Heres how much the NHL will benefit from the NBA lockout.Hah!Yes, hah! Thats dismissive-speak for not a jot, and not in any way you could prove." But were going to prove it anyway, by bringing to you attendance figures that show how little two sports intersect in our customer service Venn diagram.Here are your NBA attendance figures for 2004 in cities where there are NHL franchise in the same town.
Atlanta 13,798 Boston 16,201 Charlotte 14,332 Chicago 19,736 Dallas 20,136 Denver 17,596 Detroit 21,290 Golden State 16,235 L.A. Lakers 18,696 Miami 15,239 Minnesota 17,635 New Jersey 14,952 New York 19,164 Philadelphia 19,222 Phoenix 16,350 Toronto 18,307 Washington 15,740And 2005, when there was no hockey?
Atlanta 504 increase Boston 200 decrease Charlotte 99 increase Chicago 468 increase Dallas 75 decrease Denver 61 increase Detroit 786 increase Golden State 115 increase L.A. Lakers 177 decrease Miami 4,642 increase Minnesota 454 decrease New Jersey 137 increase New York 351 increase Philadelphia 1,352 decrease Phoenix 1,358 increase Toronto 1,152 decrease Washington 1,356 increaseAnd then 2006 when hockey returned?
Atlanta 763 increase Boston 898 increase Charlotte 1,935 increase Chicago 984 increase Dallas 53 increase Denver 520 decrease Detroit 0 increase Golden State 1,922 increase L.A. Lakers 90 increase Miami 73 increase Minnesota 1,030 decrease New Jersey 1,777 increase New York 584 decrease Philadelphia 2,352 decrease Phoenix 101 increase Toronto 99 decrease Washington 0 increase
Logically, that means attendance in NBA cities should have increased without hockey, and decreased with it. Only two cities fit that paradigm, Denver and New York.Now lets do it the other way, only without the tedious charts. During the NBA lockout that led to the 50-game schedule in 1999, only three NHL teams saw their attendance rise in the semi-dark year and drop again the following one -- Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington.In other words, what we have here is no correlation at all, and TV ratings are far more convoluted than that.Our point? Basketball is basketball, and hockey is hockey, and never the two shall meet. The sports are so wildly different, from the 205-point differential in the average total score for a game to the means of basic propulsion. In fact, to find a hockey and basketball fan is the equivalent of finding a vegan who likes cheeseburgers.True, a lot of folks will watch the NBA and NHL postseasons, because that represents the most obvious similarity between the sports. But over the course of an entire year -- no.More immediately, the Sharks already sell out, or say they do. They cant sell more tickets to displaced Warriors fans. If Comcast gets a significant ratings bump in Sharks regular season games this year, we (well, someone else) would still ask everyone who has signed on to say why, and Id bet the companys money very few would say, I used to like basketball, but now I like this. Closer to the truth: I cant watch Real Housewives of Saskatoon; it makes my brain bleed.Now hockey games and angry rich folks with nothing to do and lots of internecine jealousies to work out -- those are true comparables. All the way down to the head shots.