A story in Monday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette by Jake Sandlin examines attendance trends in the first four years of Dickey-Stephens Park and development that was expected to occur around the ballpark.
While the Arkansas Travelers don't report actual attendance to the public, the franchise is apparently required to report it to North Little Rock government officials.
Perhaps the greatest revelation in the story is that we actually get to see the difference in the announced crowd, which is the figure the Travs push off as attendance and is reported in the box score, versus the real number of people in the stadium, which the Travs know every night thanks to the ticket scanners everyone must pass through on their way in the gates.
Here's a breakdown of announced attendance versus actual attendance the last two years:
Average 2009 announced attendance -- 5,416
Average 2009 actual attendance -- 3,087
Average 2010 announced attendance -- 4,940
Average 2010 actual attendance -- 2,662
There is a big difference in the numbers when you take away all the season ticket holders and advertisers that get seats who aren't there on a nightly bases.
Sure, everyone does it, will be the front office's excuse, and was from Bill Valentine when the issue was raised on this website a couple of years ago. If the University of Arkansas can drastically exaggerate attendance at a spring football game, why can't everyone else?
Still, it's not an honest figure, and as long as they are keeping track, why not report both? Some people are actually interested in seeing the real attendance.
Another issue Sandlin's article touches on is the development around the ballpark that was apparently expected back when Dickey-Stephens was under construction.
Can you believe someone actually thought it would be a good idea to build some kind of high-rise building in the open space beyond center field and a shopping development along the left-field side?
Man, why bother even putting it next to the river if you are going to turn around and let someone block the view with a multi-story building? Wait, I guess that's what North Little Rock allowed with Verizon Arena so don't be surprised if this eventually happens.
Farewell, Peabody ducks.
-- Travelerocity reporter