Brad Kane of the Hartford Business Journal has an interesting piece on Hartford as a professional sports city and the UFL’s Hartford Colonials. The Colonials, who begin their second season on July 12, attracted an average of 14,366 fans to 4 games at Rentschler Field last season according to Kane. Here is an excerpt from the article with an interesting statistic on the Greater Hartford area:
The Greater Hartford area has 1.2 million people, more than a few cities with professional sports franchises such as Oklahoma City, Raleigh, N.C., New Orleans, Salt Lake City and Ottawa, Canada.
Add in the Springfield market and its 686,000 people roughly 30 minutes away, making the metropolis the largest in America without a major professional sports franchise in hockey, soccer, basketball, baseball or football, said Peter DeMaille, the former chairman of the Connecticut Central Regional Tourism District.
The 1.9 million residents in Hartford and Springfield are more than in Buffalo, Columbus, Ohio, Indianapolis, Memphis, Milwaukee, Nashville or Charlotte, N.C. The area’s population is nearly triple the 694,000 in Winnipeg, Canada, which was just awarded an NHL franchise.
Howard Baldwin, who was interviewed for the story, also has an interesting take on the XL Center:
“Some part of the XL Center might need fixing up, but it is a great arena,” Baldwin said. “We live in houses that are 300 years old, so I think we can live with an arena that is 35 years old.”
For more on this topic, see Dan Canavan’s article Why Not Us? – Five Things Hartford Needs to Be Major League Again.