By Michael Pernal
ECHL Communications Intern
“The word is out in Cincinnati—the Cyclones are fun and affordable,” said Cyclones General Manager Kristin Ropp.
With the Cyclones winning two Kelly Cups in the past three seasons, and the team providing excellent value to its fans, attendance is continuing to rise in Cincinnati.
For the third straight year, the Cyclones led the ECHL in percentage of attendance increased, with an increase of 29.2%, or 783 fans a game. This past season the Cyclones drew a total of 190,663 fans, including the postseason. The previous high in Cincinnati was 145,121 fans.
Since 2000, the team has drawn four of the top eight playoff crowds in the league. In Game 5 of the 2010 Kelly Cup Finals vs. Idaho, an ECHL postseason record 13,483 fans witnessed the Cyclones win the Kelly Cup at U.S. Bank Arena.
As the Cyclones compete in the crowded sports city of Cincinnati with the likes of Major League Baseball’s Reds, the National Football League’s Bengals, the University of Cincinnati’s football and basketball programs along with Xavier University’s basketball program, just to name a few, the high profile wins certainly help the team.
“I’m certainly proud of the product on the ice, but equally as important is the atmosphere the game operations plays in the stands,” stated Ropp. “Our goal is to never let a patron leave disappointed in their night—from the aspects of value and entertainment.”
In terms of value, the Cyclones are just as successful as the team has been on the ice. Some of the highest crowds have come during the Throwback Night, Pink in the Rink, Kids Eat Free Night(s) and Fan Appreciation Night games.
In addition to the game promotions, the $1 food and beer nights have also helped drive attendance.
“Fans can come watch first rate hockey and have dinner, drinks and snacks and not go broke. There are no other entertainment outlets in Cincinnati that can boast this value,” said Ropp.
Looking ahead to next season, Ropp says “I have no reason to expect the attendance not to increase again next season. We will certainly continue with the discounted food & drink nights, as well as our other successful promotions.”
As for new promotions, an excited Ropp said, “We will definitely roll out something to tout our second Kelly Cup Championship.”