Several months back I penned a piece about the rather complicated matter of Columbus Blue Jackets attendance numbers. The article went on to explain some possibilities as to why fans choose not to attend games. The list included reasons such as the “wait and see” method, where fans who have been disappointed in the past, hesitate to invest emotionally (and financially) in a team. They only do so once they are assured the team is a contender.The most reasonable possibility is the complex process of growing your city into a legitimate hockey market.
President of Columbus Blue Jackets hockey operations John Davidson referenced the process when he said they were building “brick by brick.” He wasn’t just speaking of wins and losses. He wasn’t just speaking of a flashy playoff experience with half-hearted fans. He was explaining how the Blue Jackets were going to be built, how the franchise was going to become the backbone of the city.
It takes time. Debate over the length is fair but overblown. Hockey isn’t in our blood. If Quebec City were to be granted another franchise, their timetable for becoming a legitimate market would be instantaneous in that they are already are one. They don’t have 100 plus years of college football experience to contend with. Columbus does.It all probably sounds like excuses, right? That’s because they are. Mediocre attendance records comes with significant context in Columbus, Ohio. The Blue Jackets have their passionate fans, their die hards. They show up, ready to paint. But we need to finish our foundation up before we can paint, before the city’s drywalls are union blue.