Swiss fans flock to arenas

NLA, SC Bern top in European attendance study

ZURICH – The IIHF has published the annual European club ice hockey attendance study based on the regular season. Same as last year the Swiss National League A is the league with the highest attendance, and SC Bern the most popular club in Europe.

Scroll down for the club and league rankings.

Swiss club SC Bern has the highest attendance in Europe for the 13th consecutive year. While the team went through a disappointing season on the sporting side – SC Bern became the first reigning Swiss champion to miss the playoffs – this didn’t seem to spoil the hockey parties in the country’s capital. In average 16,347 fans came to each game – a new European record after last year’s number of 16,330. That’s 95.32 per cent of the PostFinance Arena’s capacity.

Otherwise the top-10 look quite different. Belarusian KHL team Dynamo Minsk dropped from second to sixth place in a difficult season for the club. Eisbären Berlin also had a lower number, and same as SC Bern missed the quarter-finals as the reigning champion, but still move up from third to second place.

SKA St. Petersburg is now the KHL team with the best attendance and follows in third place, two spots up. Germany’s Kölner Haie and Adler Mannheim are fourth and fifth. Slovan Bratislava is the seventh and last team this year to reach five digits thanks to a rising number of fans in the seats.

Frölunda Gothenburg, the most attended Swedish club team, Finland’s Jokerit Helsinki and ZSC Lions Zurich from Switzerland complete this year’s top-10.

Latvian KHL team Dinamo Riga made the biggest move from 30th to 13th place with 8,083 fans. Two promoted teams also made a big jump in the ranking after moving up to their countries’ top league for this season. Sweden’s Leksands IF improved from 58th to 26th place and Switzerland’s Lausanne HC from 72nd to 28th place.

Number 46 in the list saw a new entry with Admiral Vladivostok. The KHL team in the Far East port city was created from scratch last summer and averaged 5,256 spectators in its first season of existence. On the other hand another KHL team created from scratch in 2012 seemed to lose appeal, as Czech club Lev Prague suffered the biggest drop among the top-100 teams, from 18th to 54th.

The top-100 teams came from 16 different countries: Austria, Belarus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Norway, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine.

The top-100 also includes six teams from minor leagues including Djurgården Stockholm with 6,142 fans in Sweden’s second-tier league Allsvenskan. Germany’s Löwen Frankfurt averaged 3,708 fans in the third-tier Oberliga.

The Swiss National League A remains the European league with the highest attendance. In average, 6,872 fans came to NLA games. That’s a growth of 3.8 per cent and a new European record for a national league. Lausanne’s promotion in place of SCL Tigers Langnau made the biggest difference in the team’s attendance fortunes. In total eight out of 12 teams had growing numbers.

The German Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) remains in second position. Its attendance grew by 2.8 per cent to 6,343 spectators. Eight out of the 14 teams in the league enjoyed growing numbers.

The Swedish Hockey League moved from fourth to third place at the expense of the Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League. The average attendance went up by 4.6 per cent to 5,978 although only five of the 12 teams actually had increasing numbers. The two promoted teams Leksand and Örebro along with Frölunda were the biggest contributors in the overall growth.

The Russian KHL couldn’t keep up with the growth and had 4.8 per cent fewer fans in average than one year ago now averaging 5,812 fans. 16 out of 27 clubs that existed last year saw shrinking attendances – a trend that continued in the second-tier VHL league. Even new Croatian KHL entry Medvescak Zagreb had lower numbers than last year when it played in the Austrian league.

The numbers in the three leagues ranked behind the KHL, the Finnish Liiga (4,974), the Czech Extraliga (4,948) and the Austrian-based EBEL (2,935) also went down.

The British Elite Ice Hockey League grew its attendance to 2,012 and overtook the Slovak Extraliga whose ninth position is challenged by Norway and France with growing numbers of fans.

The league with the worldwide biggest attendance remains the National Hockey League with 17,953 spectators (as of 18 March) followed by the top four European leagues and the American Hockey League (5,310 fans).

MARTIN MERK

Attendance figures in European hockey leagues 2013/2014

 

Club

Country

Average

Cap. %

1.

