The other night against the Oilers, the San Jose Sharks announced the attendance at just 15,379.
It was the second-smallest crowd of the season at SAP Center, which has a capacity of 17,562 for hockey. And as noted by CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz, “the number of fans in the building appeared to be far fewer.”
Yesterday, Sharks owner Hasso Plattner did something he rarely does — he spoke to the media.
And yes, he’s worried about the level of fan interest in San Jose.
“I’m really concerned about the situation,” he said. “If you don’t have enough demand, the season-ticket holders can’t sell the tickets if they are not available to go. So that has a double-negative effect. And obviously for everybody to be in an arena that shows a surplus of empty seats is not very encouraging, even for the playoffs. So this is not good, but there’s only so much you can do.
“We have several programs in order to improve attendance. I have asked and we will discuss this in the next weeks, probably to increase our focus on young fans. We probably have grown in these 25 years all a little bit older. The Sharks were the new kid on the block 25 years ago. I remember days when I couldn’t get a scalped ticket because we were more than sold out.”
Plattner, one of the richest men in the world, isn’t going to go broke if the Sharks struggle at the gate. He famously joked a few years ago, “You cannot make money with a hockey team. You cannot make money with a hotel, either, and you cannot make money with a golf club. I have all three of them.”
That being said, there’s no doubt the franchise could use some positive momentum. Ever since the Sharks blew that 3-0 series lead to the Kings in 2014, it’s been a tough go. Meanwhile, the NBA’s Golden State Warriors have become one of the hottest brands in all of pro sports.
Plattner talked about how important it was for the Sharks to get back to the playoffs.
“For sure this is the goal for the season,” he said. “And then the real season starts.”