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Predicting 2015-2016 Attendance

The Blue Jackets saw an attendance increase last season, but will it carry over to next year?

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

One of the hot topics among Blue Jackets fans the last few years has been the (lack of) attendance at home games.  It got downright embarrassing as the team bottomed out in 2011 and 2012 as the club averaged around 14,000 fans per home game.

If you're reading this article or a frequent visitor to this site, I consider you a "hardcore fan."  There's probably a built in base of 10,000 or so that will attend home games no matter the day, opponent, or current play of the team.  Even as the team hit rock bottom, there was still a vocal crowd that attended games in the 10,000 range.

The issue has been filling up those other 8,000 or so seats.  The team has improved each season in that regard starting with the lockout year.  In The Lost Season (2014-2015), the Jackets averaged 15,511 fans at each home game.  That's a 5.5% increase over the playoff season of 2013-2014 (14,698 per game).  That 15,511 mark put the CBJ at 24th in the league in average attendance, though the Islanders, Devils, and Jets filled a higher % of their arenas due to lower capacity than Nationwide Arena.

There is a sense of optimism among the fanbase that, when healthy, this team can compete in the Eastern Conference.  The question is will this optimism translate to more fans coming through the gates next season?  Certainly, there had to be an increase in ticket sales this past season in part because of the playoff berth the season before and the All-Star Game tie-in for season ticket holders.

So what will next season hold?  A step forward in attendance? A step back?  Will the optimism offset those fans that only bought a season ticket package for the All-Star Game?

Sound off below in the comments with your prediction and vote in the poll!