Skip to content

Blue Jackets might make playoffs, but work remains to attract fans

Mar 29, 2014, 9:05 AM EDT

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 25: Columbus Blue Jackets fan Dustin Dulinksi waves an Ohio flag prior to the start of the game against the Detroit Red Wings on March 25, 2014 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Getty Images

With a 37-30-6 record, this is shaping up to be one of the best seasons in the history of the Columbus Blue Jackets. That’s a pretty sad statement, even after acknowledging the fact that the franchise only debuted in 2000-01.

Maybe that’s why fan interest in the Blue Jackets remains an area that’s lacking, even as the on-ice product seems to be moving in the right direction. Despite bolstering the number of season ticket holders they have compared to the shortened campaign, the Blue Jackets’ average home attendance has actually dropped this season and ranks 29th in the league at 13,959, per ESPN.com.

Only the Phoenix Coyotes have done worse and both teams are well behind the Dallas Stars, which rank 28th with an average of 14,477 fans. TV viewership for the Blue Jackets is similarly down and ranks 29th in the NHL.

“We’ve still got work to do with some folks, and we’ve not shied away from that,” Blue Jackets’ president of hockey operations John Davidson told the Columbus Dispatch. “People have been disappointed by their hockey team here through the years, and so we have a lot to prove to those people.”

This isn’t an issue the Blue Jackets can hope to completely solve by the summer, but they can certainly take some important steps in the right direction.

They are in the thick of the battle for an Eastern Conference Wild Card spot and if they get to the first round, that might spark renewed interest and excitement in the franchise. That would be especially true if they manage to at least make things interesting in the first round after they got swept in their only postseason series to date.

That’s the underlining theme as they prepare for tonight’s game against Carolina. They aren’t just fighting for a postseason spot. They are competing to win over a market that wants to start seeing results.

Latest Posts
  1. Sharks say Scott adds ‘element of security’

    Sep 21, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT

    John Scott AP

    Head coach Todd McLellan thinks he can play, at least.

  2. Canes’ LaRose explains hiatus: ‘I fell out of love with the sport’

    Sep 21, 2014, 10:10 PM EDT

    Florida Panthers v Carolina Hurricanes Getty Images

    “But sometimes you have to lose what you have to realize what you had.”

  3. Injuries piling up as preseason schedule begins

    Sep 21, 2014, 9:40 PM EDT

    New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Four Getty Images

    Players nursing bumps and bruises as camps wrap.

  4. Wild’s Yeo is already getting excited about Vanek

    Sep 21, 2014, 7:31 PM EDT

    Wild Vanek Hockey AP

    “He’s thinking usually two or three plays ahead.”

  5. It sure seems like Byfuglien would rather play on Jets’ D

    Sep 21, 2014, 6:09 PM EDT

    Winnipeg Jets v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    “God, defense was just so much fun though.”

  6. Report: Coyotes assess first-rounder Perlini’s broken hand

    Sep 21, 2014, 4:49 PM EDT

    Arizona Coyotes Rookie Camp Getty Images

    The team’s still trying to determine if surgery is necessary.

  7. Sens play it safe with Ryan after he collides with Turris

    Sep 21, 2014, 3:48 PM EDT

    Brandon Sutter, Bobby Ryan AP

    He won’t play in either of Ottawa’s Monday exhibitions games.

  8. Flyers’ Laughton likely headed to Lehigh Valley

    Sep 21, 2014, 3:02 PM EDT

    ScottLaughton Getty Images

    Seasoning in the AHL should serve the 20-year-old well.

  9. Schenn moves to center in Philadelphia

    Sep 21, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

    Brayden Schenn Getty Images

    With Giroux out, Craig Berube juggles lines.

  10. Hemsky adjusting to life in Dallas

    Sep 21, 2014, 10:31 AM EDT

    Toronto Maple Leafs v Ottawa Senators Getty Images

    Not at Oilers camp for the first time in his career.

  11. Jenner at center begins Sunday

    Sep 21, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    Boone Jenner #38 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on October 5, 2013 in Uniondale, New York. The Blue Jackets defeated the Islanders 3-2 in the shootout.
(October 4, 2013 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

    Columbus looking at options with Johansen not at camp.

  12. Report: Johansen has gotten no shortage of KHL offers

    Sep 20, 2014, 11:36 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets  v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Two Getty Images

    The restricted free agent seems to be at an impasse with Columbus.

  13. Merrill day-to-day with ‘wind taken out of him’ after head hit

    Sep 20, 2014, 11:01 PM EDT

    Jon Merrill Getty Images

    Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said he’s “fine,” but he initially said the same of Clowe when the player had a concussion.

  14. Versteeg looks to rebound from ‘brutal’ finish to 2013-14

    Sep 20, 2014, 10:05 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Two Getty Images

    The knee injury he sustained during the lockout shortened season might be partially to blame for his struggles.

  15. Luongo’s ‘mind is at ease’ in Florida

    Sep 20, 2014, 9:07 PM EDT

    Roberto Luongo Getty Images

    That’s after years of being the center of a goaltending controversy in Vancouver.

  16. Championship Kings reunited after short summer

    Sep 20, 2014, 8:09 PM EDT

    Justin Williams Getty Images

    Can they be the first repeat winners since Detroit in 1997-98?

  17. Could Burns bounce between forward and defense?

    Sep 20, 2014, 6:07 PM EDT

    BrentBurns3

    Do Thornton and Marleau disagree with coach Todd McLellan on this point?

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. C. Giroux (1116)
  2. B. Ryan (1082)
  3. J. Quick (1077)
  4. N. Horton (1054)
  5. J. Drouin (1049)