Understanding NHL Attendance : A Case Study of Fan Adoption in the NHL
Lehman, Brett P.
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The National Hockey League, or NHL, has a long history of great scorers, enforcers, and goaltenders and has seen an evolution in how the game is played and followed. Going from a league of six to a league of 31, the NHL is made up of teams from drastically different environments and demographics that make difficult for seamless transition. The NHL must find a way to attract new fans while also maintaining the following they currently have. Also, the league and game must adapt to make the game safe for its current and future players. The NHL must understand what draws fans to hockey games. Is it the violence or is it the exciting goal-scoring that attracts the masses to watch games in person? Can young teams attract fans to games, or are fans more likely to watch a team of established NHL players? The point of this study is to understand just that. What can an NHL franchise do to develop a strong fan base in the environment present in today's society? This study will also focus on what the Vegas Golden Knights, the newest NHL franchise, is doing to develop its fan base. The author uses the findings in this study to hypothesize what it should do in the future to continue the growth of its fan base. The hypothesis is that winning is very important to developing a fan base, but in today's NHL, scoring is more meaningful than violence at attracting fans to attend a game. He also believes that teams must use the money available to them effectively to influence fans to attend their games. If they fail to understand the magnitude of importance these elements hold, it will fail to develop a strong fan base.