The Buffalo Sabres' atrocious 2013-14 season has has a mild impact on attendance thus far. Indications are ticket sales won't rebound any time soon.
The Sabres are averaging 18,439 tickets sold per game. That's 96.7 percent of the capacity of the 19,070-seat First Niagara Center. Last year's playoff-less team averaged 18,970 tickets sold per game.
That some people want to stay away from a 7-23-2 team is not surprising. Indeed, that kind of support for a first-place team in some NHL markets would be welcome, so Sabres fans are proving their relative loyalty in buying any tickets at all.
But for a small-market team that's lost money the last several seasons, every ticket matters. And Buffalo has only sold out only four games thus far, with two of those coming against the Toronto Maple Leafs, who draw innumerable fans south from Canada.
Last year, the Sabres sold out 13 of 24 home games in a strike-shortened season. That team also never sold fewer than 18,801 seats for any one game. This season has already seen one game sell as few as 17,645 seats for a Wednesday October game against the Boston Bruins.
The Sabres offered discounted Black Friday tickets and have offered several specials that will surely continue to draw fans. The club deserves credit for keeping this much interest in a clearly inferior team, and the fans deserve credit for continuing to support a team that they know is destined for a top draft pick this coming summer.
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