10. Nashville Predators
> Sport: Hockey
> 10 year attendance increase: 28.1%
> Avg. home game attendance: 16,854
> Avg. capacity filled: 98.5%
The Nashville Predators entered the NHL in the 1998-1999 season, and like many new expansion teams, it took some time before the franchise was able to find consistent success. The team ended its first two seasons in the basement of the Central Division. At the start of the 2003-2004 season, the team had not seen a playoff game. Fortunes soon turned around for the Predators, however, and the team played well enough to make the playoffs nearly every year since the start of that season. Bolstered by star defenseman Shea Weber and elite goaltender Pekka Rinne, Nashville had one of its best seasons ever last year, finishing the 2014-2015 season with 104 points, the sixth best record in the NHL. As the team transitioned from a green franchise perennially on the outside of the playoffs looking in to a regular contender, fan involvement has also improved. Over the past 10 seasons, the team’s attendance has increased by roughly 28%.
9. Washington Capitals
> Sport: Hockey
> 10 year attendance increase: 29.7%
> Avg. home game attendance: 19,099
> Avg. capacity filled: 105.8%
The the three seasons beginning in 2003 were not the best years for the NHL’s Washington Capitals. The team finished in the bottom five in each of those seasons. The team’s poor performance during those years gave them high draft picks. Along with a lucky draft lottery win in 2004, this allowed the team to select Nicklas Bäckström and, more significantly, Alexander Ovechkin. Ovechkin’s record includes three Hart Trophies as league MVP, four 100-point seasons, and six seasons of at least 50 goals, including the most recent two. Under Ovechkin’s leadership, the team has missed the playoffs only once since the 2007-2008 season. The team finished last season with 101 points, good enough for second in the Metropolitan Division. In the past 10 seasons, the Capitals’ average attendance has increased nearly 30% at Verizon Center. That attendance may go up even more this season, as Washington has been the best team in the league through the first half.
8. Colorado Rockies
> Sport: Baseball
> 10 year attendance increase: 30.9%
> Avg. home game attendance: 31,334
> Avg. capacity filled: 62.1%
The Colorado Rockies have had a significant increase in fan attendance in the past decade or so, but there is still room for improvement. In 2005, the team filled an average of 47.4% of Coors Field’s capacity, the third lowest fill rate in baseball at that time. Last season, the team filled 62.1% of seats, which was an improvement but still ninth-worst in the MLB. In its 23 seasons, the Rockies have been relatively unsuccessful, making it to the postseason just three times. The team’s more than 30% attendance increase over the past decade may be due to one of those playoff appearances, in 2007. After having not played October baseball since 1995, the team finished just shy of first in the National League. The Rockies then made a surprising run through the postseason, winning all three games of their Divisional Series against the Phillies and the National League Championship Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, before being swept in the World Series by the Red Sox.