Speedway Grand Prix 2010 attendance figures: “could be better” according to Vice President of FIM

After (allegedly) the most exciting Speedway Grand Prix series since the dawn of time, the ‘high’ quality of the racing product appears to have little impact at the turnstiles. A quick glance at the official F.I.M. figures for each venue recently published in Polish magazine Tygodnik Zuzlowy reveals that overall attendances remain more or less flat compared with a disappointing 2009. They’re also circa 10000 short of the cumulative ‘record breaking’ levels previously achieved and greeted with such fanfare in 2008 (186972).

Leszno 16000  (+2000)

Gothenburg 17000 (+1774)

Prague 7800 (+1300)

Copenhagen 20000 (-8600)

Torun 16000 (n/a)

Cardiff 45000 (+2000)

Malilla 13000 (+1877)

Gorican 6500 (n/a)

Vojens 13000 (+5000)

Terenzano 2800 (-750)

Bydgoszcz 20000 (+2000)

Total 177100 (+2791) +1.6%

Average 16100 (+345)

Worse still, though the notional headline increase of 1.6% (or 2791 fans) could be guarded grounds for a tinge of optimism about the burgeoning popularity of the SGP, the ongoing Speedway Grand Prix queries regarding independent verification (are these figures credible? Are they paying customers or total attendees including freebies?) and accuracy – let alone how spookily rounded these numbers often are – immediately raises doubts as to whether the attendances quoted can really be taken seriously as audited numbers. For example, Tygodnik Zuzlowy quotes Cardiff with 45,000 fans. The Sunday Times had a much different story “the 32,000 attendance was disappointing if hardly unexpected”.  The Speedway Star had Peter Oakes writing of a “near 45000 Millennium Stadium throng” while, in the same publication, speedwaygp.com editor Paul Burbidge enjoyed “the record breaking 44150 crowd”. Interestingly, if we adjust the suspiciously rounded 45000 down to 44150, the cumulative increase falls to a less impressive 1.12% (or 1941 fans).

Even more excitingly, the F.I.M. attendance figures given for Torun and Bydgoszcz are both above the stadium capacity figures of 15,500 and 18,000 listed on SGP website! Of course, it’s not the first time the popularity of the SGP has exceeded expectations in this manner.

Without independent verification, who can truly explain the attendance figures based on the available information? Luckily we have Andrzej Grodzki – Vice President of the FIM CCP (Track Racing Committee) – to comment (via google translate) on the 2010 Speedway Grand Prix series attendances. “The average for GP’s was 16000 and taking into account the limited counties where speedway has an appeal it is not a figure to be ashamed of. The GP series has its own audience and the figures as with all things could be better but they are not that bad.”

Desperately trying to bathe in the reflected glory of the FIM honours for Darcy Ward and Tomasz Gollob it’s hard to see he had anything at all to do with – while flying in the face of the accurate SGP attendance information he must surely have access to if he’s doing his job competently – Paul Bellamy issued his own latest scarcely credible comments. “It has just capped a fabulous 2010 season for us.” WTG? Ignoring the dead cat bounce (at best) of the 2010 SGP attendance figures, Paul Bellamy also unconvincingly blathers, “It shows we have a strong fanbase.” Thank goodness, eh, otherwise it could get frittered away!

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2 Responses to Speedway Grand Prix 2010 attendance figures: “could be better” according to Vice President of FIM

  1. May 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Hi Jeff,
    With your permission;
    will use this on australianspeedway.com thread

  2. Andrew Farrar
    December 20, 2012 at 4:48 am

    In fairness, Torun is an all-seated stadium where standing room is made available once all the seats are sold and Bydgoszcz erected additional temporary stands for the GP in expectation of increased demand once it became clear local icon Tomasz Gollob would be world champion.
    But on the whole Poland’s love affair with the GPs appears to be coming to an end. Wroclaw is uninterested and now Leszno has dropped out, while the corridors of power in the city of Gorzow seem to have argued endlessly over the contract they signed with BSI. Bydgoszcz is back on the calendar for 2013 having previously been told that the city wouldn’t be considered until the stadium was upgraded. The stadium remains largely as it was, but BSI was desperate to fill in 2013 ahead of a proposed move to the National Stadium in Warsaw for 2014. That move is not yet certain, as it depends on the city of Warsaw coughing over a lot of money to BSI.

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