Attendance inflation is normal in sports.
The listed or announced attendance is usually much higher than the actual number of people that attend a game. Again, this is not news. Teams inflate these numbers to make themselves look better and to tout them to season ticketholders, city council, anyone who will listen.
The number of tickets the team sells are often more than the number of people who actually show up for the games. Inflation is normal.
After the Orlando Sentinel reported that Orlando City Soccer reported attendance numbers that were higher than the actual gate number the City of Orlando took from the turnstile, WFTV Channel 9 reports the Magic too inflated their attendance numbers from the attendance taken at the gate.
By a lot.
According to the Orlando Magic more than 720,000 fans attended games at the Amway Center during the 2012-13 regular season. But the actual number was lower.
About 22.3 percent lower.
According to Basketball-Reference.com, the Magic had an average attendance of 17,595 fans per night, good for 18th in the league. That would make for an average of 93.4 percent of the 18,846 person capacity of Amway Center.
WFTV reports that the actual attendance at Magic games averaged out to 13,652. That goes far from the 16,000-person minimum that the Magic reported in official attendance numbers. A 13,652 attendance equates only to 72.4 percent of the arena's capacity.
Amway Center is in its third year and there are still some Orlando residents questioning its merits. These inflated attendance numbers certainly are amunition for them — particularly as Orlando City bids for its new stadium. While the Magic are making their money in the form of purchased tickets, the city is not getting the potential economic impact of having actual foot traffic in and around Amway Center.
As expected though, the Magic attendance dropped dramatically as the Magic's record plummetted. A team that wins sells better than a team that does not win. Orlando had the worst record in the league last year.
The 2012 Bobcats averaged an announced attendance of 11,878 fans per game, about 62.3 percent of Time Warner Cable Arena's capacity. If those numbers are inflated, the Bobcats are in big trouble at the gate. The team with the 18th best attendance in the league in 2012 was the Toronto Raptors with an average of 13,551, about 68.4 percent of Air Canada Centre's capacity.
Orlando is outdrawing both those teams even in a down year. Things are fine attendance-wise, but the numbers certainly are somewhat disappointing.