Thunder Continue To Lead Attendance Race

Bakersfield, Long Beach, Phoenix and Wheeling each had their second largest crowd of the year while Florida, Gwinnett, Reading and Trenton combined to draw almost 60,000 helping league attendance grow to 2,707,053 and 4,095 per game.

Bakersfield had its third crowd of more than 8,000 with 8,328 on Feb. 24 against Phoenix and raised its average to 5,757 per game which is fourth in the league. The Condors average is up from last season as they try to increase average attendance for the fourth straight season since joining as an expansion team in 2003-04.

Returning home from a nine-game road trip, Long Beach had its second-largest and fourth-largest crowds of the year on Feb. 24 and 25. Phoenix had its second-largest crowd of the year with 6,575 on Feb. 23 and Wheeling welcomed 3,936 for its game on Feb. 24. Trenton continued to raise its average with more than 12,500 including 4,712 on Feb. 24 which ties the second-largest crowd of the season.

Twelve of the 23 returning teams have seen their average attendance increase from last season as the league tries to raise attendance for the fourth year in a row for the first time ever. The ECHL had its largest average since 1999-2000 with 4,327 per game in 2005-06 as 13 of 22 returning teams raised attendance.

Stockton continues to lead the league with 6,853 per game, which is up more than seven percent from a year ago when the Thunder led the league in their inaugural season. Stockton’s average is the largest since 2000-01 when Florida led the ECHL with 7,086 per game and Greenville was second with 7,015.

Florida had more than 18,000 for its three games and raised its average to 6,087 per game which is second in the league while Charlotte is third with 6,048 per game, an increase of almost 3.5 percent from last season. Gwinnett had more than 11,000 for two games to raise its average to 5,643 per game which is up 2.1 percent from last season.

Idaho had more than 9,200 for two games to raise its average to 4,357 per game while Reading had 16,300 in three days to increase its average to 5,183 per game, which is sixth in the league. South Carolina’s attendance is up to 5,047 per game while original member Johnstown has increased its average by more than 2 percent to 2,475 per game.

Utah leads the league in increased attendance with 10.83 percent followed by Fresno with 10.38 percent and Dayton at 10.28 percent. The Grizzlies average 4,311 per game while the Falcons and Bombers average 4,983 per game and 3,851 per game, respectively.