Spokane Memorial Arena Attendance

Here’s the chart and the rest of the story at the link. All data comes from public domain sources including Eastern Washington University.

chart_2

Here’s the propaganda spin in the Spokesman-Review because, you know, this is Spokane.  Attendance trends are only hinted at in a single sentence near the end of the story where they write “Average attendance from 2008-2012 was just over 700,000 people, peaking in 2010 at 879,813“, giving the impression that attendance is growing, which is false. Nothing in the story disputes that attendance remains down over the long term in spite of numerous facility upgrades.

Patrick Jones of EWU says there may be higher spending than in 2010.   He must be hypothesizing per person spending has gone up (likely). But compare the 2010 attendance peak with 2012.  The writer appears to have taken this quote out of context to give the impression that the Arena is bringing in more money than in 2010 – but with one third fewer attendees. Since the Chiefs and Shock account for about 364,000 fans per year (more than half of the 2012 attendance), and they attract a mostly local crowd, this means locals account for a larger percentage of attendance than in 2010 during the national skating event. And that means less outside money is coming to town. Local money is mostly re-arranging spending from one local place to another.

We also see the drop in out of town visitors in the airport’s passenger usage trend – note the local peaks in 2007 and 2010 (Dec and Jan now show year over year increases and the recent trend may have bottomed):

2013NovSIA

The SR’s story reinforces a major point of this blog – distortion and exaggeration remain alive and well!

We were about to make some posts about the Spokesman-Review recently descending into propaganda mode, but they just made the point for us!  The SR scored their “own goal” by scoring a point for the other team 🙂 Hilariously funny. 

The end of the story hints at what’s coming: the Arena is 18 years old and the PFD will need taxpayers to build an even bigger arena in spite of declining attendance. This propaganda piece is battle space preparation.

Can you guess which two years are the only years for which Arena economic impact studies were done? This is really hard but try to guess 🙂

Update: Like yesterday, a clarification based on feedback. This is not about whether there should be an Arena, or whether it is good for Spokane, or about taxpayer funding. This post is about:

  • Why is the decline in attendance at the Arena and other PFD facilities deliberately hidden from the public by the local press? (Today’s news story confirms this is deliberately hidden.)
  • What steps are management taking to reverse the attendance decline?
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