Attendances at Ottawa Senators games have dropped in each of the past four seasons and is a real concern with the future of the team’s ownership still uncertain.
The Ottawa Senators fought valiantly but ultimately lost 6-4 to the visiting Stanley Cup champions the St. Louis Blues last night, doing so in front of just 9204 fans.
That figure is reportedly the lowest of any home game over the past five years and now, as illustrated by Andrew Foote of CBC News, it is clear to see how severe the drop has been for the Senators.
Between 2005 and 2013, the Senators had five seasons where attendances were comfortably above 19,000 while all of them were at least above 18,000.
Since 2015, however, things have looked far bleaker and 18,000 has been achieved just once – during the 2015/16 season.
Even the 2016/17 season, which saw the Senators come within one goal of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals, dropped below 17,000 and last season’s last-place finish drew in around 14,500 on average.
From having attendances regularly reaching the Top-5 in the league, to slipping down to the mid-to-late twenties is a shocking sign for the franchise and may have a significant impact on the ability to attract a new owner.
Eugene Melnyk, while not actively advertising the team’s availability, finally appears willing to move on and allow someone else to take on the daunting task of running the team and getting it back to the heady days of the early 2000s.
The hope for the franchise must be that an owner can be found soon, reinvigorating a fanbase that has made their dissatisfaction with Melnyk known over the past few years.
Coupling this with the promising future the team is showing on the ice, with many talented young prospects already in the system and a number of important draft picks still to come, things should turn around from the Ottawa Senators.
But until that happens, the continually plummeting attendances are a serious concern that isn’t likely to go away in any other circumstances.
What do you think Sens fans? Are you one of the many that have opted to stay away on game days? If/when Melnyk sells the team, will you return? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!