The 2017-18 AHL season marked more success at the gate for the Springfield Thunderbirds, who used the season to build attendance and revenue momentum.
During the 2016-17 season, the Thunderbirds emerged as one of the better success stories in the AHL. After relocating from Portland, ME to replace the outgoing Springfield Falcons, the Thunderbirds averaged 4,664 fans per game last season. That outpaced the average of 3,108 drawn in 2015-16 by the Falcons, and created a newfound sense of optimism for the state of professional hockey in Springfield. (Our own Jeff Goldberg profiled the Falcons’ 2016-17 season in a story last September.)
With the 2017-18 season came more success for the Thunderbirds. Under team president Nathan Costa, the team saw increases in attendance and in some key revenue figures. That not only solidifies the Thunderbirds’ level of fan support at the MassMutual Center, but provides a base for growth in the 2018-19 season. More from The Springfield Republican:
In total, average attendance at games has gone up from 4,664 in 2016-17 to 4,985 a year later – with revenue and both group and season-ticket plans also on the rise in the team’s second season.
The one slight dip, revenue-wise, is in individual sales — something that Costa noted might be a positive.
“What’s been successful for us has been that focus on long term viability and growth and we’re seeing it in every piece of our business,” Costa said. “If you see an increase in partial plans and season tickets, a lot of these people are coming from individual buyers.”
The Thunderbirds played their regular-season home finale on Saturday, before closing out the season on Sunday with a matchup at Providence. Heading into next season, the Thunderbirds and MassMutual Center can prepare for at least one major event, as Springfield is hosting the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic. That will include a series of events from January 27-28, 2019, with the All-Star Game taking place at MassMutual Center on the 28th.