Monday, November 23, 2009

Can we finally put this attendance thing to rest?

A crowd of 21,046 watches Kee-Ayre Griffin (above) and James Nixon (below).
Photos by Ryan Porter

If you haven't seen it, I direct your attention to Mike Jensen's fabulous piece in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer on Temple's wonderful long-time football fans.
I've said this for years and not just because he's a colleague of mine and a good guy, Mike Jensen is the best college writer in this town and he has been for years.
He's really really a terrific wordsmith, a craftsman whose effort is to be admired the way you'd look at a beautiful painting.
Bill Bradshaw's answer to my question
Mike.....although in the Franklin field and Vet days, Temple(I'm told)
use to eyeball the crowd and throw out a number, we've come a long way
in announcing accurate #'s for attendance.
As you know, there is the
actual # at the game, sold tickets, people in suites that
sportswriters don't see, people who stay at a tailgate(with a paid
ticket), comp tickets, and hundreds of fans, at any one time in the
hallways,concession stands and lavatories.
For a sportswriter who
comes to one game, and says the crowd is slightly less than what was
announced, I would question his "eyeball count", since we have the
real data that supports our #, and he does not, nor did he ask us for
And for him to suggest that, because Temple always embellished
attendance, as a rationale for his conclusion, is quite frustrating to
all of us. Its when you always announce the same crowd, with eyeball
evidence to the contrary, that someone should be suspicious of your #.
As you know, we've announced much less in attendance for other games
this year, but we did not think anyone would question yesterday's #,
at least those who had attended other games
......hope this
After reading "Temple of Boom" _ a terrific headline, by the way, played off a quote in the story about the bemoaning of 'Temple of Doom' headlines _ I looked at Jensen's Mona Lisa and saw a scratch mark.
I felt as though I had eaten a terrific Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad and gotten indigestion afterward after staring at the scratch mark in the Mona Lisa.
This line bothered me:
The announced attendance of 21,046 seemed slightly high - maybe old habits die hard.
Geez, I thought, when will this shit ever stop?
First of all, Temple hasn't "made up" attendance figures since the old Al Shrier days at Temple Stadium.
A writer would eyeball the crowd, and turn to look at Shrier, who was always standing with his briefcase in hand, behind the back of the press box.
"How many would you say are here, Al?" the guy would ask.
"Ten thousand," Shrier would say.
Then that figure would appear next at the bottom of the box score.

The MAC: Week 12

Central Michigan 35 @ Ball State 3 -- Att: 5,736

Buffalo 42 @ Miami 17 -- Att: 7,983

Bowling Green 36 @ Akron 20 -- Att: 9,163

Toledo 47 @ Eastern Michigan 21 -- Att: 9,967

NIU 31 @ Ohio 38 -- Att: 14,756

Kent State 13 @ Temple 47 -- Att: 21,046
Source: Supertaco, (thanks, ST)
The next week the same routine would happen and the same figure would appear under the boxscore.
It hasn't been that way since the day of the scanner and they've had them since the stadium was opened in 2003.
My ticket is scanned, your ticket is scanned and that goes into a computer.
The figure generated by the computer, not the Temple AD or SID, is used at the bottom of the boxscore.
Nobody's hacking into the computer.
There's no conspiracy theory.
Bill Bradshaw isn't running up to the press box and making his guy change the numbers.
It's just not happening.
I asked Bradshaw how this figure was generated yesterday and his response is posted here.
I ran into a few folks in the parking lot postgame and I mentioned I thought the crowd was "about 25,000." One guy said 27,000. Another guy said 26,000. Another guy said 23,000. My friend, Mark, said he didn't know what the crowd was but it "wasn't (as high as) 25,000."
Nobody said as low as 21,046 and none of them were named Al Shrier.
To me, after 30 years of losing, eight straight games isn't going to full the house.
That's just not realistic to expect.
But Saturday was a HUGE step in the right direction and I was very impressed with our fans and it only bodes well for future attendance.
It takes time to lose a fan base and it will take time to rebuild one.