A total of 20,034 fans attended the 22 matches at the IIHF Women's World Championships from March 31-April 7 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich., marking the "second-lowest attendance in 21 years" for the event, according to Gregg Krupa of the DETROIT NEWS. IIHF Communications Manager Adam Steiss said, "It's disappointing. We topped out over 20,000, which is unusually low for a North American tournament." He added, "The numbers fluctuate a little bit, but at Kamloops (in Canada, the 2016 Women's World Championship), we had about 41,000 total, and topped out in 2007 at Winnipeg, when we had over 119,000." Steiss: "You had 89,000 in Halifax in 2004. Mostly when we have it in Europe it's about 28,000 to 30,000." Krupa notes the two tournaments previously played in the U.S. drew 28,605 in '11 in Burlington, Vt., and 21,847 in '01 in Minneapolis. USA Hockey "defended its marketing of the event, despite nearly empty houses for games not involving" the U.S. or Canada, and "complaints from some fans, players and their representatives that their games are not well-promoted." USA Hockey "put part of the blame on the players, saying their boycott of a training camp set for the weeks before the tournament and well-publicized negotiations with USA Hockey put a crimp on ticket sales." USA Hockey Senior Dir of Communications Dave Fischer said, "The boycott had a significantly negative impact on ticket sales, with sales completely halted for a 2 1/2-week period and numerous refunds to customers." Krupa notes while Dunkin' Donuts and Kroger "helped sponsor the event with on-ice signage, there were no in-store promotions" (DETROIT NEWS, 4/20).
Events and Attractions
Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials and motorsports business observers were concerned this year’s Indianapolis 500 would "see a major attendance decline after last year’s 100th running of the race," but that "decline isn’t nearly as big as some had imagined it could be," according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. A 15% year-over-year attendance decline is "rarely good news for an international sporting event," but for the '17 Indy 500 "it's likely a relief." The "aim all along has been for this year’s attendance to beat" '15, which was about 220,000. Matching last year’s attendance, estimated at 355,000, was "never seen as a realistic goal." IMS President Doug Boles said that he "expects the track’s corporate space inventory -- including 100-plus suites and the Hulman-Terrace Club -- to sell out, as well as tickets for the concert in the Snake Pit on race day." Visit Indy President & CEO Leonard Hoops said, "It’s big -- not quite as big as last year, but it’s going to be a very busy weekend." Meanwhile, IMS officials are "working on a better plan to get race fans in and out of the track on race day." IMS officials said that getting fans "out of the track after last year's race was a major problem." They are "working on a deal with Uber" and have Taxis giving "special access to the track" (IBJ.com, 4/19).