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Volume 26 No. 209
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Eugene Melnyk Downplays Senators' Early Attendance Woes

The Senators beat the Sharks in October, but just 9,740 spectators were at the Canadian Tire Centre to see it
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
The Senators beat the Sharks in October, but just 9,740 spectators were at the Canadian Tire Centre to see it
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
The Senators beat the Sharks in October, but just 9,740 spectators were at the Canadian Tire Centre to see it
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The Senators are "near the bottom" in the league standings and their fans "appear to be slipping away" just 14 games into the season, according to James Bagnall of the OTTAWA CITIZEN. The team beat the Sharks 5-2 on Oct. 27, but "just 9,740 spectators were on hand to witness it" at the Canadian Tire Centre. During the seven home games to date, the team has averaged a crowd of 11,260, less than 60% of capacity. Whether it is spectators or percentage of seats filled, the Senators "rank 31st in a league of 31 teams." But Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk "isn't about to panic." He said, "Our goal is to show our fans we are very serious about building a contender here in Ottawa and that means doing it the right way, which isn't always the easiest or fastest." But the Senators have seen their fan base "shrink for four consecutive seasons," from 18,246 per game in '14-15 to 14,553 last year -- a drop of 20%. Bagnall: "All of this suggests a worrisome disconnect between the team and its fan base." Melnyk said that ticket buyers in coming weeks will be treated to "an enhanced experience" involving theme nights, live music and fresh offerings of food and beverages. But assuming the Senators can "get their paid attendance back up to at least 14,000 per game this year, that could still represent" more than C$5M in lost revenue compared with the '17-18 season (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 11/6).