SBD/27/Leagues Governing Bodies

BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN: NHL RETURN SEES GATE JUMP IN BUFFALO

          The NHL returned to action on Wednesday after a 17-day
     hiatus during its Olympic break.  Today, THE DAILY compares
     announced attendance at the 15 games played Wednesday and
     Thursday with the team's home average as of February 8, the
     beginning of the Olympic Break (THE DAILY):

        
TEAM 2/25
ATTEN.
2/9
AVE.
% +/- TEAM 2/26
ATTEN.
2/9
AVE.
% +/-
MON
21,173
20,673
+ 2%
CHI
18,226
17,709
+ 3%
DET
19,983
19,983
0%
SJS
17,483
17,045
+ 2%
BUF
18,595
14,923
+ 25%
COL
16,061
16,061
0%
VAN
18,422
17,221
+ 7%
TOR
15,726
15,703
0%
PHO
16,210
15,096
+ 7%
BOS
15,584
14,638
+ 6%
EDM
16,142
16,054
+ .5%
TAM
12,163
13,687
- 1%
FLA
14,703
14,703
0%
WAS
12,137
15,490
- 22%
NYI
10,753
12,416
- 13%

AN OBSERVATION: In N.Y., the OBSERVER's Nick Paumgarten, a self-described hockey purist, comments on the marketing of the league by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman: "Fortunately, for all Mr. Bettman's strenuous efforts to turn hockey into a hot commodity, the game remains a marginal form of entertainment, like cockfights or poetry." Paumgarten says that since Bettman started in '93, "he has subjected the game to marketing experiments and revenue enhancements that have managed to drive the purists bonkers without really increasing the game's profile -- third jerseys, pucks that glow on TV, dancing robots" (Nick Paumgarten, N.Y. OBSERVER, 3/2 issue).
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