Apparently parking wasn’t the problem – Mayor Banman first thought that the thing keeping Abbotsford residents away from the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC) was the political opinions expressed by citizens on their Abbotsford Today about the ludicrous amount of money City Council spends on an annual basis to subsidize the Calgary Flames.
After all, ‘hockey mad’ cities around North America are well known for being unable to get hockey fans out to games due to political comments about municipal finance and debt on websites 😉
Then he figured it was the parking rates so he dropped the parking fees just in time for the seasonal flood of Vancouverites to see the Canuck’s farm team up close and let the City lose thousands on parking it would have made because the Vancouver crowd is not likely affected by a $5 drop in the cost of a trip out to Abbotsford.
The days of selling out the AESC when the Comets come to town seem to be over as the crowds for the ‘Comet Weekend’ were less than a full house both nights.
Friday’s attendance, including freebies, discounts and giveaways was only 4,296. Saturday night’s crowd was much healthier at 6,247 bringing the total weekend attendance to 10,543. Even that boost of out-of-town hockey fans only managed to bring the club’s anemic average attendance up to a measly 2,773, well short of the more than 3,000 needed to break even.
Despite the weekend boost, Abbotsford is still the second from the bottom in the AHL for attendance just above Portland.
Banman and the City of Abbotsford show no signs of any desire to stop what Councillor John Smith (who fought hard and used up all his political capital in order to ignore the advice of many in the community and commit half a billion dollars of their money to having a hockey rink and a hockey team) has called an annual “hemorrhage.”
Mayor Banman seems intent on wearing the financial and legal mess created by those who went before him by smiling and threatening the community with the loss of municipal programs and services unless they go to hockey games they have shown no interest in attending.
No one is quite sure why.