cost of attending a Stars game also helps the attendance rise each year. Although prices are going up due to demand, attending a game in Dallas is still cheaper than over half of the NHL.
Once you are there, the in-arena entertainment at the American Airlines Center is some of the best in the league. The Jumbotron pulls no punches and the music is always appropriate to what is going on throughout the game. The in-game entertainment keeps fans coming to Dallas.
Embrace the Bandwagon
The term “bandwagon” has gotten negative connotations over the past several years and it really shouldn’t be thought of as a bad thing. Bandwagon fans create fan bases. Look at teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks. Their attendance was in the gutter for many years and one Stanley Cup run changed everything. Now those teams sell out every game they play.
The negative stigma with the term “bandwagon” likely comes with people confusing it for the term “fair-weather”. Bandwagon fans aren’t necessarily jumping off when the goes through a rough stretch.
Many fans jump on the bandwagon when the team is winning and never leave. That is how fan bases are born.
The Dallas Stars are embracing this current bandwagon. They are going to need all the support they can get if they make the playoffs this year. It will be a fun team to watch and support, that’s for sure.
Jordan has been covering the Stars for The Hockey Writers since February 2015. He is originally from Iowa City, Iowa. You can follow Jordan on twitter @jordan_dix