Tuesday, April 5, 2011

UPS Attendance number: More reported than meets the eye?

As Wildcat11 was getting ready to upload Catdomealumni.com's video of the week, 2010 Linfield at Puget Sound, I started to think about an issue that rubbed me the wrong way the first time I laid eyes on this game's  box score: Puget Sound's reported attendance numbers.  Leading up to the 'Cats October 9th trip up to Puget Sound, the Loggers had three previous home games where UPS was reporting attendance numbers of 2,888 (vs Pacific), 2,334 (vs Whittier) and 3,978 (vs PLU).  My first thought was that the change in coaching and promise of some UPS wins must have fired up the Logger fan base as those are some pretty solid numbers for a program that has been on the rocks for an extended period of time.

So comes October 9th.  A complete and total drenching rain storm.  You know it's coming down hard when people from the Pacific Northwest were turning to each other and saying "Can you believe how hard it's raining?".  As I was getting ready to do my thing during the game, I surveyed the UPS home grandstands and thought "Yeah, that's a solid 1,500 fans...maybe 1,650 tops."  The Linfield fans braved the elements and probably had a few hundred fans on the visitor sidelines.  UPS doesn't have fans in the end zone and there are just a few scattering of fans watching from beyond the track.  So with that in mind, you could imagine my surprise when I picked up the box score and saw that UPS reported attendance on the day was a whopping 3,878 fans.  Needless to say I was a little surprised by that number.

That just didn't seem to jive at all.  Maybe, I'm just really horrible at looking at a small college grandstand and estimating the attendance.  Now mind you, some programs don't have people tracking fans coming through the gates so the person in charge will provide a general estimate of what they think they had for attendance (I.E. 1,500, 3,500, etc. etc)  and fill that in stat sheet and call it good.  So, you might think that's the case with UPS but each home attendance figure was not a nice rounded number you see when home teams estimate the crowd but UPS reported numbers would lead you to believe they are taking an actual count.

If that's over 3,500 fans then WC11 is turning in a 4.3 forty

I muttered for about and hour or two about this attendance number to Mrs. 11.  She told me I'm being silly, that I might be crazy for complaining about this (very true) and to get over it.  I managed to take a passing shot at the reported attendance number in "The Ugly" in my game wrap and moved on.

However, WC11 started to pick that scab this week as I was reliving the solid performance of the 'Cats this past season at Puget Sound and my neurotic and curious nature became the best of me.   So, I fired up Google machine for UPS home photos in hopes of find a good solid crowd shoot and my hail marry was answered.  I came across this photo set of the Loggers 2009 homecoming tilt vs the Menlo Oaks.  Included in the set was a great high resolution photo of the UPS grandstand in all of its glory.  On that day, the Loggers reported attendance of 3,217 fans on hand to watch the Loggers go down 14-3 to the Oaks.

We all know how great the Menlo Oaks fan base travel. (if you didn't know, that was heavy sarcasm) You can usually find a few dozen Oak fans in attendance so it had to be up the Logger home fans to hold up the bulk of that reported 3,217 fans.  I really didn't want to go down this road to crazy town but I just had to know.  I downloaded that hi-res photo, opened it up in Microsoft paint, and started click a paint spot on each person, 100 fans at a time.  It didn't actually take very long to count every single fan in the grandstands because the final number was nowhere close to 3,200.  The final number was 1,001 fans in the stands.  Yup.....1,001. That number includes everyone except people in the pressbox/radio booth.  Students, adults, teens, and babies.

UPS 2009 Menlo Crowd Shot = 1,001 fans
Let's be generous and say Menlo brought 200 fans to the game because by looking at photos here and here that's being kind.  So that means we're short about 2,000 fans.  Are they all in the bathroom?  Concessions?   Did they leave because it was a blowout?  Probably not since it was a 10-3 game in the 4th quarter.  Yeah, maybe some fans came and went but it would be hard to imagine that being over 2,000 people.

This isn't a scientific post where I have photos from the Loggers game with PLU, Whitter, L&C, and Pacific to compare.  Maybe those attendance numbers are 100% correct.  Maybe?  However, my eyes tell me that twice during the past two seasons UPS is reporting attendance numbers that are overestimated by a few thousand fans each time.  One time could be just a mistake but this happening twice leads you to believe it could happen often.

So when you see UPS post up big attendance numbers in 2011 just remember that in order to get a more accurate picture you may just have to hack or chop off about 2,000 fans to get a more accurate picture.


d1shima said...

Another really simple way to look at it.

UPS website says, "Baker Stadium has a covered seating capacity of 3000 and uncovered seating for 500."


This means the Linfield game was SRO!


Kurtis Williams said...

Damn. Great work as always. But you would think they would do it by a couple hundred and no one would really think about it. But more than doubling? Sketchy stuff.