Falcons See Effects From Record-Setting Crowd

By Marek Warszawski
The Fresno Bee

FRESNO, Calif. – Now that the Fresno Falcons have shown they can nearly fill Save Mart Center, the obvious question facing team officials is how to do it again.

“It just shows you what’s possible,” CEO John Tull said. “It takes a ton of work, but it’s possible. We’d like to have three or four games like that each year.”

The Falcons drew 14,023 for their 3-1 victory over the Stockton Thunder on Feb. 3 which is a team-record and the seventh-largest crowd in the 19-year history of the ECHL.

Tull isn’t expecting similar numbers for Friday’s game against the Las Vegas Wranglers, but there will be some carry-over. More than 5,500 tickets have been sold, guaranteeing one of the largest crowds of the season.

“We’re definitely seeing a trickle-down effect,” Tull said. “Everywhere I went this week there’s been a buzz about the game on Feb. 3. It really made me feel good because it was a big event.”

Falcons’ players wore special pink jerseys during the game on Feb. 3. Afterward, a jersey auction raised $39,700 for the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation, which supports breast cancer research and programs to stop domestic violence.

That figure is the largest the Falcons have raised for a jersey auction, Tull said, topping the $32,000 raised in November for red, white and blue jerseys in a game honoring veterans.

Tull, who organized a similar Pink at the Rink promotion in 2005 when he was president of the Motor City Mechanics, said he has been working on Fresno’s event since September.

“I’ve been going to Mary Kay meetings for the last seven months,” Tull said. “That’s one motivated group of people.”

Fresno is 10th in the ECHL in home attendance, averaging 4,994 fans per game. Pacific Division rivals Stockton (6,933) and Bakersfield (5,062) rank first and fifth, respectively.