The Kansas City Chiefs 2011 training camp only has a few days left but we can already tell that there's not as much excitement around training camp in St. Joseph this year as there was last year. The attendance numbers have been down, overall, with the most obvious culprit being Family Fun Day. Last year the Chiefs set a Spratt Stadium record with nearly 11,000 fans while this year that number was much lower -- around 3,000.
Andrew Gaug of the St. Joe News-Press took a look at some of the numbers, including the economic impact. We don't have a final count of attendance for this year's camp compared to last year but I'm fairly sure the numbers will be lower than last year.
What to make of the numbers for Chiefs training camp?
It could be that the NFL lockout soured some folks on the NFL. On the flip side, I can tell you that hasn't been the case based on our web traffic numbers, which are up significantly.
It could be that the schedule screwed some people up. Gaug noted a couple of local St. Joe businesses who, because of the lockout, thought camp would be canceled thus failed to make the necessary plans to attract visitors.
It could be that the slow start to training camp -- many veterans signing new deals couldn't practice until nearly a week into practice -- caused some people to stay home.
It could be that the lack of hitting in practice made people less excited about attending.
It could be the weather. St. Joe, and the rest of the midwest, have seen a hotter-than-usual summer which makes sitting out at practice less than enjoyable. (Editor's note: I can tell you from experience that heat is dangerous out there. I went to one of the practices last week with a friend, sat in the sun for two-and-a-half hours and he came home so dehydrated that he collapsed on my kitchen floor. Everything turned out OK but the heat is legitimately dangerous.)
The numbers last year weren't as high as they were projected to be either so maybe it's just that our expectations were too high.