Monday, April 04, 2011

How Many People Are Attending the 2011 Men's Worlds?

The Brandt Arena in Regina seems like an ideal place to host a major curling tournament championship. Saskatchewan is the heart of prairie curling; curling is the official sport of the province; and Amber Holland from here was the silver medalist just a few weeks ago at the women's world championship.

So how has the attendance been?

Through draw seven, paid attendance has been a bit over 30,000. But that's paid attendance, not actual attendance. Her are the data so far:

Drw PdAtt 50-50 Cumul C 8am?
#01 05595 10935 05595 *
#02 05748 10515 11343 *
#03 03948 01818 15219 - *
#04 05633 10765 20924 *
#05 04497 05635 25421
#06 02513 02280 27934 * *
#07 02585 03318 30519

The Paid Attendance (PdAtt) and the Cumulative Paid Attendance (Cumul) are official figures. "C" indicates whether Canada was playing, and 8am? indicates whether the game was an early morning game.

As you can see, more fans come when Canada is playing, but even then, they would rather not come to the early morning draws.

The column of interest for this post is the size of the prize for the 50-50 prizes held during each draw. 50-50 contests are simple: people buy tickets and at the end, whoever's ticket is drawn wins half the total amount paid for the tickets and the sponsor (ordinarily a charity or non-profit organization) keeps the other half. A 50-50 contest is held after each draw.

In the interest of honesty and transparency, the prize sizes, along with the names of the winners, are posted after each contest, making these data readily available for those of us who might want to look at them.

My hypothesis in this posting is that the size of the 50-50 prize provides a fairly good indication of the actual attendance at each of the draws (games). If the tendency to buy 50-50 tickets does not vary much with the types of people who attend games in the morning vs. in the evening, or for games featuring Canada vs. those draws when Canada is not playing, then the size of the 50-50 prize should be a good measure.

But maybe people who attend curling games in the morning are less likely to buy 50-50 tickets (you couldn't prove that by me, given the number of tickets I have seen sold at charity breakfasts). And maybe fans from other countries are less likely to buy 50-50 tickets AND are likely to make up a larger portion of the audience when Canada is not playing.

With these caveats in mind, and with the rough estimate I made on Sunday morning that there were no more than 1000 fans in the arena, I propose the following proxy method for estimating actual attendance at each draw:

Actual Attendance = 0.5 x (50-50 prize)

In words, take half trhe 50-50 prize and that will tell you roughly the number fannies in the seats.

I think we need a SHRCC grant to hire people to actually do the counts to test this hypothesis. 8-)

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