1) As we alluded to in our post last month when we discussed attendance issues in the NHL, the team with The worst fan support is the New Jersey Devils.
2) Despite being at or near the top in their division/conference for the past decade+, having 3 Stanley Cups, perennially in the post season; they still played before an amazingly atrocious 73.8% capacity during the regular season!! That's 'good' for 27th. At least the 3 teams below them have an excuse; they haven't even sniffed the playoffs in the last 3 years. The Devils have NO excuse.
3) These problems are now magnified even more. The Devils are handing out tickets(distributing) thousands in the playoffs(unheard of in most other NHL cities) and STILL they are NOT coming close to selling out the Meadowlands arena. For their first game against the Senators Thursday night 15,000 or so was the announced 'crowd'. Three thousand short of a sell out. Pathetic! These are the conference semifinals folks, not a regular season game! We understand tickets aren't cheap, but if your fan base doesn't include 18,000 people who can afford to see a playoff game then you may want to think about moving the team to a new location where they can
4) Today the absurdity got even more intense when the Devils had a good reason for the bad attendance: The building is too big! They said that Continental Arena, with the ninth-largest seating capacity in the N.H.L., had always been too roomy for the team’s fan base... The Devils are short-term tenants in a building “That’s why we’re moving,” Jeffrey Vanderbeek, the team’s principal owner, said Tuesday. Vanderbeek is convinced the situation will improve once the Devils get to the Prudential Center. Besides, he pointed out, the Devils averaged 16,941 for the three games against the Lightning, which would be close to a full house in the new arena.
Got an attendance problem? Want to go from 75% to 80% attendance with a snap of the fingers? Want to get close to a full house in the playoffs overnight? Easy. Shrink the arena.
5) Of course there are more than enough folks who could afford the ticket prices. The Devils problems is lack of interest. That's what is most alarming. This is a good team. The arena is relatively easy to get to. The area population is huge. There is ZERO reason to have any problems. If they weren't building a brand new arena we'd say the Devils days in the Garden State could be numbered. What remains to be seen is when they build it, will they come? If the past is any indicator, the answer is NO, but no one will care.