Soon enough we’ll know what the limitations to attend the National League 2020-21 season are. Few things seem by now certain though. Masks will be mandatory, the arrival of people at the arenas will be regulated (for example groups can enter the arena only at a certain time) and consumption of drinks only at the seating place.
Considering such limitations, we wonder: will people still attend games? In our humble opinion it depends.
Fans in fact, can be divided in few categories. There would be dozens of them, but we want to simplify and talk about three of them.
The die-hard fans
Die-hard fans are the ones that would never miss a single game of their favourite team. If their wife is about to give birth to their child… it’s likely that if the childbirth is scheduled for 9pm of a Tuesday night, they would miss it. Die-hard fans are huge passionate, they know all the players of their team and usually are hockey experts. They follow constantly their team but also the opponents. Probably if the game between Mayan Astronomers and Teotihucan Priests (Liga Mexicana Elite) is live on TV, they watch it. And if at that moment they’re on holiday in Mexico… probably they would park their wife and child at the beach and go to watch the game in person.
Will those fans still go to the games? Of course, yes.
The regular fans
Regular fans are normally season ticket holders. They know most of the players of their team and usually even know ice hockey quite well. They miss only few games per season but certainly would put the birth of their child at the first place, while a derby would take the second place. They also follow ice hockey generally. We mean, they’re interested.
Will those fans still go to the games? Probably yes.
The unemotional fans
“Unemotional” fans are the ones that regularly attend home games of their team. They are supporters but, frankly speaking, they don’t care to know the full roster of their team and don’t waste their time to watch their favourite team on TV when it plays on the road. They are the ones that generally go to the games mostly to have few beers with friends, they’re the ones for whom the evening at the arena is mostly an “event” and the game is simply a “side dish”.
Will those fans still go to the games? Maybe not.
All right, we want to focus on the latter fans. The “unemotional” fans are not only few, actually they’re probably more than we can even imagine. Often, they even spend a lot of money at the arenas – drinks, food, and so on… – and therefore they’re very important for the clubs when it comes to finance and income.
The “unemotional” fans like their favourite team but they prefer to take a beer with friends outside the arena while smoking a cigarette. And it doesn’t really matter if at that moment the Top Scorer of their team scores the game winning goal.
Maybe most of the “die-hard fans” and the “regular fans” think that the “unemotional fans” are not real supporters. There is no denying though, that “unemotional fans” are crucial for the clubs. Moreover, it’s written nowhere that when you attend live games you are forced to be a die-hard fan. We mean, the “unemotional fans” deserve as much respect as the other fans. Additionally, like it or not (we don’t like it, but this is only our personal opinion), nowadays professional sport is purely a business, and in this regard “unemotional fans” are very important… and they even tend to spend more money at the games. Ok, that is the point. In our opinion, those “unemotional fans” will probably not attend games.
What about my friend ends up in another sector? Why should I go to the arena if I must act like a soldier and drink my beer on my own at my seat instead of sharing this pleasant moment with my pal? Moreover… I’m forced to arrive early… I need to wait after the game before I can reach the restaurant… I mean, I stay home. Or even better, I go with my friends at the bar or I invite them at my place and we can watch the game on TV.
We mean, in our humble opinion the risk is high that regardless of the limitations – both in terms of numbers and rules – the clubs will lose a lot of fans at the ice rink.
Do you think we’re wrong? We hope so, seriously. This, however, is a personal blog and we felt like sharing this concern with you.
What about you instead? What kind of supporter are you? Will you still go to watch the games at the rink?
p.s. let us not forget than that this season we have to add another category of supporters, those that will not attend games because they’re afraid of contracting the virus.