Coyotes Attendance Issue: Stability Has Not Helped

Coyotes Attendance Struggles
(Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE)

Remember when the Phoenix Coyotes were owned by the league for roughly four seasons, operated while losing money every year, with the league refusing to sell to anyone wanting to relocate to Canada? Well, the Coyotes finally sold and are locked in to another 15 year lease to remain in Glendale. For some reason, the league rejoiced. My question is why?

The Coyotes are once again in the bottom third of the league in attendance. In fact, they are dead last.

Coyotes Rank Last In Attendance

This is nothing new for the franchise. They have historically struggled to sell seats, despite putting together successful teams the past few seasons. Since the 2009-2010 season, the Coyotes have made the playoffs every year except last year’s lockout shortened season. Since 09-10 they have finished 4th, 6th, 3rd, and 10th respectively in the conference and are currently situated 8th in the conference. The attendance figures for those seasons are repulsive.

Coyotes Attendance Figures


This team is not an organization that’s been at the bottom of the barrel. This is a team with playoff aspirations and a solid core in place, and quite frankly Phoenix does not deserve to have a hockey team. Since 2000, the Coyotes best attendance totals came in the 2005-2006 season. They averaged 15,582 which is good for 85% capacity.

The league was adamant that new ownership would bring about better attendance in the area. When the team was sold, Gary Bettman released a statement saying, “The National Hockey League believes in Arizona as an NHL market and that these new owners can provide the Coyotes the opportunity to secure a stable, long-term future in Glendale.”

The NHL, specifically Gary Bettman, should have admitted  failure in this particular market and relocated. They had the opportunity to throw in the towel in Phoenix and move to a more hockey friendly market to the north and chose not to. Now the entire league suffers as a result.

Since the league can’t do anything about it now, they might want to figure out their next problem; The Florida Panthers.


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6 thoughts on “Coyotes Attendance Issue: Stability Has Not Helped”

  1. So you have a graph that shows that the attendance has steadily increased since the bankruptcy in 2009 and your conclusion is that stability hasn’t helped? It would seem to me that attendance is growing. Did you expect it to grow to 15,000 a game overnight? Are you simply trying to say that it isn’t growing fast enough? If that is what you are trying to say, then maybe you should have changed the title to this article. Even then, however, who are you to say how fast attendance should grow?

    I agree with Tyler, you sir are a troll. Good day to you!

    • “Steadily Increased” from bottoming out around 9,000 per game, roughly 50% capacity is nothing to be proud of. With no rooting interest in the Western Conference or Canadian teams not sure how I’d be a troll. A team that has had success over the last few years and is having it again this year should have good attendance. The excuse was always because of the ownership. That problem is solved, yet despite “increases” in attendance the club still sits LAST in the NHL for attendance thus far. That is the point of the article, despite everything going right for this franchise, they are still last in the league in attendance. Maybe that won’t be that way at the end of the season, but if they are even averaging 15,000 by the end…is that considered a success? I would say no. The fans have seen the team play for years, they finally know they will be there for at least five years, it shouldn’t be hard to play at more than 75% of capacity. In order for the league to succeed, the teams must succeed at the gates. Hopefully Phoenix does pick it up, time will tell.

  2. I agree it may be too early to write the new owners off. However, historically speaking, attendance has always suffered. Even with that league controlled budget the team was very successful and that would have ideally been reflected at the gates. Time will tell if the new owners can breathe life into the franchise and if they can get the attendance up. Personally, I hope they do. The team is staying in Phoenix for the foreseeable future and if the team can grow and flourish, ideally that means the league is growing and flourishing too which is the most important. Hockey is a beautiful game, I just hope more people like us can continue to see that. It’s good to see you and some others have such passion and enthusiasm for the club. The league needs as much of that as they can get. Good luck the rest of the season, the west is a tough one this year!

  3. Coming back from running on the smallest shoestring budget ever seen in professional sports, the one controlled by the league for four years – which by the way is where they ended up AFTER Gretzky and Moyes came to run the franchise into the ground – expecting all of the attendance issues to be resolved before the halfway point of the first season after new ownership takes over is just plain ridiculous. I am by no means saying they are out of the woods or a guaranteed success, but things are looking up enough to at least be slightly optimistic about the rest of the 5 year period before the new owners can potentially opt out of the deal. It seems utterly foolish to write the new owners off before even one season has been completed. That’s like having a migrane and saying the medication you took 10 seconds ago is innefective because your head still hurts.

  4. I don’t think I misinterpreted the graph at all. “Improvement” upon their own attendance problems has led to still being dead last in the league which is my point. Look at the numbers on the left- never came close to 15,000, so is there “improvement” sure, but not enough to get them from worst in the NHL.

  5. Learn to read a graph. Your own data here suggests that attendance is up significantly compared to the last games played at this time of year and are trending to beat spring 2013 as well. Most importantly, you aren’t even six months into new ownership, so they have had very little time to really make impact, but they already have. But that’s fine. You identified yourself as a troll – and killed your credibility – with your obvious bigotry by saying “quite frankly Phoenix does not deserve to have a hockey team”.

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