Thearon W. Henderson
We take an interesting look into whether attendance really does matter for the Stars...on the ice, at least.
The Stars post lockout ad campaign is telling you, the Dallas Stars fan, that the team needs you in the building to be successful. No one is going to argue that the Stars need fans in the building. They need you to be in the building spending money on consessions, gear, parking, and whatever else you may spend money on during any given game.
However, do the Stars need fans in the building to perform well? I went back through last season's attendance records to see how well the Stars performed at different attendance milestones. I broke down the Stars points percentage into four groups: greater than 15,000, between 12,500 and 14,999, between 10,000 and 12,499, and less than 10,000. I only looked at home games. The following is how those games broke down:
|12500 - 14999||40|
|10000 - 12499||63.64|
When more than 15,000 fans were in the AAC stands the Stars picked up close to 55% of the available points in a game. Group number two garnered a meager 40%. Our bottom two groups did surprisingly well. When somewhere between 10,000 and 12,499 fans purchased tickets the Stars picked up almost 64% of the available points. When less than 10,000 were in attendance the Stars picked up 75%.
Does this mean the Stars don't need you? No, but it does suggest that attendance has nothing to do with record. The two largest groups have a huge spread in results. The reason, I think, follows a solid line of logic.
What this anomaly boils down to is the fact that Stars fans are choosy about which games they decide to go to, or at least they were last year. I found the composite Fenwick % for each of the top three groups to see if there was any discernible pattern. The Fenwick % for the 10,000-12,499 group was about 49%. The 12,500 - 14,999 group game in at about 48%, a drop. But, the top group with attendance over 15,000 had an opponent with an average Fenwick % over 50. Ultimately, when good teams were in town the DFW hockey fan came out in force.
As the Stars continue to improve under stable ownership we should continue to see attendance grow. Last year the Stars had four games with attendance of less than 10,000. Those occurred in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th home games of the season. Attendance continued to climb as the season progressed. The addition of a name like Jaromir Jagr plus a competitive season should continue to help the process of regrowing the fanbase.
But, do the Stars really need you in the building to win any given game? No, probably not.
However, the more of you that show up the better the in arena atmosphere will be, and the more money the Stars will have available to seek roster improvements in the future. I think those are two potential outcomes that we can all faithfully cosign on.