Devils Enjoying Surge in Attendance

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(from New York Times, March 25, 2013) The New Jersey Devils have been struggling lately, winning only 3 out of their last 10 games. The Box Office is a different story, though. Including last Wednesday’s game against the New York Rangers the Devils have sold out 14 out of their last 16 homes games this season, as well as 25 out of their last 27 dating back to the playoffs where they made it to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Devils are averaging 17,298 fans per game. That is 98% capacity of the Prudential Center, the home of the Devils. This is only 19th in the league, but a great jump from last season. They are averaging 1,500 more fans per game than they did in the 2008-09 season, which was their greatest season in their new home. In their old arena they drew about 15,900 on average.

They have 2,800 new season tickets this season, about 1,000 of those came after the announcement of the end of the NHL lockout in January. Some of the interest is just generational, owner of the Devils, Jeff Vanderbeek, said many of the 10,000 season ticket holders were very young when the Devils began to make playoff appearances and are now old enough to buy their own tickets. “We’re seeing a huge acceleration of younger fans, and some are moving from the upper deck to lower deck,” Vanderbeek said, “they’re mostly from New Jersey. They didn’t necessarily go to Izod, or they only went with their parents.”

The raise of ticket sales is good for the Devils because of the region they are in, they have to compete with the Flyers, Rangers, and Bruins. They also stand to make a few extra dollars with the NHL’s new CBA. TV ratings have also risen as well. Vanderbeek said “Viewing ratings are up, attendance is up, people were starved for hockey.”