In a week that saw the largest crowds of the year in Florida and Trenton and the second-largest crowd of the season in Idaho the ECHL raised its attendance to 3,376,064, marking the 12th straight year that the league has drawn more than 3.3 million.
More than 13,400 watched the three-game West Division showdown between Idaho and Alaska including 5,142 on Mar. 24, the fifth sellout of the season as the Steelheads raised their average to 4,350 per game. Victoria has had more than 4,000 for its last seven games as the Salmon Kings had their sixth-largest and seventh-largest crowds of the year with more than 9,100 in attendance for two games against Long Beach.
Florida had over 13,800 for its two games against Columbia, including the third sellout of the year with 7,516 on Mar. 24, to increase its total attendance to 210,436 and 6,189 per game. The Everblades have had more than 200,000 fans in each of their first nine seasons, and from 2000-05 they led the league in attendance.
Stockton continues to lead the league in total attendance with 214,316 and average attendance with 6,697 per game. The average is up 5.3 percent from a year ago when the Thunder led the ECHL in their inaugural season with 6,343 per game, which was the largest average attendance since 2000-01.
Trenton had over 9,000 for its two games against Cincinnati including a season-high 5,435 on Mar. 24. Texas had its third-largest crowd of the season when it hosted Gwinnett in a battle of South Division leaders on Mar. 24 as the Wildcatters’ average attendance is up 4.8 percent from 2004-05.
Charlotte leads the league with nine sellouts and is third in the league with 5,964 per game, an increase of 2.1 percent from a year ago when the Checkers had a league-high 10 sellouts after moving into the new Charlotte Bobcats Arena.
Bakersfield had 8,325 on Mar. 23, which is the third-largest crowd of the season, and the third time in the last five games and fourth time this season that there have been more than 8,000 fans at Rabobank Arena. The Condors raised their average to 5,828 per game, which is fourth in the league and up 3.9 percent from last season as they, look to increase average attendance for the fourth straight season since joining the ECHL as an expansion team in 2003-04.
Fresno had 6,290 for its game on Mar. 20 to increase its attendance to 5,051 per game, which is up 11.6 percent and the largest increase among the 12 teams who have raised their average attendance from last season.
Johnstown raised its attendance to 2,544 per game, which is up 4.8 percent from a year ago. Utah has raised its average attendance to 4,154 per game, up 7.5 percent from a year ago, which is the second highest increase, while Dayton’s average is up 6.8 percent, which is the third-highest growth since last season. Phoenix had more than 6,000 for each of its last two home games to finish with 3,711 per game, an increase of 0.5 percent from the RoadRunners inaugural season, while Wheeling has more than 9,000 in its last three home dates to raise its average to 2,835 per game.
The ECHL is trying to raise attendance for the fourth year in a row for the first time ever after having its largest average since 1999-2000 in 2005-06 with 4,327 per game as 13 of 22 returning teams raised their attendance.