SC Bern 10th time on top

Swiss club and Swedish league lead European attendance rankings

15-03-12
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SC Bern's PostFinance Arena was the European hockey rink with the most fans for the tenth year in a row. Photo: Daniel Wenger / Photopress

ZURICH – Swiss club SC Bern was the most-attended European hockey team for the tenth consecutive time in the 2011/2012 regular season, which saw a record number of seven clubs reach the 10,000 mark.

The average attendance at the arena that hosted the 2009 IIHF World Championship went down from 15,856 to 15,779, but SC Bern defended its position with a comfortable margin. The Swiss club has higher attendance average than nine NHL franchises this season.

Scroll down for the chart with the top clubs and leagues.

The last time another team than SCB was first in Europe was in 2002 when Kölner Haie from Cologne, Germany, beat the Swiss by a margin of 64 spectators.

In the 2011/2012 season, Europe had for the first time seven clubs that reached the 10,000-fan mark. The previous record was five clubs (2006, 2007, 2009, 2010).

Dynamo Minsk from Belarus claimed second place for the first time, averaging 14,193 spectators. The club brand that existed during the Soviet times returned when the club was revived in 2003.

In 2008 the team from the Belarusian capital joined the Russian Kontinental Hockey League. Dynamo Minsk went from 61st to third place last year following the opening of the 15,000-seat Minsk Arena and overtook Germany’s Eisbären Berlin for second place.

Eisbären was third with 14,073 fans ahead of league rival Kölner Haie (10,494) and Sweden’s Frölunda Gothenburg (10,482), which improved one spot from last season.

The newest team in the “10,000 club” is SKA St. Petersburg. With an average of 10,126 spectators SKA became the first Russian club ever to average a five-digit attendance. Germany’s Adler Mannheim broke the 10,000 mark in the last few games, ending up with 10,018 fans per game.

Other notable facts:

  • Lokomotiv Yaroslavl averaged 8,961 fans in Russia’s second-tier league, where the club played part of the season following the tragic air-plane crash last September that wiped out the entire team. The number helped “Loko” to stay in the ranking as 11th. Another second-tier team in the top-50 were the Malmö Redhawks (33rd). The city in southern Sweden will host the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship and has been attempting to get back to the Elitserien since being relegated in 2007.
  • Salavat Yulayev Ufa sold out every KHL game with 7,950 fans with a little more than nine months to go before the 2013 IIHF World Juniors in the city. The only other club to sell out all games came also from Russia. Amur Khabarovsk from the Far East had 7,100 in each and every home match.
  • HIFK Helsinki and HV71 Jönköping even had numbers that exceeded their arena capacity, but that was due to outdoor games.
  • Also the home teams of the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship venues did well. Jokerit Helsinki improved to ninth place with 9,173 fans while Djurgården Stockholm averaged 7,723 fans and came 17th. The team played three games in the Ericsson Globe and the others in Hovet, the ancient arena from 1955 across the square.
  • Croatian club Medvescak Zagreb continues to impress with its attendance figures. The club that is currently playing in the semi-finals of the Austrian EBEL league improved its position (12th) and attendance (8,835) to break last year’s record. Impressive for a country with only 437 registered ice hockey players. Thanks to its success the club is being courted by the Russian KHL.
  • Slovan Bratislava was the club that gained the most places in the ranking, improving from 114th to 36th. The club from the Slovak capital averaged 5,907 fans after moving back to their rink. The arena was torn down and reconstructed prior to the 2011 IIHF World Championship. With this number Slovan was also ranked two spots above arch-rival HC Kosice. Another big jump was done by the Växjö Lakers (112th to 49th) that played in the Swedish top league for the first time.
  • There are even two third-tier clubs in the top-100, both from two German cities that used to play in the DEL until recently. The Kassel Huskies had to restart with their amateur team in the fourth tier after bankruptcy in 2010, but went up to Germany’s third tier, Oberliga, and averaged 4,293 fans in the regular season. Putting it in perspective: That’s more than the three KHL teams in Moscow average. Kassel’s destiny is shared by another team from the Hesse state. The Frankfurt Lions were re-launched as Löwen Frankfurt and played in the same Oberliga division, averaging 4,056 fans.

While the top spot is occupied by a Swiss club for the tenth straight time, the Swedish Elitserien claimed back the title of the league with the highest average attendance.

The attendance of the Elitserien clubs rose from 6,160 to 6,385 (+3.65%) while it went down by one to 6,305 in Switzerland’s National League A.

Leagues also swapped places below the top two. Germany’s DEL surpassed the Russian KHL and is now third with 6,060 fans (+5.28%) while the Russian league averaged 5,891 fans (+1.83%).

The Finnish SM-liiga improved to fifth place with 5,103 fans (+5.59%) overtaking the Czech Extraliga that averaged 4,824 spectators (-2.27%).

