Attendance was a major area of concern for the St. Louis Blues during the first half of 2013-14. Despite the team’s strong start, fans weren’t showing up for the team’s home games. Shutouts proved elusive as the team’s first crowd above 100% capacity (19,150) didn’t come until the 20th home game of the season.
As seen on STLToday, things have been shifting in the right direction. The Blues have sold out nine of their last 17 home games. That may not sound too impressive, but five of the eight non-sellouts were games which took place on either Monday or Tuesday – two notorious days for low attendance. The two most recent games against Minnesota and Dallas brought in 19,646 and 19,703, respectively.
The Blues have five regular season home games left to play in the Scottrade. It’ll be interesting to see how attendance pans out considering that two are on a Tuesday, one is on a Thursday and then two take place during the weekend. There are also some matchups which should capture plenty of attention. The Blues will host Philadelphia (always a physical game), Buffalo (Ryan Miller’s old team, anyone?), Colorado (playoff team), Washington (Halak!) and Detroit (former rival, RIP old Central).
For the sake of the Blues, big crowds are a necessity. The team has a payroll a little over $64 million and they are going to have to address several expiring contracts (Berglund, Sobotka, Schwartz, Ott, Miller, Morrow, Roy) when the season ends. If the Blues want to keep Miller, it’s going to cost them. Big crowds would not only help offset the big contracts the Blues already have, but would allow them to keep their payroll near the NHL’s cap.