Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Attendances again...

My model of Oldham Athletic attendances had its first test this last Saturday, and provided somewhat deflating results - a forecast that was almost 600 too high. The model suggested an attendance of 5399 (not trying to be precise about it), but the actual gate was 4812, just shy of 600 below what I predicted.

I'm not the only one to be a little deflated about numbers passing through the gates at Boundary Park in recent months and seasons. Simon Corney, the club's managing director, has spoke out recently, suggesting there is little more the club can do to attract fans.

My model doesn't appear to be capturing enough variation in attendances, which is a little disappointing. Potential variables to try include a variable for if Manchester City are playing, and maybe Manchester United too. However, I imagine City to be more of a rival for people thinking of attending Oldham matches, as their stadium is now very close to Boundary Park since they took over the City of Manchester stadium, plus I imagine you stand a small chance of getting into a Man City match at reasonably short notice, as opposed to Man U. And everyone knows, Mancunians don't support Man U anyway...

Suggestions for possible additional variables to consider will be gratefully recieved. Although it's fair to say, an error of 600 people was about as bad as any of the "training period" forecasts got in the paper itself, so maybe this was just a bad week. The next home game will shed more light.

The start to the season has been particularly poor, and one wonders whether poor early season form is more detrimental than mid- or late-season form, as people have little to go off when deciding whether or not to go to a match. If it's a mid-season dip in form, fans can look back to earlier season games to whet the appetite, but as yet there's little to do that. The two wins achieved have both been 1-0, three of the four defeats have been 1-0, with a 0-0 draw, and the other game an abberation - a 3-2 defeat at Bournemouth. However, goals in recent games is a variable in the model, yet it is insignificant. More work to be done...


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