When we put together an interactive graphic last week showing the trends in attendance at the Division I men’s conference tournaments since 2000, we didn’t yet know how much things would change this season.
It was a lot, and not in a positive direction.
The average attendance for game sessions at the championship events across the country was down 40 percent from a year ago, to 6,628 from 11,136 in 2013.
The total attendance across six leagues and 16 ticketed sessions was down 27 percent from 2013. That’s even considering there were three more sessions this season than there were last year.
Most leagues include multiple games on one ticket, and since the attendance is counted only once for those games, we consider that as a session.
We’ll include this important caveat here: These are announced attendance figures, which generally represent the number of tickets sold. The number of people in the building was a different story and, in the case of the Big Ten at least, was sure to be quite a bit smaller.
Here’s the updated graphic. Check below for more information.
The total attendance for the two leagues that played in the Twin Cities (the Big Ten in St. Paul, Minn., and the NCHC in Minneapolis) was 59,862 across seven sessions.
In a 13-year run at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, the WCHA Final Five had only one year where the total attendance was lower: 2011, when the tournament had only four sessions instead of the usual five.
With no teams from Boston in its tournament at TD Garden, Hockey East still managed to draw an announced total of 23,194 over two days. The high for that tournament was 2005, when both days had sellout crowds for a two-day total of 35,130.
ECAC Hockey saw a bump in attendance in its return to Lake Placid, N.Y. The average attendance over two days was more than 1,000 higher than in Atlantic City, N.J., last season.
The WCHA couldn’t expect to see attendance figures remotely close to it did with its former cast of teams that included Minnesota and North Dakota, and its average fell behind that of ECAC Hockey to rank fifth among the six leagues.
Atlantic Hockey’s announced total actually climbed from last year, but it’s still easy to spot the seasons when Rochester Institute of Technology hasn’t been part of the field at Blue Cross Arena.