NBA lockout won't change NHL attendance


Heres how much the NHL will benefit from the NBA lockout.Hah!Yes, hah! Thats dismissive-speak for not a jot, and not in any way you could prove." But were going to prove it anyway, by bringing to you attendance figures that show how little two sports intersect in our customer service Venn diagram.Here are your NBA attendance figures for 2004 in cities where there are NHL franchise in the same town.

Atlanta13,798Boston16,201Charlotte14,332Chicago19,736Dallas20,136Denver17,596Detroit21,290Golden State16,235L.A. Lakers18,696Miami15,239Minnesota17,635New Jersey14,952New York19,164Philadelphia19,222Phoenix16,350Toronto18,307Washington15,740And 2005, when there was no hockey?
Atlanta504increaseBoston200decreaseCharlotte99increaseChicago468increaseDallas75decreaseDenver61increaseDetroit786increaseGolden State115increaseL.A. Lakers177decreaseMiami4,642increaseMinnesota454decreaseNew Jersey137increaseNew York351increasePhiladelphia1,352decreasePhoenix1,358increaseToronto1,152decreaseWashington1,356increaseAnd then 2006 when hockey returned?
Atlanta763increaseBoston898increaseCharlotte1,935increaseChicago984increaseDallas53increaseDenver520decreaseDetroit0increaseGolden State1,922increaseL.A. Lakers90increaseMiami73increaseMinnesota1,030decreaseNew Jersey1,777increaseNew York584decreasePhiladelphia2,352decreasePhoenix101increaseToronto99decreaseWashington0increase
Logically, that means attendance in NBA cities should have increased without hockey, and decreased with it. Only two cities fit that paradigm, Denver and New York.Now lets do it the other way, only without the tedious charts. During the NBA lockout that led to the 50-game schedule in 1999, only three NHL teams saw their attendance rise in the semi-dark year and drop again the following one -- Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington.In other words, what we have here is no correlation at all, and TV ratings are far more convoluted than that.Our point? Basketball is basketball, and hockey is hockey, and never the two shall meet. The sports are so wildly different, from the 205-point differential in the average total score for a game to the means of basic propulsion. In fact, to find a hockey and basketball fan is the equivalent of finding a vegan who likes cheeseburgers.True, a lot of folks will watch the NBA and NHL postseasons, because that represents the most obvious similarity between the sports. But over the course of an entire year -- no.More immediately, the Sharks already sell out, or say they do. They cant sell more tickets to displaced Warriors fans. If Comcast gets a significant ratings bump in Sharks regular season games this year, we (well, someone else) would still ask everyone who has signed on to say why, and Id bet the companys money very few would say, I used to like basketball, but now I like this. Closer to the truth: I cant watch Real Housewives of Saskatoon; it makes my brain bleed.Now hockey games and angry rich folks with nothing to do and lots of internecine jealousies to work out -- those are true comparables. All the way down to the head shots.

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