The Columbus Blue Jackets, the NHL’s other problem

While the Phoenix Coyotes and Atlanta Thrashers grab all of the headlines about bad leases, new ownership groups, and possible relocation the NHL doesn’t seem all that concerned about the state of the Columbus Blue Jackets. This is a team that just lost 25 million dollars in 2010, and 80 million since the NHL lockout. This is a team in a non traditional hockey market, strapped with a bad lease on their arena, and hasn’t been all that great on the ice.

All of that is a losing equation, but this team has repeatedly shot itself in the foot. I have family in Columbus, and they inform that they do a very poor job of marketing themselves and making their organization look good. By all accounts from family and various internet reports the Nationwide Arena is constantly unfilled with many fans of the opposition in attendance.

That means the people in Columbus who actually are fans of this team and go to the games are constantly shouted down in their own building. On top of that I have heard some reports that the in arena management team constantly does things that highlight the fact that more fans from out of town come to see this team than promoting Columbus residents or Blue Jackets fans.

The Blue Jackets averaged just 13,658 fans per home game. That is the fourth worst average attendance in the NHL barely beating out the New York Islanders, Coyotes and Thrashers. Ohio is a great football market, and even though Columbus is technically the biggest city in Ohio, it is proving to be a poor NHL market. Maybe Winnipeg or Quebec should probably focus their attention here.