A Look at Barrie Molson Centre Attendance. Can it improve? #OHL

Barrie Colts have a solid fan base. And why shouldn't they? They generally put together a strong team. Not often you see them in a traditional rebuild year. Colts fans are lucky to have a team, that though don't win championships but often lead the Central Division at the seasons end. Hard not to want to go out and see a solid local hockey team!

So why was attendance so low for the 2017-18 season?

Last year, the team started off with some big pieces, following a season they didn't make the playoffs for just the second time in team history. Fans knew this would be a strong bounce back season. Guys like Andrei Svechnikov and Ryan Suzuki were the benefit of a poor season the previous year. Also, the team brought in strong pieces like Aaron Luchuk and Dmitry Sokolov. The team also had other good draft eligible prospects like Joey Keane and Tyler Tucker. Mix that with a strong start to the season and you have plenty of reason to go out to games!

But, the team didn't get normal attendance. Again, it wasn't poor but it was low compared to what BMC is used to. Last year, the team averaged 3,617 fans a game. Sure, that is good enough to rank 12th league wide for attendance but is the 4th lowest season in team history. Here is a look at the 5 lowest attended list in team history.

*NOTE: We were unable to find attendance numbers for first two seasons. Also, play numbers only reflect production while with the Colts. Attendance numbers per HockeyDB.com*

Barrie Molson Centre seats 4.195 people.

3,423 (worst)
Didn't make Playoffs
5th in Central - W15 L49 OT/SOL 4
Colin Behenna 33G 55A 88P 67GP
Mark Scheifele 22G 53A 75P 66GP
Steven Beyers 23G 42A 65P 66GP

3,486 (2nd worst)
3rd in Central - W30 L33 OT/SOL 5
Alex Hutchings 34G 34A 68P 63GP
Stefan Della Rovere 27G 24A 51A 57GP
Darren Archibald 25G 24A 49P 68GP

3,537 (3rd worst)
4th in Central - W28 L34 OT/SOL 6
Alex Hutchings 29G 25A 54P 68GP
Vladimir Nikiforov 21G 32A 53P 36 GP
Tomas Macinko 19G 26A 45P 48GP

3,617 (4th worst)
1st in Central - W42 L21 OT/SOL 5
Lucas Chiodo - 30G 49A 79P 68GP
Andrei Svechnikov - 40G 32A 72P 44GP
Aaron Luchuk 22G 42A 64P 38GP 38GP

3,655 (5th worst)
2nd in Central - W40 L23 OT/SOL 5
Tanner Pearson 37G 54A 91P 60GP
Colin Behenna 26G 48A 74P 61GP
Ivan Telegin 35G 29A 64A 46GP

Even with the teams worst season for attendance, they would have finished in the same spot (12th) league wide for attendance last year, so as mentioned, the team generally has decent attendance.

So why is it that last season was so low for attendance? We knew Svechnikov was going to be something special, and he was. Same could be said about Suzuki.

Other Team Promotions.
We took to twitter to see what other teams offer with promotions to try and get fans out to games and here is some of what you said. 

 A common thing we saw was at concession. $2 beer almost sounds like something from a political campaign. Even the option of $2 popcorn and hot-dog is a huge deal.

Also, the City of Guelph offering a cheap commute to games is a nice gesture. This, mixed with cheap adult beverages is a pretty good look. Are these things that the Barrie Colts could consider offering at Barrie Molson Centre?

Flex Passes?
What is better than selling tickets to a game? Selling tickets to multiple games!

Many teams across the OHL offer flex passes. What is this? Basically, it is selling a pack of tickets to multiple games. The idea here is to offer, lets say you even make it a deal where you can select tickets to 4 games at a discounted rate. It is a good way of getting fans to commit to multiple games while saving a little money.

An example from last season is the Hamilton Bulldogs. Hamilton had the sixth highest attendance average last season with 4,251 people per game. The Bulldogs offered two different options with flex passes. Either, you could get a 10 game pack for $180 (taxes included/ 15% savings on box office price) or a 20 game pack for $320 (taxes included/ 20% savings on box office price).

Mississauga, Niagara, Peterborough and Oshawa are a few examples of OHL teams with this similar promotion. The beauty of these is you don't have to pick the games right away. Often you get a voucher for tickets and have to choose a game 2 days before it is played. An easy way to limit the chance of a schedule conflicting.

Payment Plan on Season Tickets.
What is even better than selling tickets to fans for 10 games at a time? Selling them season tickets!

I am sure most hockey fans would love season tickets to their favourite hockey team but it can be pretty expensive for many to put up that kind of money in one chunk. What if teams offered a payment plan?

Kingston is an example of a team that is already doing this. For a pack of adult season tickets you can pay monthly from August to March, costing you $74.99 a month over that time. That is a little more than the cost of 3 adult tickets to a Colts game. Kingston offers other payment plans as well that allow you more time to make payments.

BMC is an arena with a lot of personality but can be quiet. There could be a way for the team to offer giveaways at games as incentive to get more people out. Maybe the odd cowbell night where fans receive a free cowbell, not only a way to maybe get fans to come out but also allows them to make more noise at a game. More noise also means more excitement which in itself would make more people want to be at games to be a part of an enthusiastic crowd.

Other things the team could give out are shirts to anyone who comes to a game, similar to when they give out rally towels at some playoff games. I feel the noise fans make at BMC during giveaways is proof that people in Barrie LOVE free stuff!

Music- Sometimes, games feel like the music played follows the same loop every game. If they could mix up the rotation of songs to fit the flow of the game, it could help wake people up. If the team needs a goal, maybe something up beat that fans can chant with. If the Colts are leading, uplifting dance songs could be a good genre to go with. We did a post recently on music at BMC which you can see here. 

Video- The Colts have some good videos during games but with the new scoreboard, they could do so much more now! Maybe even have the action of the game played on it? And in the concession area, maybe all the TV's could have the game playing so fans getting drinks don't have to miss the action.

Saturdays are generally pretty packed at BMC but Thursdays generally look a little thin by comparison. It makes sense, it is harder for families to make it out to those games since parents work and kids have school early the following day. Thursdays could be a great night to offer family packs that come with a cheaper rate to enter. Or maybe something like the Steelheads offer during the holidays where you can get 4 tickets, 4 drinks and 4 popcorn's for cheap. Also maybe run theme nights as an incentive for people to make games during the week. 80's night, 90's night or even a super hero night. Lots of teams do stuff like this.

These are just some ideas. Again, we feel the Colts do a great job with the team! We just are looking at ways that they could get more fans out to games.

Do you have any ideas how the team could lift attendance numbers? Let us know in the comments or on social media!

Also, check out our latest podcast where we touched on some of these things. Listen here, or find it on Google Play and iTunes!

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