Attendance by League
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Comparison among leagues

The average attendance per game has been growing during the past 6 years, while it decreased for 3 years in a row in 1990-1992. When 4 WHA teams joined the league in 79-80, the NHL got its biggest increase (10%) since the early 60s. In 1967-68, an expansion doubled the amount of NHL games played, and the average attendance per game dropped by 24%, probably due to the fact that new cities didn't have a hockey tradition like the established teams.

Average attendance almost tripled between 1987-88 and 1994-95, moving from about 3,000 to more than 8,000 per game. But attendance has been decreasing by 15% in the past 5 years, going back down to barely over 7,000 in 1998-99.

Click here to see details
of average attendance
per league

Average attendance
(based on last 3 seasons)

NHL  :16,163
IHL  : 7,135
AHL  : 5,565
ECHL : 5,034
CHL  : 4,363
WHL  : 3,925
WPHL : 3,821
WCHL : 3,735
UHL  : 3,017
QJMHL: 2,665

* WHL based on 98-99

Average attendance has increased from 4,000 seven years ago to more than 5,700 in 1998-99 with increase peaks in 1994-95 (15%) and 1996-97 (11%). It's still far from the IHL, though. Just 4 years ago, the ECHL had a bigger attendance than the AHL.

Five years ago, the CHL had slightly better attendance than the ECHL. Attendance for both leagues decreased since then, but the CHL did so at a bigger rate so that over the past 3 years, the ECHL has an 1% greater attendance than the CHL.

Since 1994, attendance has been decreasing from 5,800 to 4,300. The biggest decrease was in 1996-97 when it dropped 22%, causing the league to drop below the AHL in terms of attendance.

We have only 1 year of historical information on the Western Hockey Junior League, but they draw more than the WPHL and UHL. They draw 41% more people than the Québec Junior Major Hockey League, which presents similar caliber of hockey.

Average attendance in the league is decreasing by over 10% per season since the arrival of the league. The WCHL, which has been increasing its attendance, had a better average attendance than the WPHL for the first time ever in 1998-99. To the defense of the WPHL, they increased the amount of total games played in the league by adding teams. Teams in new markets might contribute to the fact that overall league average attendance is decreasing.

Average attendance has been constantly increasing since the arrival of the league. For the past two seasons increases have been over 15% per year, and for the first time the league surpassed the WPHL in 98-99.

UHL (formerly CoHL):
Average attendance has been increasing slowly since 1993 (CoHL). 1995-96 saw an exceptional increase of 24%.

Since 1993, average attendance has been increasing every season, but the negative aspect is that the increase is diminishing every year. A similar caliber league, the Western Junior Hockey League, draws 41% more people at games. Fortunately for the league, some teams moved to cities that draw better attendance. Otherwise, the average attendance could have been decreasing.


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