I think that is true pretty much anywhere because of the on-ice seating. Even sacrificing a couple yards all around, any NHL size ice is still way bigger than some of the places they skated before about 1970. Unlike SOI, COI always came to DC (2 shows some years) and always skated in the largest arena (Cap Center in Landover, MD then MCI/Verizon Center in downtown DC). I remember seeing SOI at George Mason University arena in Fairfax, which didn't even have its own ice and was basically only big enough for a basketball court (and not nearly big enough to do justice to skaters with speed like Kulik). I thought getting away from venues like that made sense and you are right, it probably is sound economics to not use expensive arenas you can't fill. Personally I didn't think the Baltimore arena was that bad. It remains my favorite of the 4 locations in which I have seen SOI, all things considered.