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What to expect from the Air Canada Centre crowd?

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Simon Drum
Simon Drum

“Businessmen (come) here,” said scalper Charles Perkins before Saturday’s Leafs game. “Fans come to the Raptors.”

This article by Eric-Andrew Lee from the Toronto Star is a great depiction of the two different crowds at the Air Canada Centre

As described in the article, the crowd differs largely at the Air Canada Centre depending on whether it is the Leafs or the Raptors playing.

“Leafs fans are mostly white, they sure seem rich, they are quiet, they appear jaded, they use BlackBerrys.”

However at a Raptors game, “Raptors fans are younger, less rich, much less white — and much more fun.”

At the start of a Leafs game or period, the best seats in the house are often not filled until 5-10 minutes in, especially for weekday games. This is because the people in these corporate seats take their time to eat and drink in between periods to get back to their seat. Obviously this makes for a really insipid atmosphere at times, so much so that many players and coaches of the Leafs have historically talked about the lack of atmosphere in their building. For example, former Leafs coach Ron Wilson once described the building as a “morgue”.
At the start of a Raptors game, the crowd is electrifying before tip-off. Each player is called out to a thunderous roar. At a Leafs game, when each player is called, sometimes you will get a loud polite applause.
The best nights to go to a hockey game are on Saturday nights at the ACC. Here there is a buzz in the arena, there are more families there and a lot more energy. The whole nation is watching on TV, and the best players/teams always seem to be in town for ‘Hockey Night In Canada’ for the Saturday night game at the ACC.
Friday nights and Sunday afternoons are the best to go watch the Raptors. Friday nights has a real party atmosphere to it. Sunday afternoon seems to be a slot when the big teams/players like the Lakers/Kobe, Celtics or Lebron roll into town.
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kevin fabel
kevin fabel

People generally arrive late to sports events and are mostly quiet throughout the games unless there is something significant going on worth cheering about.  Average attendance is about 19,000 guests.  A lot of these are season ticket holders and corporate fans.

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