SBD/May 12, 2011/Franchises

Bruins' Bandwagon Filling Up As Team Makes First Conference Finals Since '92

Bruins posted highest average attendance in team history this season
NESN's telecast of Bruins-Canadiens Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game Seven on April 27 earned a "stunning" 17.7 local rating, a sign that "suddenly, for a few weeks, hockey is everything to the just-hatched fans" of the Bruins,  according to Beth Teitell of the BOSTON GLOBE. The Bruins will make their first appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals since '92 on Saturday, and Boston is now a "hotbed of die-hard Bruins fans." The team noted that it "officially sold out every regular-season game at the TD Garden this season, and attendance -- 702,600 in 41 games -- was the highest average season attendance in Bruins history." However, the Bruins "lag" when it "comes to the regular-season at-home audience." NESN averaged a 3.1 local rating in Boston for Bruins regular-season games this year. By comparison, the Patriots averaged a 34.9 local rating in the market, and Nielsen indicated that the Red Sox "have generally been in the 8.0 range this year." Still, Teitell wrote, "In an age of multitasking and endless entertainment opportunities, jumping into a particular sport just for the good parts may be a sign of sensible time management" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/10).

A SUCCESS IN NASHVILLE
: In Nashville, Cooper & Mullen report the Predators averaged 16,100 fans this regular season, up from 14,900 in '09-10, and the 16 total sellouts this year -- 10 regular season, six postseason -- are "compared to four last season." Predators CEO Jeff Cogen said, "Generally speaking, I think it was a successful season." However, he added, "There are still 1,000 empty seats on average a game. So the mission is not accomplished" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 5/12). The Predators were eliminated from the playoffs Monday, and in Nashville, Gail Kerr wrote the team's first-ever trip to the Western Conference Semifinals was "clearly worth it." Kerr: "No one who saw the crowds Monday night can doubt what the playoff run meant. ... What a time it has been for downtown Nashville. And what's good for downtown is good for the whole city." Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said, "You go out after a game, and the honky-tonks are full, the restaurants are full. It works. They've got a fan base here now" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 5/11).
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