( Above Photo Credit: scorestream .com )
By: Mark Allred Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277
The American Hockey League announced on November 8,2017, that a scheduling partnership between the league and NHL Network that would show ten games from the top minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey League starting on Sunday, November 19, 2017, but unfortunately, the Providence Bruins were not on that list of televised games.
10 AHL games will be aired live on @NHLNetwork during the 2017-18 season, starting with a game between the @SyracuseCrunch and @TorontoMarlies on Sunday, Nov. 19.
— AHL (@TheAHL) November 8, 2017
With Toronto, Ontario at the height of the hockey media market, I’m not exactly shocked that the Toronto Marlies which is the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs AHL affiliate would get six of those games mentioned to all be televised from the Ricoh Coliseum and one at the Air Canada Centre which is located ten minutes away walking distance but heard from locals an hour drive (Kidding of course, well maybe). Other AHL teams that are fortunate to get in some action on the NHL Network are teams such as the Chicago Wolves (2 Games) and Lehigh Valley Phantoms (1 Game) would also host an event that will be televised through the network as a way to promote the league which prominently operates on a three-day weekend schedule.
AHL League Attendance Argument
Now if you wanted to make a case for which markets should get special games like these through a great media outlet like the NHL Network these games could be heavily biased on the success of the National Hockey League markets like the Maple Leafs in Toronto, the Blackhawks in Chicago, and the Flyers in Pennsylvania. Is that fair? After looking at some numbers and particularly the graph below from the great folks at HockeyDB.com only one of the teams selected to host a network event is ranked so far this season in the top-ten in the AHL’s fan attendance. That’s right folks, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms are ranked third in league with an average crowd of 7,741 and a 44 fan difference from fourth place Providence Bruins.
Information Per HockeyDB.com’s page about this graph below:
This is a graph of the attendance of the American Hockey League for the 2017-18 season. Attendance is based on numbers from a team or league, either released as an official yearly per-game average figure, or compiled into an average from individual boxscore attendance. In some cases when boxscore attendance is unavailable for a small number of games, the attendance is computed omitting the missing games and annotated as approximate. Clicking on a team’s bar in the graph will display a graph of that team’s attendance across all seasons.
So, with the information that I’ve gathered above It makes me think who the league is catering to when it comes to events such as these limited opportunities and what could be done in the future with a hockey fan base thirsty to see the up and coming stars of the NHL and gain interest in their progression through the organizational developmental leagues.
Well, here’s my question to you the knowledge-hungry fans that many have expressed why local to Boston sports media outlet New England Sports Network (NESN) who basically never show any AHL event expect for the AHL All-Star festivities, would you pay extra money to see the Providence Bruins in action at the Dunk in Providence and on the road via Jumbotron feed which is not always in HD?