New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – Contrary to earlier beliefs, the lockout has not driven fans away from NHL action, with attendance up by 2.6 percent compared to last year’s full-season figure.
The season was on the verge of being cancelled before players and team owners agreed on a collective bargaining agreement after a four-month stalemate, salvaging a 48-game season.
Many predicted fans would punish the owners and players by staying home and not tuning in to games.
It turned out to be the opposite as NHL teams played to 97.5 percent capacity, and average attendance was 17,768, up 2.6 percent compared to last year’s full-season figure.
Average attendance for 25 of 30 teams was up or equal to their full season 2011-12 attendance average.
NBC also reported a viewership increase of 15 percent while NBC Sports Network posted an 18 percent jump, the NHL’s strongest national cable audience since 1993-94.
On local television, 22 clubs had double or triple-digit percentage increases in viewership.
Stanley Cup finals viewership is also up in both the United States and Canada, with NBC and NBC Sports Network averaging 5.356 million viewers over the first four games.
The Stanley Cup viewership was the largest network audience in the United States since the figure was first tracked in 1994.
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