Using data, because that’s what he does, Nate Silver tried to break down the size of hockey fanbases. And he used the simplest of sources. “It turns out that there’s a strong relationship between Google searches and an NHL team’s bottom line,” Silver wrote. “How often fans are Googling the term “NHL” in a metro area reliably predicts how much they’re spending on hockey tickets.” As you can see in the chart above, Silver ranks the Flyers as having the 5th largest fanbase in the NHL, and they have the 4th highest average attendance. Yet, they’re the only team with a top-10 popularity rating whose fans didn’t spend over $100 million on tickets this year. Why? Because they were cheap.
To figure out average price, Silver “estimated [the cost] based on a 50/50 blend of face-value and resale-market prices.” That resale market could be why the Flyers’ tickets averaged $101, a whole $37 per-ticket behind the next cheapest in the top-10 (Pittsburgh). The Flyers may have had a (very) disappointing year, but a large fanbase, relatively cheap tickets, and a consistently packed house are things you can still hold over everyone’s heads. Except Toronto, but that’s unfair.