04/15/2013 4:00 PM
Photo by Dan Anelli
Article By: Mike Peck
AHL team averaged 4,560 fans for the 2012-13 season
Rockford, Ill.- The 38-regular season home schedule is complete for the Rockford IceHogs and the 2012-13 attendance was the most successful in team history.
Following the club’s fifth sellout and largest crowd of the season on Friday, where the team drew 6,228 fans, the IceHogs finished the season with a franchise record 4,560 average at the BMO Harris Bank Center in 2012-13.
Overall, the IceHogs brought in 173,292 fans to downtown Rockford, up 7.4% from the team’s total in 2011-12 (161,286). The club’s overall attendance total was just 1,126 shy of the team’s all-time attendance mark (174,418) set in 2010-11 when the IceHogs played two more home games. In addition to the increase in attendance, merchandise sales increased more than 30 percent this season, a strong indicator of fan affinity.
“From celebrating our two-millionth fan to setting a new all-time attendance record, we’ve had a really fantastic season,” said RAVE Board Chairman Mike Dunn. “This year we’ve really been able to reach and attract new fans from throughout the region and show them high-quality and affordable entertainment here in Rockford.”
The IceHogs averaged 4,816 fans in 19 games following the National Hockey League’s lockout after Jan. 19 compared to 4,304 fans per contest during the lockout.
This season, the IceHogs increased the team’s regional awareness by reallocating marketing efforts to focus on the I-90 corridor and draw attendees from the northwest suburbs, DeKalb and the southwest tier of Wisconsin.
“The IceHogs have grown into more than just Rockford’s team. With our regional approach, families and fans from outside of Rockford have found that you can have a fun and affordable night out with the IceHogs,” said RAVE Executive Director/General Manager Gordon Kaye. “As we continue to build our regional presence, I expect our attendance to continue its strong growth for seasons to come.”
In 14 seasons of professional hockey in Rockford, the IceHogs have drawn over two million fans to the BMO Harris Bank Center. Since joining the AHL prior to the 2007-08 campaign, the IceHogs have averaged 4,142 fans per game in six seasons, compared to 3,700 in eight campaigns in the now defunct United Hockey League. That’s an average attendance increase of 11.9%.
Over the past three seasons, the IceHogs have averaged 4,388 fans per game, drawing 508,996 during that time span.