With sellouts in Florida (7,181) and Greenville (7,479) on Friday and strong crowds in Alaska (5,156 on Friday), Gwinnett (6,457 on Friday) and Las Vegas (7,208 on Tuesday), the ECHL saw its average opening night attendance grow from 5,424 to 5,661. The ECHL, which had four sellouts on opening weekend, has drawn 152,834 fans for the 27 home openers that have been played.
The 22 former ECHL teams have drawn 124,792 fans, an average of 5,672 fans, for their home openers compared to 112,742, an average of 5,125 for 2002-03, an increase of more than 10 percent. The 25 ECHL and WCHL teams that played in 2002-03 combined to draw 139,169 for an average of 5,567 fans for their home openers compared to 129,963 and an average of 5,199 for their home openers in 2002-03, an increase of seven percent.
San Diego, which had 12,920 on opening night in 2002-03, hosts rival Idaho in its home opener on Saturday while Long Beach, which had 6,340 for opening night last season, opens the same night against Bakersfield. Texas will open the new Arena at the Southeast Entertainment Complex on November 8 against Louisiana while Fresno is the last team to open at home, awaiting completion of the 13,800-seat Save Mart Center where the Falcons host Bakersfield on November 16.
In the first two weeks of 2002-03, the ECHL drew 236,100 fans for 62 games, an average of 3,808 fans, while the WCHL drew 55,876 fans for 10 games, an average of 5,588 fans. The two leagues combined drew 291,976 fans for the first two weeks in 2002-03, an average of 4,055 fans per game. Through the first two weeks of play in 2003-04, the ECHL has drawn 281,362 fans for 67 games, an average of 4,199 per game, up almost more than10 percent from the ECHL attendance of 2002-03 and up over three percent from the combined ECHL and WCHL attendance from 2002-03