Four European leagues have attendance figures that are only behind the NHL, but ahead of the American Hockey League, the second-best attended league in North America.

An encouraging fact is that the numbers increased in ten of the 13 best-attended leagues in Europe (Sweden, Germany, Russia, Finland, Austria, Slovakia, Great Britain, Norway, France, Belarus) while the numbers were virtually unchanged in Switzerland and Denmark, and dropped only in the Czech Extraliga.

The best attended club team in the world are again the Chicago Blackhawks with 21,525 fans, followed by the Montreal Canadiens with 21,273. The AHL’s Hershey Bears are the best-attended minor-league team with 9,780 spectators per game while the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts are by far  the best-attended junior team, averaging 10,525 fans.

The Asian team with the highest average attendance were Japan’s Nikko Ice Bucks with 1,466 spectators. The Asia League comprised of teams from Japan, Korea and China averaged 1,024 fans, a number that’s behind the top leagues of 13 European countries, but before Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and Ukraine.

MARTIN MERK

Attendance figures in European hockey leagues 2011-2012

 

Club

Country

Average

Cap. %

1.

(1.)

SC Bern

SUI

15,779

92.11%

2.

(3.)

Dynamo Minsk

BLR

14,193

94.08%

3.

(2.)

Eisbären Berlin

GER

14,073

99.11%

4.

(4.)

Kölner Haie

GER

10,494

56.72%

5.

(6.)

Frölunda Gothenburg

SWE

10,482

87.03%

6.

(11.)

SKA St. Petersburg

RUS

10,126

81.01%

7.

(5.)

Adler Mannheim

GER

10,018

73.66%

8.

(20.)

Hamburg Freezers

GER

9,221

72.02%

9.

(10.)

Jokerit Helsinki

FIN

9,173

67.13%

10.

(7.)

Avangard Omsk

RUS

9,143

88.61%

11.

(8.)

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl

RUS-2

8,961

98.80%

12.

(13.)

Medvescak Zagreb

CRO

8,835

96.50%

13.

(9.)

HC Pardubice

CZE

8,380

82.21%

14.

(26.)

HIFK Helsinki

FIN

8,284

102.02%

15.

(12.)

Salavat Yulayev Ufa

RUS

7,950

100.00%

16.

(15.)

Dinamo Riga

LAT

7,733

75.08%

17.

(16.)

Djurgården Stockholm

SWE

7,723

95.42%

18.

(14.)

ZSC Lions Zurich

SUI

7,625

71.26%

19.

(18.)

Traktor Chelyabinsk

RUS

7,337

97.83%

20.

(22.)

HV71 Jönköping

SWE

7,232

103.31%

21.

(19.)

Amur Khabarovsk

RUS

7,100

22.

(27.)

Met. Magnitogorsk

RUS

7,035

23.

(17.)

Kometa Brno

CZE

6,960

24.

(26.)

Linköpings HC

SWE

6,903

25.

(21.)

Genève-Servette

SUI

6,769

26.

(25.)

Fribourg-Gottéron

SUI

6,636

27.

(23.)

Färjestad Karlstad

SWE

6,589

28.

(32.)

Atlant Mytishi

RUS

6,278

29.

(45.)

Sparta Prague

CZE

6,273

30.

(29.)

EV Zug

SUI

6,265

31.

(35.)

Brynäs Gävle

SWE

6,265

32.

(30.)

MODO Örnsköldsvik

SWE

6,119

33.

(64.)

Malmö Redhawks

SWE-2

6,072

34.

(34.)

Kloten Flyers

SUI

6,041

35.

(28.)

Sibir Novosibirsk

RUS

5,918

36.

(114.)

Slovan Bratislava

SVK

5,907

37.

(37.)

Kärpät Oulu

FIN

5,821

38.

(33.)

HC Kosice

SVK

5,678

39.

(31.)

HC Plzen

CZE

5,584

40.

(40.)

TPS Turku

FIN

5,534

41.

(52.)

Torpedo N. Novgorod

RUS

5,481

42.

(36.)

AIK Stockholm

SWE

5,450

43.

(51.)

Tappara Tampere

FIN

5,358

44.

(41.)

SCL Tigers Langnau

SUI

5,290

45.

(44.)

DEG Metro Stars

GER

5,225

46.

(42.)

Ilves Tampere

FIN

5,208

47.

(43.)

Luleå HF

SWE

5,154

48.

(39.)

Bili Tygri Liberec

CZE

5,140

49.

(112.)

Växjö Lakers

SWE

5,099

50.

(50.)

Skellefteå AIK

SWE

5,078

51.

(46.)

Neft. Nizhnekamsk

RUS

5,037

52.

(81.)

Vienna Capitals

AUT

4,906

53.

