Back on August 13, @LAKingsPR tweeted the following:
"CHANGE in seating capacity for Kings games @STAPLESCenter is now officially 18,230 (no longer officially 18,118)"
112 extra seats may not seem like a dramatic increase but it just goes to show how popular the Kings (and hockey in general) are in Los Angeles.
Staples Center's previous capacity, as mentioned above, was 18,118. That number was surpassed five times last season, which includes both the regular season and the playoffs.
According to Jon Rosen of LAKingsInsider, the record attendance for the Kings in 2013-14 was 18,713, which was achieved for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final back on June 13 - and. considering the end result, it is safe to say that every single fan in attendance that night got their money's worth and then some. But even before winning their second Stanley Cup in three years, the Los Angeles Kings made quite a bit of noise financially.
On June 5, following Game 1 of this year's Stanley Cup Final, the aforementioned Jon Rosen had spoken with Kings business operations and discovered that the team had franchise record ticket revenues for said game. Revenues from Game 1, in fact, were 23 per cent higher than from June 11, 2012, the night when the Kings won their first Stanley Cup. This made for an additional $650,000 which, at the time, was another franchise record.
During this June's Stanley Cup Final, ESPN.com Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell wrote a piece noting that in Game 1 of the series, the Los Angeles Kings reached a franchise record by grossing over $1 million in merchandise and food and beverage sales.
When it comes right down to it, I take the utmost pleasure in knowing how strong hockey is in Los Angeles. Even just seven years ago, I was easily annoyed by outsiders (mostly fellow Canadians) who assumed that hockey doesn't work in Southern California because, well, it's not a hockey climate. That may be true but it certainly hasn't stopped anyone in Los Angeles from not only putting a winning product on the ice but bringing in fans not only from the southern United States but from Mexico, El Salvador and even Brazil. Now, and even in the past few years, when said outsiders scoff at the possibility of hockey success in Los Angeles, I can't help but laugh. If only they had the slightest idea of how the state of hockey really is in the City of Angels. If only.
What makes going to Staples Center 41 times a year even better is that Kings management is committed to build a winning team. They have already proven that over the last few years, but they're not willing to stop there - and that is exactly why fans keep coming back.
Outsiders can say what they will about other teams in the southern United States, about how most can barely draw flies during the season but start to sell out once the playoffs start, assuming their teams make it that far. The Los Angeles Kings, in the risk of sounding bias, are on a higher echelon. Whether it's the 12th or 44th game of the regular season, Game 2 of the opening round of the playoffs or Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, it is a madhouse at Staples Center every single time - and fans come out because, like a healthy marriage, they love their Kings through better or for worse. Believe me when I say that sometimes I cannot understand how fans can be so positive after an ugly losing streak, but they do it and there is nothing better in the world than showing what it's like to be a fan of the Los Angeles Kings.
Starting in 2014-15, the seating attendance at Staples Center will increase, but the die-hard fandom will not. It just doesn't seem possible for the Kings to become any more popular at this point. Then again, I have been wrong before.