League Attendance Rises 6.8 Percent From 2005-06
The second-largest crowd in history in Dayton, a sellout in Gwinnett and over 15,000 for two nights in Stockton highlighted a weekend that saw the ECHL raise its average attendance to 4,484 per game, an increase of 6.8 percent from the first three weeks of 2005-06.
The last team to play its home opener, Dayton had a sellout crowd of 9,989, which is the largest crowd at the Nutter Center since a team record 10,057 on Jan. 23, 2004. Saturday marked the fourth time in history that Gwinnett has had a sold-out crowd of 11,355 and it raised the Gladiators average to 9,164 per game. The 25 home openers in the ECHL drew an average of 5,845 per game and included sellouts in Alaska, Charlotte, Dayton, Reading and 10,112 in South Carolina.
Stockton had its second crowd of more than 8,000 with 8,209 on Saturday and ranks third in the league with 7,964 per game. The Thunder is looking to lead the league in attendance again after averaging 6,343 per game and drawing 228,364 in their first year in 2005-06, the highest totals since 2001-02 when Florida led the league with 238,296 and 6,619.
Las Vegas drew more than 10,000 for its first two games and is seventh in the league with 5,491 per game while Idaho welcomed 12,649 for its first three home games for an average of 4,216 per game.
Looking to raise its attendance for the fourth straight year, Bakersfield had 6,730 on Saturday to raise its average to 6,026. The Condors average is up 7.5 percent from last season and has grown 33.5 percent from 2003-04 when they joined as an expansion team.
Charlotte is fifth in the league with 5,967 per game which is up two percent from last season when the Checkers raised average attendance by more than 15.5 percent.
The league has raised its average attendance each of the last three seasons and in 2005-06 averaged 4,372 per game, the largest per-game average since 1999-2000, as 13 of the 22 returning teams increased their average attendance.