Crowds grew slightly for University of Wisconsin men's hockey home games in 2019-20, but the percentage of unused tickets reached its highest level in 14 years of records.
An average of 7,142 tickets were scanned for 18 Badgers games at the Kohl Center, 4% higher than the previous season.
But with an average of 10,425 tickets distributed, 31.5% of them went unused during a season that started with high expectations for the Badgers, who didn't match the hype.
The count of tickets scanned is a representation of the number of fans in the arena, which often differs by a large degree from what's listed as the attendance or the number of tickets distributed.
Capacity at the Kohl Center for hockey is 15,329.
No-shows — the percentage of tickets that were distributed but unused — have been trending higher over the 14 seasons covered by available data, from 18.8% in 2006-07 to 31.5% last season. Notable decreases were observed in 2009-10 and 2013-14, the team's two most successful seasons during the time period.
The 2019-20 season was expected to be one of resurgence for the Badgers, who haven't appeared in the NCAA tournament since 2014. Despite having a roster with three first-round NHL draft picks, another who's expected to be a first-round pick this year and nine other NHL-drafted players, UW finished in last place in the Big Ten.
Another measure shows the extent of the decline of in-person support for men's hockey games in recent seasons. In 2006-07, 15 of 20 Badgers home games had more than 10,000 tickets scanned. Over the last six seasons, there have been only 12 instances combined in 247 non-exhibition games.
UW reached 10,000 tickets scanned only once in 2019-20 — 10,340 for the Feb. 1 game against Minnesota.
The season's smallest crowd was 4,487 for a Jan. 17 game against Michigan State. That Friday night, 49% of distributed tickets went unused, the highest percentage since a non-conference game against Mercyhurst on Nov. 26, 2017.
In terms of announced attendance, the Badgers are still among the biggest draws in NCAA hockey.
With the second-largest home venue in college hockey — only Ohio State's Value City Arena has a bigger capacity, 17,500 — UW ranked second behind North Dakota with an average announced attendance of 10,864. That figure was the team's largest in five seasons.
The Badgers had the seven highest announced crowds in NCAA hockey for on-campus games in 2019-20.
Explore all the ticket data in the interactive graphic below. All seasons now compare the number of tickets scanned to the number of tickets distributed, with the announced attendance included as a line.
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