HUNTERSVILLE, NC (May 24, 2023) – In its just completed 19th season, the Southern Professional Hockey League recorded its first-ever regular season with over one million fans in attendance. With an increase of 142,162 fans from 2021-22 to the 2022-23 season, the SPHL recorded the largest single-season attendance increase in league history.
An all-time high of 1,026,831 fans attended SPHL games during the regular season – an average of 3,445 fans per game. The total number of fans surpassed the previous record set during the 2017-18 season while the season average broke the previous record set in 2014-15.
Four of the SPHL’s 10 teams saw average attendances of more than 4,250 fans per game, with the Huntsville Havoc (5,513) leading the league for the eighth consecutive season. Attendance league-wide was up 16.1 percent from last year as Birmingham (80,812), Evansville (87,052), Huntsville (154,362), Knoxville (119,522), Pensacola (130,024), and Roanoke (124,569) all set franchise records for attendance. The Fayetteville Marksmen (96,603) saw their highest total since the 2005-06 season when they were known as the FireAntz.
The success continued into the postseason as the SPHL recorded its second-highest average playoff attendance. An average of 3,027 fans per game attended during the playoffs, marking only the second time in league history with an average playoff attendance of over 3,000 fans. The high mark came in 2013 when an average of 3,126 fans attended playoff games. A total of 57,519 fans attended 19 playoff games across the SPHL in the 2023 postseason, breaking the previous mark of 53,153 in the 2013 season which came in just 17 playoff games.
The Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs saw 17,744 fans attend four home playoff games en route to their first-ever President’s Cup championship. Their average of 4,436 fans per game included the fourth and fifth highest attended games in SPHL playoff history in Games 3 and 4 of the President’s Cup Final.