The conditions were all there for an epic Whiteout Street Party: it was a warm spring night, the party zone could hold a capacity crowd of 27,000 people and this is the furthest the Winnipeg Jets, 1.0 or 2.0, have ever gone in the playoffs.
Instead, Monday night’s bash saw the third lowest turnout for street party attendance. With only 11,000 fans showing up to cheer on the home team.
That’s 4,000 less than Saturday’s Whiteout bash which had a crowd of 15,000 people.
And while True North Sports & Entertainment and Economic Development Winnipeg had hoped for a larger crowd, organizers said prior to the party that any number would be great.
“12, 15, 18,000 is really unprecedented, so we’re happy. This is obviously a great setting and the weather is cooperating, so any number will do,” Kevin Donnelly, the Senior VP of True North said.
11,000 may seem like a lot of fans, but it’s a far cry from previous rounds.
In the first round, attendance more than tripled over the three street parties, peaking at 17,000 fans.
Throughout the second round, the numbers continued to grow, with a whopping 20,000 people attending the final party outside Bell MTS Place in Round 2.
In total, 107,500 people have attended the eight Whiteout Street Parties.
Organizers will spend the next few days going over Saturday and Monday night’s street parties to determine what worked, what didn’t and if any changes need to be made.
Monday night’s bash was the second street party in a row where a ticketing protocol was enforced.
In a statement Economic Development Winnipeg said: “We’re listening and we’re learning as we go. Implementing a ticketing policy allows us to plan our capacity in advance and it ensures that Jets fans aren’t disappointed if they were to arrive at the Winnipeg Whiteout Street Party that was already at capacity.”
Following Saturday’s attendance, an additional 10,000 free tickets were released in hopes of drawing a larger crowd.
Economic Development has said they’ve experienced some issues with scalping and people ordering the maximum eight free tickets and then not using them all, which could help explain some of the numbers.
Whether or not the ticketing system is to blame for the decline in attendance remains to be seen.
As of Tuesday, the protocol was still in place.
The next Whiteout Street Party will be Sunday afternoon, for Game 5 of the Western Conference Final between the Jets and the Golden Knights.