Dec 19, 2013, 3:05 PM EDT
The Phoenix Coyotes are dead last in NHL attendance. On Saturday, an announced crowd of just 11,697 showed up to Jobing.com Arena to watch the home team lose, 3-1, to Carolina.
But despite what may seem like a still-dire situation in the desert, Coyotes president and CEO Anthony LeBlanc is seeing signs of progress.
“Our next home game on December 27 against San Jose is going to be a sellout,” LeBlanc said yesterday on Arizona Sports 620 radio (audio). “So, the fact that we’re finally starting to sell out against some of these rivals in California — that’s a good sign. “
He added: “From a paid attendance perspective, we’re up somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 percent year over year; sponsorships we can’t even compare to the previous years — things are going so well for us.”
According to LeBlanc — who admits things could still be better and wouldn’t use the word “happy” to describe how he’s feeling about the business — making the playoffs will be “incredibly important” for the Coyotes in terms of helping the new ownership group in their turnaround plans.
Unfortunately, a postseason berth is far from guaranteed at this point.
Bottom 10 in NHL attendance:
Note: Winnipeg’s capacity is 15,004.
- Leafs re-sign Reimer — two years, $4.6 million 18
- Gorges still can’t explain falling out of favor in Montreal 13
- Eller, Habs agree to four-year, $14 million contract 10
- Cory Sarich hospitalized following cycling accident, expects ‘full recovery’ 7
- Stamkos shrugs off talk of LeBron-like homecoming to Toronto in 2016 30
- Avs and O’Reilly agree on two-year deal, but questions remain 45
- Rangers and Kreider avoid arbitration, agree on two-year deal 39
- Zuccarello takes Rangers’ one year, $3.5M deal 42
- Advancement? Leafs sign Booth for one year, $1.1M 25
- Leafs hire 28-year-old stats advocate as assistant GM 32
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- Vanek connected to federal gambling investigation (61)
- Lucic regrets handshake-line actions, but isn’t apologizing (58)
- Report: O’Reilly wants $6.7M deal, Avs counter at $5.5M (58)
- Red Wings unveil plans for new arena, look to open in 2017 (57)