Boston College Hockey Attendance: Fun With Fuzzy Math

[Ed. note -- Edited and Front Page'd]

Oy vey. This crap again?

Our friends who like to dismiss BC hockey's topping of the Hockey East attendance chart like to claim two things: 1) that the math is skewed because BC 'inflates' the attendance at home games AND 2) BC has the advantage of a few sellouts at massive Conte Forum to skew the numbers.

As Grant said, it's been repeated ad nauseam, BC says that it reports attendance by tickets scanned at the gate, per conversations I've had with ticket office staff. Granted, they could be lying, for some reason that is unbeknownst to me (do they give out a trophy for #1 in the league attendance standings? if so, maybe there's incentive to cook the numbers). But I've been told that's general Hockey East policy. Additionally, if they're making up numbers they suck at it because we've had a few midweek games with attendance in the 3000-4000 range. Why not pull a Fenway and count 'tickets distributed' then give 3000 tickets to local charities?


Some people just like to invent their own math. So I decided to pull a "dynamic scoring" (fans of the Romney/Ryan budget will be familiar with the concept) and skew the fuzzy math in a way that would benefit other schools' attendance numbers.

I have here the home attendance figures for Maine, UNH, BU, BC and UMass in the 2011-2012 hockey season. I did not include exhibition or Hockey East quarterfinal games.

But there's a twist: for every game that the school reported as a "sellout," I counted the attendance as 7,884, the capacity of Conte Forum --- going by the completely unfounded assumption that sold out games at these arenas would definitively fill 7,884 at Conte. This also includes school-reported "sellouts" where the attendance figures are lower than Wikipedia's listed capacity for the arena - for instance, UNH had a few sellouts that had 500ish fewer people than their game against BC. Then, I recalculated the average attendance for each school assuming a sellout of 7,884 for every sellout.

For another twist of fun, I gave Maine an extra 7,884 since they were deprived of a home game against UNH for the Frozen Fenway game. Then I put down "5500" as a BC home game (lower than the average) as a fill-in for the home game that got played at Fenway vs. Northeastern - even though the early-season game against Northeastern drew over 6K.

Sources for the attendance figures were the statistics pages on the school's athletics websites.

Enjoy the numbery goodness:

Maine UNH BU BC UMass
1 4,173 7,884 5,148 7,884 4,394
2 3,798 4,972 7,884 5,911 5,326
3 4,422 4,280 5,866 4,207 7,884
4 4,183 5,244 4,439 6,304 3,005
5 7,884 7,884 5,226 6,688 3,529
6 7,884 5,664 4,717 7,884 4,621
7 7,884 4,378 4,994 7,884 4,618
8 3,557 5,229 7,884 3,823 2,473
9 2,489 4,693 5,381 7,114 5,823
10 2,412 4,327 5,171 7,228 3,321
11 7,884 5,170 5,066 7,390 6,014
12 7,884 7,884 7,884 7,419 4,927
13 3,987 5,233 4,799 5,527 4,254
14 4,409 5,141 5,623 5,340 4,018
15 4,422 5,233 5,154 5,500 4,720
16 7,884 7,884 6,129
17 7,884
AVG 5,473 5,694 5,682 6,407 4,691
Sellouts 6 4 3 3 1

More fun with numbers: Here's the attendance for the Big 4 vs. the Bottom Feeder 5 in terms of popularity - Lowell, UMass, Merrimack, Vermont and Providence. I selected the first home game against each for each school for comparison's sake, then took the average.

BC 5,911 5,162 7,114 3,823 5,527 5,507.40 0
BU 4,439 5,623 5,226 5,171 5,623 5,035 0
UNH 5,244 5,664 5,170 5,233 5,233 5,309 0
Maine 4,422 4,749 4,173 4,422 3,577 3,904 4,268 1
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