Well, you may be wondering, it can depend on a number of things!
This post is really an expansion on my previous post back on the 26th November concerning comments made in the Nottingham Evening Post. As you may have read the journalist made two comments following on from the Panthers loss which put them out of the competition. This meant that they joined Sheffield in being knocked out, ‘What are those comments?’ I hear you ask, well they are:
With both Sheffield and Nottingham out of the competition the league is set to loose out on revenue generated from those games involving either Sheffield or Nottingham.
There are no ‘Well-supported’ clubs left in the competition.
Now for the sake of waffling I have summed up the comments made into the above. After making my original post concerning the Challenge Cup I have been in email correspondence with a (Panthers?) fan, who disagrees with my view on the articles in question. In response to a number of the points raised I wanted to re-visit the subject and expand on it, hopefully explaining my views further!
If I take the first comment, the gentleman I have been emailing states the league takes 40% of the gate takings. Now I must be honest I have never seen this amount quoted anywhere, but if any of you out in readerland can point me to its source I will stand corrected. This figure seems very high to me, and is it just for the cup games or is it for all games? If this is true then I will concede that the league is more than likely to make a little less money now Shuff/Notts are out? But I would argue, will they really loose out that much? The Giants are still in the competition and they can claim to pull in crowds equal to those at both ends of the M1! Plus lets face it, any money lost from the CC will be made up at the rather overpriced Play-off weekend!
In reality I think it’s the second comment that has annoyed me the most, the journalist has used the term ‘there are no well-supported clubs left’. How can you define what ‘well-supported’ is? It can be a number of things:
- Largest average crowd?
- Largest arena?
- Most season ticket holders?
- Largest away following?
- Loudest crowd?
There are probably more ways of defining it, but reading the NEP articles it seems ‘well supported’ equals largest home attendances. To be honest this is a load of baloney in my eyes! By that token back in the early days of the Manchester Storm, we had the best-supported club in the league with average attendances of over 8,000. But could you really say in those days we were the best supported? Most of those tickets were probably give aways! Plus large attendances can depend on so many things; both Shuff and Nottingham have long illustrious pasts where the fan base has been built upon for years. Realistically at the Phoenix we have only be building our fan base for 3 seasons spread over 5 years. So we may not have 4,000 ave attendances but again what does that matter? We may not have a multi-purpose arena, but again, does that matter?
Personally my view on what makes a ‘well-supported’ club comes down to a couple of things. I think the obvious one is % of seats filled in your home rink/arena, this coupled with travelling support can give an indication as to how well a club is supported. Even saying this many things can affect those numbers. If I may be so bold we at the Phoenix have a tough job competing with both United and City for a fans recreational spend. I would argue that, in Altrincham we have a far tougher time than the Panthers have against Notts Forest and the Steelers against Sheff Utd/Wednesday! I say that even though my dad is a Blades fan! Anyway I digress!
Its difficult to look at travelling support so I thought I would turn my attention to average home attendances and capacities of the rinks around the league. May I start by saying the capactities were taken from Wikipedia (you know anything Wikipedia says is true!) and a rather un-scientific guess at each teams average home attendance.
So I have thrown together a table below, which throws up an interesting top 4 teams in terms of filling their own rink:
Club Average Home Att Rink Capacity % Filled
Bison 900 1600 57
Giants 3500 7100 50
Devils 1800 2500 72
Blaze 1800 2800 64
Caps 500 3800 13
Hull 800 2000 40
Phoenix 1600 2500 64
Vipers 1800 4500 40
Panthers 4000 6500 61
Steelers 3800 8500 45
*hmmm can anyone tell me how to get this list spaced properly?
So lets have a look at the top 4 teams in terms of getting bum’s on seats:
- Devils @ 72%
- Blaze & Phoenix at 64%
- Panthers @ 61%
Of note the Steelers would come in at number 7 in that list. Again it’s a rather un-scientific table, so if you’re a fan of any of those teams and have a better idea on the ave attendance for your team drop me an email and let me know!
So from that table the most ‘supported teams’ in the league don’t occupy number 1 and 2 slot but numbers 4 and 7! Now in my book that does not make you the leagues best-supported club! I must add, however, that I do not claim the Phoenix to be the best-supported club in the league! I think we have some of the most passionate and knowledgeable fans in the league but would never claim the Phoenix to be the best supported!
I feel as though that has now helped me exercise my annoyance with those articles from the NEP. But it goes to show that there may be some truth to the often ‘holier than thou’ views held by many within the Tin Shed and NIC!
I don’t for one moment expect anyone reading this to agree with what ive said, I just hope it makes you think! I would urge readers across all message boards and journo’s to think twice before bandying the ‘Best supported’ tag around. As you can see if can be defined an innumerate amount of ways! I for one am glad neither Sheffield or Nottingham are left in the competition, it gives those of us who are fans of the ‘other’ teams some hope and belief that we can compete for things.
So there we go, this is me signing off on the subject! I hope this post has been interesting to read for you all! Many thanks to Paul over at the British Hockey Blog for his input, and of course I welcome yours!
Take care everyone, and I hope your all out Christmas shopping! Only 23 days to go!!