(1.)

SC Bern

SUI

16,347

95.42%

2.

(3.)

Eisbären Berlin

GER

12,738

89.70%

3.

(5.)

SKA St. Petersburg

RUS

12,133

97.06%

4.

(4.)

Kölner Haie

GER

11,712

63.31%

5.

(6.)

Adler Mannheim

GER

11,283

82.96%

6.

(2.)

Dynamo Minsk

BLR

10,426

70.47%

7.

(7.)

Slovan Bratislava

SVK

10,013

99.58%

8.

(11.)

Frölunda Gothenburg

SWE

9,362

77.73%

9.

(8.)

Jokerit Helsinki

FIN

9,252

67.71%

10.

(9.)

ZSC Lions Zurich

SUI

9,048

80.79%

11.

(15.)

Hamburg Freezers

GER

8,506

66.44%

12.

(10.)

Lokomotiv Yaroslavl

RUS

8,404

92.90%

13.

(30.)

Dinamo Riga

LAT

8,083

78.48%

14.

(12.)

HC Pardubice

CZE

8,037

90.40%

15.

(13.)

Avangard Omsk

RUS

8,026

77.79%

16.

(14.)

Medvescak Zagreb

CRO

7,828

17.

(22.)

Genève-Servette

SUI

7,722

18.

(19.)

Salavat Yulayev Ufa

RUS

7,662

19.

(25.)

Sparta Prague

CZE

7,117

20.

(17.)

Kometa Brno

CZE

7,034

21.

(21.)

Amur Khabarovsk

RUS

7,023

 

22.

(26.)

Sibir Novosibirsk

RUS

6,936

 

23.

(16.)

HIFK Helsinki

FIN

6,763

 

24.

(28.)

Linköpings HC

SWE

6,697

 

25.

(23.)

HV71 Jönköping

SWE

6,587

 

26.

(58.)

Leksands IF

SWE

6,574

 

27.

(24.)

Fribourg-Gottéron

SUI

6,570

 

28.

(72.)

Lausanne HC

SUI

6,528

 

29.

(27.)

EV Zug

SUI

6,159

 

30.

(32.)

Djurgården Stockholm

SWE-2

6,142

 

31.

(20.)

Traktor Chelyabinsk

RUS

6,122

 

32.

(35.)

Kärpät Oulu

FIN

6,086

 

33.

(31.)

Färjestad Karlstad

SWE

5,963

 

34.

(36.)

MODO Örnsköldsvik

SWE

5,701

 

35.

(29.)

Brynäs Gävle

SWE

5,701

 

36.

(42.)

Tappara Tampere

FIN

5,686

 

37.

(55.)

Düsseldorfer EG

GER

5,683

 

38.

(44.)

Dynamo Moscow

RUS

5,676

 

39.

(39.)

Malmö Redhawks

SWE-2

5,667

 

40.

(62.)

HC Ambrì-Piotta

SUI

5,631

 

41.

(45.)

Kloten Flyers

SUI

5,627

 

42.

(51.)

Krefeld Pinguine

GER

5,513

 

43.

(53.)

Vitkovice Ostrava

CZE

5,367

 

44.

(38.)

Skoda Plzen

CZE

5,279

 

45.

(54.)

Nottingham Panthers

GBR

5,259

 

46.

new

Admiral Vladivostok

RUS

5,256

 

47.

(37.)

Atlant Mytishi

RUS

5,248

 

48.

(82.)

Augsburger Panther

GER

5,235

 

49.

(48.)

Skellefteå AIK

SWE

5,225

 

50.

(61.)

Ilves Tampere

FIN

5,210

 

51.

(46.)

SCL Tigers Langnau

SUI-2

5,208

 

52.

(94.)

Avtom. Yekaterinburg

RUS

5,174

 

53.

(33.)

TPS Turku

FIN

5,150

 

54.

(18.)

Lev Prague

CZE

5,139

 

55.

(34.)

Nuremberg Ice Tigers

GER

5,127

 

56.

(49.)

Luleå HF

SWE

5,090

 

57.

