The Thrashers have traditionally had poor attendance. From their inception in 1999 the Thrashers highest per game attendance average lay at 87.5% in 2006-2007, the only year the Thrashers have made the Playoffs. This year is no different, with home figures averaging just over 13,000 people per game. Philips Arena, which seats 18,545 people for hockey, is traditionally rather hollow come game time. The unfortunate and dirty truth is that the other nights that crowds pile in to Philips Arena for a game night, the outcomes are not much better.
Perhaps the problem is with Philips Arena? There have been ownership issues swirling around the Thrashers and Hawks for several years now, perhaps people are just leery of getting too invested in something that may not stay or be able to afford to win year after year? The Atlanta Braves haven't had a back to back losing season since 1989 and 1990, yet recent history shows that the people of Atlanta are not flocking to Turner Field with any regularity.
The only team that has any consistent luck with continuous and high attendance figure are the Atlanta Falcons. In the past five years they only dipped below 90% once, in 2008, where they averaged 89.9% while going 4-12. The NFL proves it remains king as the Falcons averaged 96.15% attendance fill, blowing away the figures of their three other Atlanta pro sports counterparts.
Perhaps the people who criticize Atlanta sports fans, voted the 2nd most miserable of all the major sports cities by Forbes, are on to something. Despite having two teams consistently winning they are having issues with attendance. In the case of the Atlanta Thrashers, maybe Gary Bettman should get a free pass when the argument is that hockey doesn't work in the South. Low attendance is just par for the course when it comes to Atlanta and professional sports.
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