‘Canes attendance way down, but Waddell says it’s not what it looks like


The Carolina Hurricanes have struggled on the ice, but their ranking is even worse when it comes to their average attendance. They’ve drawn 12,404 fans per game, which puts them ahead of just the Florida Panthers in 2014-15, according to the News & Observer

That’s a decline of more than 3,000 compared to last season, but Hurricanes president Don Waddell argued that looking at that statistic alone is misleading.

“We are down, but not what it appears to look like,” Waddell said. “We’re putting more emphasis on our season-ticket holders.”

They’re doing that by reducing the number of complimentary or discounted tickets they’re offering, which Waddell says accounts for most of the decline. In fact, he thinks the team’s total ticket revenue could actually increase this season compared to 2013-14.

The Hurricanes retained 77% of their season-ticket holders, which is low by league standards, and when Waddell called those that didn’t renew, he found that “more than half felt season-ticket holders” believed they were paying more than those sitting next to them. By moving away from offering tickets at reduced prices, the Hurricanes hope to protect the value of their season tickets.

That tactic, which the Panthers have also employed, has a drawback though as it means less revenue is being generated from in-game purchases.

Regardless of their strategy, drawing fans will come down in large part to winning games. Given that the Hurricanes missed the playoffs in their previous five seasons and have gotten off to a 6-11-3 start, luring fans will be a challenge.