'Attendance' figures hard to gauge

BY foxsports • July 29, 2013

July 29, 2013

Attendance figures are one of the least reported controversies in professional and college sports. Every journalist with a lick of experience knows that figures cited for games often represent tickets distributed rather than fans in the stands.

Teams typically don’t release figures on tickets that are given away, with many of those representing giveaways for anything from charity to business favors. The inability to track accurate attendance figures leads some reporters largely to boycott reporting those figures, or use the word “announced” in front of attendance, which is journalism code for “we’re not sure these are accurate.”

The numbers get even trickier at Cardinals training camp, where there are no tickets. The staff stationed at the entrances is using clickers to count attendance, but there’s no telling how accurate or consistent they are in tracking those numbers. Aside from that, all we get are reports from the Cardinals on actual figures.  

The Cards reported attendance for the first three days at University of Phoenix Stadium at 8,100, 8,880 and 9,100. If you ask reporters, most will guess those numbers have been inflated, although we have no way of knowing for certain, short of counting them by hand.

Cardinals president Michael Bidwill has touted holding camp at University of Phoenix Stadium as an opportunity for more fans to attend than could manage the drive up to Flagstaff. That will likely prove true. It’s also possible figures were inflated in Flagstaff. Nonetheless, it’s probably wise to take reported figures with a grain of skepticism.

The annual Red and White practice, normally the best attended workout, is Saturday.

-- Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter


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