2018-19 Attendance by Weeks, Months and Playoffs Rounds

Are you interested in the 2018-19 KHL average attendance week by week? Well, here you get to find it out. Let us begin.

I compared the 2018-19 average attendance in various European hockey leagues in my previous piece. Now it is time to look at the KHL in detail. I will talk the average attendances of the regular-season and playoffs separately. So it will be weekly or monthly progress during the regular season, and playoffs development round by round.

The Best-Attended Week in the League’s History

The 2018-19 KHL regular-season started on the 1st of September when Ak Bars Kazan hosted SKA St.Petersburg. The Neva team (SKA), won the first trophy of the season, the Opening Cup; this match is played between the previous season’s playoff champion (Gagarin Cup Winner) and the previous season’s Continental Cup winner. The regular-season consisted of 775 games in 24 playing weeks. Let us look at them.

The average attendance of the regular-season was 6,392 spectators (red line in the weekly graph). It was the second most-attended regular-season ever. As we can see in the graph, the weekly average attendance varied from 5,432 to 8,275 spectators. The biggest number shows the best-attended regular-season week ever, and it happened in the first week of 2019. You need to know that the first week of the year belongs to the biggest Russian national holidays due to New Year’s celebrations (much bigger than in other countries) and the Orthodox Church Christmas. So, people have free time to watch a hockey game, and they really love it.

But back to the attendance. The KHL has a much bigger disparity in venue capacity than other European leagues. Perhaps, just the DEL is the only one similar to the KHL. This is A big reason for the change in my graph. You can see weeks when teams with bigger venues played at home (higher attendance). Contrary to the weeks where teams with smaller venues played (lower attendance). It really is as simple as that.     

KHL regular season 2018-19 weeks

KHL World Games Negatively Affected the Monthly Attendance

The KHL World Games took place in Vienna, Austria (Oct 26-28, week 8) and Zűrich, Switzerland (Nov 26-28, week 12). Furthermore, Jokerit played two home games in Tallin, Estonia (Oct 26 & 28, week 8). All six games were less attended than a typical game at home venue, and of course, it shows in the graph. You can see very low numbers for week 8 and week 12. 

And these games had a negative aspect of monthly attendance as well. You can see this in the monthly graph. Numbers for October & November were lower than September. The KHL needs to work on these two months to get better.

Since December you can see a much bigger increase in monthly average attendance. The factor is very simple, holidays during Christmas time in Europe & Orthodox Christmas in Russia. Besides, SKA played against CSKA at football’s Gazprom Arena on the 22nd of December. The game was attended by 67,770 spectators. Of course, it affected the weekly (15) and monthly attendance. And the bigger attendance in February is obvious, the playoffs time is coming, fans support their teams as much as possible when they make it to the post-season.

KHL regular season 2018-19 months

The 2019 Gagarin Cup Playoffs Make the Record for the League

Here I will repeat myself. The truth is that the attendance in the post-season depends very much on available stadiums. And the 2019 Gagarin Cup playoffs confirmed that in its best way. You would expect the attendance would be the best in the Finals. However, the Gagarin Cup Finals was almost the fewest attended rounds in the 2019 playoffs. Why? First and foremost, four games were played in the arena in Balashika, the home for Avangard. It has the capacity of just 6,000 spectators. Even though CSKA Moscow play at a 12,000 seat arena, the average attendance of the round was just 8,265 spectators. 

Finally, I will remind you that a total of 80 games were played at the 2019 Gagarin Cup playoffs. The first round consisted of 43 games, the second round, 20 games and fans would see 13 games in the third round. Of course, the Gagarin Cup Finals provided just four games.  The overall playoffs average attendance was 8,659 spectators. It is a record for all of the KHL playoffs since they began in 2009.

KHL 2018-19 playoffs

Feature Image Credit: (Photo by Peter Kovalev\TASS via Getty Images)

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I support European club hockey and I want European hockey to be as strong as possible. European hockey fans have witnessed too many attempts to launch a cross-border competition. I have been following hockey all my life and I have had the same question. Why is there not a hockey version of the UEFA Champions League? Or a European version of the NHL? 2008 was a year when a version of both, was launched. As a fan, I started to follow both leagues although it was not cool to follow the KHL at the time. Furthermore, it was a bit complicated to get the first-hand information about the KHL, the media did not cover the league as deeply as I would want. Based on my experience with the KHL & other European club hockey competitions I would like to write about the most important on and off-ice, issues of European club hockey.