There are a few things that as a small college football fan that I can't stand. And the top two on my list are one sided seating in stadiums and wildly inflated attendance numbers. I really didn't think I was every going to have to do another post like this ever again after I busted Puget Sound adding a few thousand fans back in 2011, however, after I made it home after the soaker at George Fox this past weekend I felt compelled to break out this subject once again. The Fox game story lead off their recap with "It was a wet and cold game on Saturday, but that didn't stop the nearly 3,500 fans from piling in to Stoffer Family Stadium to watch these two cross-town rivals square off on the battlefield." First off, I didn't know Linfield was also located in Newberg but when I saw that 3,500 number I let out an audible chuckle. First off, the reported attendance was 3,327 and second off, there's no way that many people were at Fox this weekend. The previous weekend at Linfield, we have perfect fall weather for a huge NWC game between two undefeated teams in Linfield and Whitworth and the attendance number being reported was 2,693 and that crowd seemed MUCH larger than what was at Fox this past weekend. The Linfield/Whit crowd was significantly more robust than what I saw in Newberg and it wasn't even close.
Speaking of Newberg, Saturday was my very first visit to Stoffer Stadium and it's a nice little set up, the video board is great, but the main grandstand is a small tin box that could could probably get 700-800 people max into it. That leaves the two open air bleachers on either side that offer about the same number of max butts in the seat if it's packed. So to my untrained eye, you probably could get 2,400 - 2,600 people in the grandstands and that's if it's jammed shoulder to shoulder.
Now keep in mind that when George Fox kicked off their program debut home game last year against Arizona Christian (their biggest crowd of the year) they reported that attendance number at 3,659. So GFU said this past weekend was only attended by 332 less people than their largest reported crowd in the past two years of operation. Thankfully, we were filming game action on the Linfield sideline with the one-sided grandstands in the backdrop (that always looks good) so I fried up the old screen shots and MS paint program to count just how many people were actually in the stands of this past weekends game.
Now, this isn't 100% scientific and the imaging isn't very high res but its good enough to know there was about 1,500 people sitting in the Grandstand during the 1st half of action this past weekend. Actually, my count was 1,497. Below are six screenshots where I counted bodies in the seats.
That means that George Fox falsely inflated this past weekends attendance by 1,500 fans...or almost doubled the actual attendance of the game. That's pretty darn egregious by the sports information department at GFU and pretty much blows up their claims of having the "top attendance" in the conference. I'm sure there is some lame or weak excuse for this blatant number stuffing but the bottom line is their numbers are false and whenever you see a GFU attendance number claim, just take 1,500 off the top that that's probably just about right.