Date of Publication
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationships between on-ice professional hockey elements and attendance at American Hockey League games. It was important to this study that the AHL was the most successful North American professional hockey league in recent years in terms of increasing attendance and in 2015-16 the league set a record for total fans attending games at around 7 million. Also, recently the NHL and consequently AHL have implemented rules to increase scoring and decrease fighting; therefore it was important to conclude if those changes resulted in changed fan motivation to attend games. It was previously known that AHL fans preferred high scoring and high fighting games and were indifferent about team success when deciding on attending games before the rule changes.
Data were collected on average goals per game, average fights per game, divisional rivalry games, winning percentage, and percent capacity filled for each of the 30 AHL teams’ weekend games in the 2015-16 season. A regression was used to discover the relationships between the variables and attendance. It was concluded that average goals per game and average fights per game had a significant relationship with attendance, while team success had a not significant relationship with attendance. Even after the many rule changes to increase scoring and decrease fighting, fans still preferred to go to games that were high scoring and high fighting. This was important for AHL business executives to know because they were changing rules to decrease fighting, yet fans preferred high fighting. Rule changes made should have been to the fans liking so the league as a business could have profit maximized, therefore this information can help them make better decisions moving forward.
Kilmer, Emma, "Professional Hockey Elements Attracting Fans to AHL Games" (2017). Sport Management Undergraduate. Paper 130.
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