(67.)

HC Lugano

SUI

5,040

 

58.

(103.)

Örebro HK

SWE

5,027

 

59.

(56.)

Växjö Lakers

SWE

5,022

 

60.

(68.)

Espoo Blues

FIN

4,891

 

61.

(66.)

Slavia Prague

CZE

4,861

 

62.

(52.)

Vienna Capitals

AUT

4,846

 

63.

(59.)

AIK Stockholm

SWE

4,788

 

64.

(65.)

HC Davos

SUI

4,782

 

65.

(76.)

HK Hradec Kralove

CZE

4,748

 

66.

(57.)

Straubing Tigers

GER

4,729

 

67.

(78.)

Bili Tygri Liberec

CZE

4,681

 

68.

(60.)

EHC Biel

SUI

4,651

 

69.

(40.)

Metallurg Magnitogorsk

RUS

4,566

 

70.

(121.)

Schwenningen

GER

4,530

 

71.

(50.)

Neft. Nizhnekamsk

RUS

4,481

 

72.

(73.)

HC Litvinov

CZE

4,401

 

73.

(70.)

Rapperswil-J. Lakers

SUI

4,361

 

74.

(110.)

Grenoble Brûleurs d.L.

FRA

4,343

 

75.

(74.)

PSG Zlin

CZE

4,284

 

76.

(71.)

Ässät Pori

FIN

4,155

 

77.

(100.)

Stavanger Oilers

NOR

4,119

 

78.

(93.)

SaiPa Lappeenranta

FIN

4,105

 

79.

(88.)

Belfast Giants

GBR

4,023

 

80.

(79.)

Pelicans Lahti

FIN

3,996

 

81.

(83.)

KAC Klagenfurt

AUT

3,971

 

82.

(63.)

Ak Bars Kazan

RUS

3,937

 

83.

(99.)

Iserlohn Roosters

GER

3,913

 

84.

(98.)

Donbass Donetsk

UKR

3,885

 

85.

(97.)

Black Wings Linz

AUT

3,865

 

86.

(91.)

JYP Jyväskylä

FIN

3,802

 

87.

(75.)

Severstal Cherepovets

RUS

3,766

 

88.

(86.)

Lukko Rauma

FIN

3,762

 

89.

(113.)

Barys Astana

KAZ

3,733

 

90.

(76.)

HC Ceske Budejovice

CZE-2

3,724

 

91.

(87.)

Löwen Frankfurt

GER-3

3,708

 

92.

(96.)

Ocelari Trinec

CZE

3,704

 

93.

(84.)

HC Kosice

SVK

3,703

 

94.

(105.)

EHC Red Bull Munich

GER

3,654

 

95.

(81.)

Pirati Chomutov

CZE

3,644

 

96.

(47.)

Torpedo N. Novgorod

RUS

3,644

 

97.

new

Björklöven Umeå

SWE-2

3,641

 

98.

(101.)

ERC Ingolstadt

GER

3,640

 

99.

(89.)

HPK Hämeenlinna

FIN

3,599

 

100.

(95.)

VSV Villach

AUT

3,555

 


Regular-Season average league attendance Europe & Asia

 

League

Attendance

1.

Switzerland - National League A

6,872

2.

Germany - Deutsche Eishockey Liga

6,343

3.

Sweden - Swedish Hockey Liga

5,978

4.

Russia - Kontinental Hockey League

5,812

5.

Finland - Liiga

4,974

6.

Czech Republic - Extraliga

4,948

7.

Austria - EBEL

2,935

8.

Great Britain - Elite Ice Hockey League

2,012

9.

Slovakia - Extraliga

1,794

10.

Norway - Get Ligaen

1,741

11.

France - Ligue Magnus

1,627

12.

Denmark - AL-Bank Liga

1,492

13.

Italy - Serie A

1,049

14.

Asia League (CHN/KOR/JPN)

956

15.

Belarus - Extraliga

952

16.

Poland - Polska Liga

920

17.

Hungary/Romania - MOL Liga

866

18.

Netherlands - Eredivisie

756

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