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Playoff position could prove critical for the Nashville Predators

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The latest report on paid attendance paints a fairly gloomy picture for the Nashville Predators, with an average of 13,060 through 19 home games reported yesterday by John Glennon, down roughly 3% from a season ago. At risk here is 25% of NHL revenue sharing, worth somewhere in neighborhood of $2-4 million, if the Predators don't achieve the critical 14,000 mark (among other targets required under the CBA).

Do the Preds have a chance at hitting 14K, and why are their numbers down from last season? Let's take a look at the details...

Besides the general economic condition (10% unemployment certainly doesn't help), a jam-packed schedule in November that included 8 home games in 17 days made it difficult to pack the house consistently. That also meant that the 19th home game came on December 15, as opposed to January 8 last year. Simply put, last season's schedule catered more to the "post-football bump" that the Predators typically experience in attendance once the college and pro football seasons are through.

So what does that mean for the Preds as they head down the stretch?

Last season, in the final 22 home games Nashville averaged 14,785 in paid attendance. If they achieved that same figure this year, the average for the entire season would come to 13,986, just short of the target.

But you can bet that the playoffs will play a large role here - remember, they are included in these figures, both for NHL revenue sharing and for the relevant clauses in the Sommet Center lease. UPDATEThe CBA is actually maddeningly unclear as to whether playoff ticket sales are included. I am attempting to get confirmation on this. If not, the magic number to qualify for full NHL revenue sharing becomes 14,812 as outlined below. For the purposes of the Sommet Center lease, and whether the team can void the lease early, playoff results do count towards the average.

What I've done below is outline 3 scenarios. One involves the team stumbling down the stretch, averaging only 14,500 in the final 22 home games and falling short of the playoffs. Obviously, they miss the target.

In the second, they make the playoffs and play three home games, which helps them hit the magical 14K. The final option shows what they'd do by making a 2nd round as well. Both of those final two scenarios use what I see as conservative estimates of 14,600 average paid attendance in the final 22 regular season home games, followed by 16,000 in the 1st playoff round, and 16,500 in the second.

If they match last year's 14,785 for the final 22 and make the playoffs, it's a slam-dunk that they'll achieve 14K. If the Preds can do better than that 14,785 value, they'd need 14,812 during the final months of the season to hit the target without taking the playoffs into consideration.

And remember, if you still have some Christmas shopping to do, you can always get that special someone tickets to a Predators game:

For discounted tickets to any Nashville Predators home game, you can follow this link and use the special offer code "PREDS".

No playoffs
games average total
19 so far
13,060 248,140
final 22 14,500 319,000
41 13,833 567,140
1st Round
games average total
19 so far
13,060 248,140
final 22 14,600 321,200
3 playoff
16,000 48,000
44 14,030 617,340
2nd Round
games average total
19 so far
13,060 248,140
final 22 14,600 321,200
6 playoff
16,250 97,500
47 14,188 666,840