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New Mexico Scorpions, CHL struggle

The New Mexico Scorpions say they’ll lose a million dollars this season; their predicament is typical of what’s going on in the CHL.The New Mexico Scorpions say they’ll lose money again this season and are restructuring operations to pare down payroll and expenses; their predicament is typical of what’s going on in the Central Hockey League.

True, no franchises have folded — as opposed to the ECHL, where both Augusta and Fresno have thrown in the towel in the midst of the season — but virtually every CHL team is seeing an attendance decline, some quite serious. The Oklahoma City Blazers averaged 5,926 fans a game through the first 19 matches, quite a decline from an average attendance of 8,713 fans per game last season. (We’re guessing the impact of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder was a little more calamitous than anticipated.) Attendance for the Wichita Thunder is down, but we expect things to pick up with a move to a new arena next season. The issues in Broomfield have been chronicled elsewhere on Arena Digest. Only the Colorado Eagles are bucking the trend, selling out every game this season at the Budweiser Events Center.

And the Scorpions are now averaging 2,529 fans a game, down from 2,979 last season and 3,217 the season before. By contrast, the team averaged more than 4,000 fans a season while playing at Tingley Coliseum.

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