Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Colorado College, Air Force hockey attendances slip this past season

By Joe Paisley Updated: March 24, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Colorado College hockey attendance this past season dipped as expected but moved up in the national rankings.

The average attendance for the Tigers this past season, not including exhibition games, was 6,420, down 559 from the all-time high of 6,979 for World Arena set last season. The numbers cited reflect tickets sold, not fans in attendance.

"Last year we were up quite a bit," said Scott Lowenberg, CC associate athletic director, external operations. "We definitely saw a dip in single-game ticket sales, about 500 a game, which was no surprise during a seven-win season."

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Last year's average ranked Colorado College fifth in Division I according to U.S. College Hockey Online. This year, CC moved past Nebraska-Omaha (6,331, 38 percent capacity) with Minnesota (11,553, 115 percent) No. 1 ahead of North Dakota (11,338, 97.5 percent). Wisconsin was third at 10,478 (68.8 percent). The fourth-place finish was the best since the 2007-08 season (6,965).

Hosting crosstown rival Air Force on a weeknight (6,041) and playing new conference foe Miami, which drew the fewest fans (5,480) on Jan. 24, also played big factors, Lowenberg said.

"Not having North Dakota hurt us too," he said. "I hope we never play Air Force on a Tuesday again."

Air Force's attendance also dipped with an average of 1,901 fans, 319 fewer than the previous season. That continued a downward trend from a high of 2,668 for the 2010-11 season.

While single-game sales suffered last season, other revenue was up for CC, Lowenberg said, including season ticket sales, sponsorships and fundraising.

Lowenberg said season-ticket holders continue to upgrade to the more-expensive lower bowl sides. Some may wait to see the result of Tiger coach Scott Owens' annual review - estimated to be completed in about two weeks - with athletic director Ken Ralph.

"We definitely cannot afford to have a couple more seven-win seasons like this one or it will hurt us," Lowenberg said.

Lowenberg is hopeful home attendance will bounce back next season with early games against North Dakota, Denver and Wisconsin.

"We're all disappointed in last year but I don't expect a lot of people to jump off the CC train," he said. "We will get out into the community more this offseason and get the word out about Tiger hockey."

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