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AuburnAL

Hockey Fans vs Team Fans

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I tend to think in the US there is a big overlap between team fans and fans of the sport for baseball and football.  I don’t think it is that strong in hockey, and I was wondering about other folks’ opinions because I can provide anecdotal evidence for this.

Huntsville is I think unique among SPHL teams in that it also has a D-I college program in town.  Ticket prices are significantly lower for the college team, but crowds seem to be between about 1000-1500 with about 20% made up of fans of the other team.  Now admittedly most people in town aren’t alumni or fans of UAH, but if there were a big percentage of just pure hockey fans you’d think they’d hit up the minor league games and the college games.

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The college players keep their elbows down and that's a turn-off for many of the fans I've met.  If it's a choice between technically skilled play and old-time hockey . . . well, I guess the attendance numbers may tell us something.

But I'd argue that a bigger factor is simply that I find the UAH event a bit dull.  The Chargers are selling a hockey game (and a good one).  The Havoc are selling a hockey game (sometimes a sloppy one) and a flashy game-day experience.  Do I take my family to an award-winning art house flick or to a poorly-plotted Avengers movie?  The latter, I think -- and I'll watch the other movie when it hits Netflix next year.

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4 hours ago, AuburnAL said:

I tend to think in the US there is a big overlap between team fans and fans of the sport for baseball and football.  I don’t think it is that strong in hockey ...

In my monthly travels to watch hockey games over the last 8 seasons at levels from Tier I & II juniors to NCAA Div I (men & women) to Canadian major juniors to minor-pro to pro, I encounter many other folks who are also traveling hockey fans.  What I've never encountered are other hockey fans besides Mrs. JMC 'n' me who don't follow a particular team, or in some cases who are not following a favorite player who used to play on their home team at some level or who is from those fans' hometown.  Admittedly mine is a small sample size of the overall North American hockey fan base, but sports fans in general tend to "identify" with a hometown team or one from a previous hometown or the favorite team of an older family member.  At lower tiers of hockey (and I imagine it's similar for baseball & football & probably basketball), the fans have far more opportunities to develop more intimate relationships with individual players through billeting & booster clubs & alumni activities & other volunteer duties.

So I'd conclude from my travel experiences that there are very few "pure fans of the game" in U.S. hockey vs. for the other major sports, as further witnessed by the number of published articles & other public media about baseball fans who have made "pilgrimages" to all of the major league ballparks and football fans who have journeyed to many of the iconic college stadiums over their years of following the sport.  But maybe the lower percentage of hockey fans compared to the other major sports in this country skews impressions among each of us significantly, especially in the South.  :hmm:

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5 hours ago, AuburnAL said:

I tend to think in the US there is a big overlap between team fans and fans of the sport for baseball and football.  I don’t think it is that strong in hockey, and I was wondering about other folks’ opinions because I can provide anecdotal evidence for this.

Huntsville is I think unique among SPHL teams in that it also has a D-I college program in town.  Ticket prices are significantly lower for the college team, but crowds seem to be between about 1000-1500 with about 20% made up of fans of the other team.  Now admittedly most people in town aren’t alumni or fans of UAH, but if there were a big percentage of just pure hockey fans you’d think they’d hit up the minor league games and the college games.

What you said is true.  Pure hockey fans like me enjoy the game of hockey.  But my two littlest girls aren't going to enjoy going for just a hockey game as you would mostly be doing for UAH.  But they enjoy certain promotions and the games in the SPHL that has entertainment for them.  So I think its a family thing.  Most people like to spend nights with family.  I'd watch both but have a hard time getting my whole family in the car just to see a hockey game or getting them to sit through it.  I'm sure having no fisticuffs turns some people away and also not sure if its the same down there but not selling alcohol in the college games probably cuts down on a few attending a college game.  

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21 minutes ago, Greg81102 said:

What you said is true.  Pure hockey fans like me enjoy the game of hockey.  But my two littlest girls aren't going to enjoy going for just a hockey game as you would mostly be doing for UAH.  But they enjoy certain promotions and the games in the SPHL that has entertainment for them.  So I think its a family thing.  Most people like to spend nights with family.  I'd watch both but have a hard time getting my whole family in the car just to see a hockey game or getting them to sit through it.  I'm sure having no fisticuffs turns some people away and also not sure if its the same down there but not selling alcohol in the college games probably cuts down on a few attending a college game.  

This I will have to check.  I know they don’t sell liquor, but it seems like beer is available.

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3 minutes ago, AuburnAL said:

This I will have to check.  I know they don’t sell liquor, but it seems like beer is available.

It might be, they might sell it here now for all I know.  But college teams now play at our practice rink at the Lancerlot so I have no clue what they do over there since leaving the Berglund Center.   Over the years i think its eventually being brought in for more of a profit.  I haven't drank in a few years so not sure what the rules of that are much anymore.

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8 hours ago, Greg81102 said:

... not sure if its the same down there but not selling alcohol in the college games probably cuts down on a few attending a college game.  

 

7 hours ago, AuburnAL said:

This I will have to check.  I know they don’t sell liquor, but it seems like beer is available.

 

7 hours ago, Greg81102 said:

It might be, they might sell it here now for all I know.  But college teams now play at our practice rink at the Lancerlot so I have no clue what they do over there since leaving the Berglund Center.   Over the years i think its eventually being brought in for more of a profit.  I haven't drank in a few years so not sure what the rules of that are much anymore.

 

Prohibitions on the sale of alcohol at college sporting events have long been attributed by sports fans to an NCAA rule, but that rule has always applied ONLY to championship events ...

Quote

31.1.15 Availability of Alcoholic Beverages. Alcoholic beverages shall not be sold or otherwise made available for public consumption at any championship event sponsored by or administered by the Association, nor shall any such beverages be brought to the site during the championship (during the period from the time access to the site is available to spectators until all patrons have left the facility or area used for competition).

Restrictions during the rest of the season have been imposed - to varying degrees - by the individual conferences or by the individual schools or the sports venues themselves.

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