The National Lacrosse League completed its 2014 season Saturday, and saw only a slight decrease, about 2.5%, in average attendance despite adding one home date to each team's schedule.
The league again featured nine teams, with the only major changes being a new playoff format, the Minnesota Swarm shifting to the Eastern Division and the Washington Stealth relocating to become the Vancouver Stealth.
The Colorado Mammoth finished atop the attendance table for the second consecutive season, despite a very slight - 0.3% - decrease in per-game attendance. After averaging just 4,182 as the Washington Stealth in 2013 while playing in the Seattle suburb of Everett, Washington, the team team drew even worse in the Vancouver suburb of Langley, British Columbia, averaging just 3,590 fans per game.
Despite the per-game attendance decrease, the addition of the extra home dates to the schedule resulted in a total attendance increase of 67,775.
The April 26 crowd for the the last Buffalo Bandits home game of the regular season was the fourth-highest attendance in NLL history (including playoffs) at a mark of 19,070. The Bandits drew the same attendance for its April 20, 2013 game. Both games were against the rival Rochester Knighthawks.
National Lacrosse League
NHL ownership seems to be a factor in drawing good-sized crowds, as the No. 1 Colorado Mammoth, No. 2 Buffalo Bandits and No. 3 Calgary Roughnecks are operated under the same ownership group as the Colorado Avalanche, Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flmes respectively. The Mammoth's ownership group also owns the NFL's St. Louis Rams, NBA's Denver Nuggets, Barclays Premier League's Arsenal F.C. and MLS's Colorado Rapids. The ownership of the Roughnecks also owns the CFL's Calgary Stampeders.
The top five teams, as well as the seventh and eighth teams, all play in NHL venues. The sixth-ranked Rochester Knighthawks share a venue with the AAA-level American Hockey League's Rochester Americans.