28,892 For Alaska, Bakersfield Series Helps League Draw 102,139
PRINCETON, N.J. – Two standing-room-only crowds in Alaska and over 11,000 for two games in Bakersfield helped the ECHL draw 102,139 fans for the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs, surpassing the 101,363 for the opening round a year ago. The average of 3,095 per game is up almost 10 percent from a year ago when the average attendance increased by 32 percent from 2003.
The second round opens on Friday with Reading hosting Trenton, Greenville traveling to Florida and Long Beach hosting Alaska.
With the top three crowds and five of the six largest crowds of the opening round, the Alaska-Bakersfield series was the biggest in terms of total attendance (28,892) and average attendance (5,778). The Aces rank first in total attendance with 17,854 and average attendance with 5,951 while Bakersfield ranks second with 11,038 and 5,519.
After drawing 5,152 for Game 1 and a sellout crowd of 6,251 for Game 2, Alaska had 6,451 at Sullivan Arena for Game 5 when the Aces beat Bakersfield 6-2 to advance to the West Division Finals. The Aces, who joined the league as an expansion team in 2003-04, have the two largest crowds of 2005 and have now sold out four of their six playoff games, averaging 5,960 per postseason game. The 6,006 in Bakersfield for Game 4 was the third largest crowd of the first round while 5,032 for Game 3 ranked sixth.
Florida’s crowd of 5,575 for Game 2 was the fourth largest in the opening round and the Everblades, who had four postseason sellouts in 2004, rank third in average attendance (4,836) and fourth in total attendance (9,672). Gwinnett had the seventh-largest first round crowd with 4,831 for Game 4 and the Gladiators rank third in total attendance (10,277) and sixth in average attendance (3,425).
Reading drew 4,255 for Game 2 and ranks fifth in total attendance (7,357) and fourth in average attendance (3,678) while Idaho had 4,569 for Game 3 to rank sixth in total attendance (7,071) and fifth in average attendance (3,535).