(54.)

Ak Bars Kazan

RUS

4,876

54.

(47.)

Vitkovice Ostrava

CZE

4,867

55.

(103.)

Met. Novokuznetsk

RUS

4,822

56.

(65.)

Straubing Tigers

GER

4,820

57.

(53.)

Leksands IF

SWE-2

4,820

58.

(66.)

Lausanne HC

SUI-2

4,798

59.

(59.)

Ässät Pori

FIN

4,781

60.

(80.)

Pelicans Lahti

FIN

4,750

61.

(60.)

EHC Biel

SUI

4,749

62.

(62.)

Nottingham Panthers

GBR

4,694

63.

(58.)

PSG Zlin

CZE

4,553

64.

(93.)

Sev. Cherepovets

RUS

4,548

65.

(61.)

HC Davos

SUI

4,544

66.

(49.)

Timrå IK

SWE

4,523

67.

(72.)

Yuzhny Ural Orsk

RUS-2

4,493

68.

(48.)

Slavia Prague

CZE

4,492

69.

(63.)

Krefeld Pinguine

GER

4,486

70.

(69.)

KAC Klagenfurt

AUT

4,343

71.

(62.)

HC Litvinov

CZE

4,336

72.

(56.)

Ceske Budejovice

CZE

4,319

73.

(-.)

Lev Poprad

SVK

4,313

74.

(-.)

Kassel Huskies

GER-3

4,293

75.

(91.)

Augsburger Panther

GER

4,267

76.

(77.)

KalPa Kuopio

FIN

4,170

77.

(67.)

Rapperswil-Jona

SUI

4,135

78.

(75.)

HC Lugano

SUI

4,125

79.

(90.)

Iserlohn Roosters

GER

4,124

80.

(57.)

Nürnberg Ice Tigers

GER

4,112

81.

(-.)

Löwen Frankfurt

GER-3

4,056

82.

(95.)

Yermak Angarsk

RUS-2

4,036

83.

(38.)

Dynamo Moscow

RUS

4,026

84.

(76.)

JYP Jyväskylä

FIN

3,975

85.

(97.)

Khanty-Mansisk

RUS

3,937

86.

(87.)

Belfast Giants

GBR

3,898

87.

(82.)

ERC Ingolstadt

GER

3,854

88.

(78.)

Lukko Rauma

FIN

3,849

89.

(70.)

Hannover Scorpions

GER

3,847

90.

(79.)

EHC München

GER

3,843

91.

(55.)

Barys Astana

KAZ

3,756

92.

(84.)

HC Ambrì-Piotta

SUI

3,707

93.

(68.)

Espoo Blues

FIN

3,682

94.

(-.)

Donbass Donetsk

UKR

3,556

95.

(73.)

Yekaterinburg

RUS

3,550

96.

(125.)

Black Wings Linz

AUT

3,512

97.

(94.)

HPK Hämeenlinna

FIN

3,480

98.

(83.)

Ocelari Trinec

CZE

3,444

99.

(102.)

Fehervar AV19

HUN

3,437

100.

(88.)

VSV Villach

AUT

3,422


Regular-Season average attendance Europe & Asia

 

League

Attendance

1.

Sweden - Elitserien

6,385

2.

Switzerland - National League A

6,305

3.

Germany - Deutsche Eishockey Liga

6,060

4.

Russia - Kontinental Hockey League

5,891

5.

Finland - SM-liiga

5,103

6.

Czech Republic - Extraliga

4,824

7.

Austria - EBEL

3,606

8.

Slovakia - Extraliga

2,687

9.

Great Britain - Elite Ice Hockey League

2,028

10.

Norway - Get Ligaen

1,462

11.

France - Ligue Magnus

1,391

12.

Denmark - AL-Bank Liga

1,301

13.

Belarus - Extraliga

1,111

14.

Asia League (CHN/KOR/JPN)

1,024

15.

Italy - Serie A

987

 
Regular-Season average attendance 2nd-tier leagues Europe

 

League

Attendance

1.

Sweden - Allsvenskan

2,606

2.

Germany - 2. Bundesliga

2,303

3.

Russia - VHL

2,252

4.

Switzerland - National League B

2,112

5.

Finland - Mestis

1,172

6.

Czech Republic - 1. liga

1,130

 
Regular-Season average attendance North America (pro/juniors)

 

League

Attendance

1.

National Hockey League

17,381

2.

American Hockey League

5,545

3.

Western Hockey League

4,196

4.

ECHL

4,188

5.

Central Hockey League

4,024

6.

Ontario Hockey League

3,624

7.

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

3,208

8.

Southern Professional Hockey League

2,765

9.

United States Hockey League

2,335

 
Note: The regular season in North America and Great Britain were not completed as of publication date, 15 March 2012.


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