Why Fife Flyers have to find new ways to fill rink on Sunday nights

PIc: Jillian McFarlane
PIc: Jillian McFarlane

Sunday night hockey has always been a hard sell in Kirkcaldy.

The difference 24 hours can have on the attendance is quite remarkable.

Saturday night is hockey night – or, at least, it was up until this season saw Fife Flyers handed an even split across the two evenings.

With around 15 Sunday games planned, the club has to find new ways of getting fans through the door.

Bringing the face-off forward by an hour is one way.

Generally speaking, the move has gone well with many fans who were looking for Flyers to follow the lead of teams such as Dundee.

But, it did irk some season ticket holders – specially those who find their own work patterns mean they will probably lose out every time the puck drops at 5.30pm.

You may also be interested in:

Tim Crowder relishing playing for Fife Flyers

Early Sunday face-off trialled by Fife Flyers

Chase Schaber on life after surgery and rehab

Given their up front investment in season passes and commitment to the 2019-20 campaign, the club has to find ways of compensating them for the loss of at least five early matches – possibly more.

The plus side is those ‘school night’ matches might just appeal to a few more families.

The new season is still in its infancy, but early attendances seem to settling around 1600 which means the rink is around half full.

Or half empty if you are a cynic/critic …

Even allowing for a big Glasgow Clan support in the opening night attendance of 2500, several hundred Fife fans have yet to come back rinkside.

So, there is clearly work to be done off the ice to create a new buzz around the team and the sport.

The benchmark for attendances has to be 2000.

That additional revenue – it’s not hard to do, crunch the numbers – is key to the team’s financial success and it also helps to generate the atmosphere that makes match nights compelling, and encourages people back to see more.

It’s a hard sell, but a vital one.

People have significantly more choice when it comes to leisure, and Flyers have to find their place in a marketplace that ranges from Netflix to Strictly to Raith Rovers.

They have had no shortage of ideas from fans who are keen to see the building buzz with noise and excitement.

The challenge is picking the ones that work, deliver the numbers necessary and turn casual visitors into die-hard fans.

And with the team top of the table, there’s no better time to start than now.