Graduation Year


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Economics and Global Studies

Program or Major


Faculty Advisor

Brian Volz


National Hockey League, American Hockey League, Sports management, Professional sports, Economic aspects of sports


This paper examines the effect of American Hockey League (AHL) teams locating closer to their National Hockey League (NHL) affiliates. With several AHL teams closing the distance (geographically) between their NHL affiliates for logistical purposes, I studied whether or not they will experience higher levels of fan support. I used data from all AHL teams between 2007 and 2017. I found a statistically insignificant negative relationship between proximity to NHL affiliate and average attendance in the AHL for all the teams. However, less popular AHL teams do experience higher levels of fan attendance when located closer to their NHL affiliate. Popular AHL teams often experience higher fan attendance figures regardless of their affiliation. While controlling other variables, I find that fans are drawn to AHL teams that have an older NHL affiliate. Also, NHL and AHL games appear to be substitute goods as AHL fan attendance increased by nearly 8 percent during the NHL lockout in 2012-2013. Finally, my results indicate that less popular AHL teams should relocate closer to their NHL affiliates in order to increase ticket sales.