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Empty seats

2010-06-23 15:24
I recently attended my second World Cup game at Loftus, which was between Denmark and Cameroon. I must say the game was excellent as there were three goals and both sides having plenty of possession and chances. The ease at which we got in and out of the stadium was great and I had no problems with the food, drinks or toilets. There were however, three things which bugged me:

1. We were sitting next to three Danish supporters. They seemed to be enjoying the game but were highly irritated every time a vuvuzela was blown nearby.

2.  Smoking in the stadium, which I also experienced in the Moses Mabida stadium a week earlier.

3.  Empty seats. And I'm taking not hundreds but thousands of empty seats, including big blocks.

Now I don't really want to go on too much about smoking or vuvuzelas so I will be brief. Smoking is banned in all world cup stadia and for good reason, it is a health risk. This is welcomed by most. It is fact that more than 50% of spectators want the vuvuzela banned and it is fact that the vuvuzela is a health risk. Just a thought.

On to what I really want to talk about, attendances.

Several statements have been made regarding attendances and most of these go along the lines of "SA world cup attendance outstrips Germany 2006". The most recent statement made by Danny Jordaan, "SWC attendance over 3 million?" got my attention as I'm a bit of a stats person and due to my experience at Loftus. Jordaan's key point was that the attendance at the World Cup in South Africa is set to be the highest since the tournament was held in the United States in 1994. So I did some fact finding and this is what I found (after 32 matches):

-  Total attendance was 1 596 153, an average of 49 879. This is slightly lower than Germany 2006 as total attendance there was 1 660 439, an average of 51 889.

-  Percentage attendances was concerning as it was 84% compared with Germany 2006 at 98%.

-  For us to exceed the attendance set in Germany 2006 for the entire tournament, in order for the attendance to "be the second highest in World Cup history, second to the United States", we need to have 93% attendance at the remaining 32 games. This seems highly unlikely as there is still an entire round left for group stages matches which should mimic the first two rounds in percentage attendance. Obviously the knock out stages will attract greater attendances but even at 100% attendance this will not make up for the poor attendances for the group stage matches.

-  At the current rate of attendance, total attendance by completion of the tournament will be about 3.2 million, compared with 3 359 439 in Germany 2006. Considering that in total, we have about 400 000 more available seats for the tournament due to bigger stadiums, this is not a great statistic.

While on stats, I'll quickly mention goal facts:

-  Since the first world cup in Uruguay, the average number of goals scored per match up until the start of 2010 has been 3.13.

-  After high averages in the first 6 world cups (4.3), goal scoring has remained pretty even at 2.6 since 1961.

-  The goals per match so far in 2010 has been 2.09, the lowest ever. I'm not sure if this is due to the standard of football, the secret weapon (vuvuzela) or the controversial Jabulani ball?

Anyway, just some facts to ponder!

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