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What does a pushed back start date mean for the Binghamton Devils?

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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- Last Friday, the American Hockey League announced the anticipated start date for the 2020-21 season is December 4.

Binghamton Devils Executive Vice President of Operations Tom Mitchell called the delayed start a financial strain, but believes the organization will survive.

"It's going to take a few years to dig out of this hole but you know, somehow or another we'll figure out a way to do it," said Mitchell. "We've been a strong part of the American League for so many years so I think we'll get through it but it's not going to be easy."

AHL teams rely on fan attendance to bring in revenue. This past Spring when the 2019-2020 season was suspended, Mitchell told 12 News the franchise brings in 50,000-60,000 dollars per game.

Fan attendance depends on the status of the pandemic and a decision from state governments. Mitchell said playing with no fans is not an option from a financial standpoint.

Mitchell said he is hopeful the NHL will help out AHL clubs if it comes down to it, but there have not been in-depth conversations yet.

"They may have to help us get through this next year or two, until we can get back to something that's you know, normal. And I think most NHL teams, if not all of them are willing to do that" he said.

Mitchell said there has not been a decision regarding the number of games for the 2020-21 season, but he expects it will be the full 76-game schedule, or close to it. With so many unknowns, he said it's hard to plan and budget.

On a positive note, Mitchell says season ticket sales are up compared to last year at this time. He also said the extra months give the organization more time to plan and sell tickets.

Nicole Menner

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