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A suspended B-Devils season brings loss to more than the Arena

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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- The sports world was put on pause in the midst of a hot stretch for the Binghamton Devils, and with no way of knowing if hockey will return to Binghamton this season, there's a loss being felt in more ways than one.

With every missed home game comes a loss of revenue. The franchise typically brings in 50-60 thousand dollars per home game.

Team Vice President of Operations Tom Mitchell told 12 News this season, the B-Devils were averaging about 3,500 fans per game, also bringing increased business to downtown Binghamton.

"If you look at this organization for almost 50 years, has put an average of 3,500-5,000 people in downtown Binghamton 40 or so nights a year. Who else does that in the dead of winter? Nobody. Restaurants, bars, hotels. 70-80 people who work here on game night and the little things people never think of," said Mitchell.

This ripple effect began on March 12 when the AHL season was officially halted, in the midst of what was becoming a historic season for the B-Devils.

The team was riding a seven-game win streak entering that night, and were in fourth place in the North Division, three points up of fifth - the first time in franchise history the team had developed a winning culture.

Mitchell attributes the team's hot play on the ice to increased attendance. With more fans brings more revenue, but Mitchell pointed out that in some places, the franchise is saving money.

"We've lost the revenue from games but we haven't had the expenses of (team) travel. So we've saved some money there."

The team had six regular season home games remaining prior to the season being cancelled. Pair that with postseason hockey on the horizon, and it's even more of an opportunity to miss out on revenue. Mitchell added that competing in the playoffs is also expensive.

"There's obvious revenue there and certainly it helps financially, but playoffs are not the windfall people think they are."

While we wait to see if hockey will return to Binghamton this season, Mitchell reminds us the situation is far out of anyone's control.

"You can only look forward. We can't change what's happened. All my efforts, staffs efforts are directed toward next season and getting ready for it like we always do."

Mitchell said he's been given no inclination the season will be cancelled, and has only heard the word "suspended. He informed 12 News the AHL and NHL are in constant communication. He also said the question of playing in front of no fans is difficult to answer, but if they have to, the franchise will shift gears and find a way to get it done.

On Monday, the NHL announced its mandatory self-quarantine for players and staff is extended to April 30.

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Nicole Menner

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