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NHL Notebook: Winnipeg Jets, other NHL clubs struggling with low attendance

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Photo credit:Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
6 months ago
It’s been a fledgling start to the season for the Winnipeg Jets in more ways than one.
They’ve dropped two of their three first games of the season, getting outscored 14-10, but that’s the least of the organization’s concerns.
After a 2022-23 season that saw the Jets near the bottom of the league in terms of average attendance, averaging 14,045 fans per night — the third-worst rate in the league — the club is once again dealing with low attendance.
As noted by Daily Faceoff Thursday, the club has filled just 80 percent of the season in the Canada Life Centre — an average of 12,318.
They, however, are just some of the teams struggling to start the year.
“I would say that there’s a lot to be concerned about. The Washington Capitals, that sellout streak ended at 588 games,” Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli said on the Thursday edition of Daily Faceoff Live. “That’s a big deal, they had a sellout on opening night, and then their next game was just 16,489. Winnipeg had their lowest attendance ever in a game in Winnipeg Jets 2.0 history, just 11,000. That’s a tough night.”

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The Buffalo Sabres, meanwhile, sold out on opening night, but for game two, they had just 12,258 people in the stands. The San Jose Sharks? Well, a mere 10,000 for their third game.
“When you include Winnipeg and Calgary, that’s two teams that did not sell out their home openers, which two of the seven, that’s a pretty significant number, and I think for some teams it’s only going to get worse,” Seravalli added. “You see that initial bump in opening night, and then things fall off.
“So, there’s a lot of work to be done. I know NHL owners and teams are always grumbling at this point that it’s hard to fill October weeknight games early in the season. There’s a lot happening. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, a lot on the sports calendar, but some unpromising numbers that are not very pretty to start.”
Seravalli said there might need to be a price correction on tickets for some teams.
“And some teams have done that,” he continued. “I know the Flyers, for instance, have had a bit of a price correction, and it’s still difficult in a time of rebuild or a time when the Caps or the Islanders or some of these other teams that don’t have true Stanley Cup aspirations, it can be kind of difficult to sell.
“It’s hard. It’s a lot of money to take a family to a game. Even just to get two tickets to go to a game, you’re shelling out $500 including parking and food and drinks and everything else. I don’t know how many times people can do that in one season, let alone have season tickets.”
You can listen to the full  Daily Faceoff Live episode below.

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Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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