Monday, January 26, 2009

Fun with math

It's been nearly two weeks since I posted about a contest to guess how many tickets will be sold for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal clash between Santos and the Montreal Impact at Olympic Stadium. To date, it hasn't attracted a lot of attention.

To keep this contest at the front of your mind, I've done a little hard hitting numerical analysis. Ticket sales have been announced on three separate occasions, each time when the tally crossed a psychologically significant milestone (10 000, 15 000, 20 000. Can you guess which we'll be hearing about next?). These round numbers make the whole game pretty easy, as illustrated below:

Date Tickets Source
01/14/09 10000 (Impact)
01/20/09 15000 (
01/26/09 20000 (Impact)

If you're more of a visual person, this graph should tell the story:

OK, it's not much of a story. The line is trending upwards, as one might expect (as long as people aren't turning in their tickets). It's a conveniently straight line; convenient because it allows for extremely easy, but likely inaccurate and statistically unsound, extrapolation.

It works this way. You'll note from the chart that about 5 000 tickets are being sold every 6 days. The match in question is 30 days away. Some quick figuring shows that at the going rate, 25 000 more tickets will be sold, for a grand total of 45 000.

Which would be, in a word, awesome.

I have my own ideas about how many tickets will be sold. A big number is good for the Impact and good for soccer in Canada. The financial implications aren't really even the big thing. The perception matters, and a full house looks good whether fans have paid $5 or $50 to fill a seat.

Are you going?

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