By Michael Bennett
A funny thing is happening at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Flyers won again last night, beating Montreal 3-2 in overtime to raise their record to 8-5-2.
And there continues to be vast patches of empty seats in the arena Comcast Spectacor just spent almost $250 million to improve, including a new Standing Room Only section.
The Inky’s Mike Sielski has the same question:
… people remain unpersuaded that hopping aboard the Flyers’ train will result in an enjoyable ride. The attendance Thursday night was 16,788, well below the 19,500 the Center can hold, and swaths of seats remained empty from the opening faceoff to the final buzzer.
Two nights earlier, when the Flyers scored three third-period goals to knock off the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-1, the official crowd was 16,172, which wouldn’t have been enough to fill the Spectrum back when its capacity was a number everyone in and around Philadelphia had memorized: 17,007.
Those modest figures aren’t anomalous, either.
From the 2017-18 season to last season, the Flyers experienced the largest decline in average home attendance in their history, according to Hockey Database.
They drew 20,372 per game in ’17-18 but just 17,765 last season — their lowest mark since 1995-96, their final season in the smaller, sparer Spectrum.