Boston raises attendance debate


            The Boston Red Sox finally admitted last week that their “sellout” streak had ended at 820 games.

            Actually, the streak probably ended well before that. It could have been a game in April of 2005, or a September day in 2010. Who knows? Due to baseball’s interpretation of sellouts, give-away tickets, sold but unused tickets, those donated to charities and those sold at discount rates all count in the total.

AP Photo

            College and pro teams almost all exaggerate attendance figures. The thinking is that if the public perceives it as a sellout, the demand will be higher. But anyone who has ever attended a “sellout,” only to see several thousand empty seats can verify that it’s a silly tradition – especially when teams are making a big deal out of their streak. Reports say even standing room only tickets were counted in the total but not against the capacity in Boston.

            Here’s an ingenious idea: Count the number of people who come through the security scanners or turnstiles. Period. That’s the attendance. Not how many tickets were legitimately sold, as well as those that were given away, sold on the Internet but unused, or donated.

            As the saying goes, see how many fannies are in the seats.  

            If the current traditions continue, sports could soon see other questionable practices, like counting home runs or bicycle victories that shouldn’t have been counted. Oh, never mind.

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