Idk, team's success probably plays a role to an extent, but for instance local team in my town makes it to the play-offs like 2 times in 10 years, and sometimes watching them play makes you wanna puke, however it is still extremely popular no matter what. For example, venues in Moscow are like 80% empty all time, despite having corrupt govt owned companies funding them huge money. I guess it just depends if a sport has historically been popular in a town.
It is kinda weird to see that hockey in LA/Anaheim, SJ, Vegas and Tampa being really popular. I guess the latter is due to all retired people coming to Florida from the North. But I would definetely prefer to see Thrashers back instead of VGK.