Re: "Drawing a crowd" (TNT, 5-31).
The car races held in Lakewood from 1912 to 1920 commonly brought in more than 35,000 spectators for a one-day event. Considering the population of Pierce County at the time was 144,000 people, that works out to 24 percent of the population in attendance.
Left out of the article were the Trans-AMA Motocross races held at Puyallup Raceway Park from 1970 to 1975. I participated in one of these events and still have a program showing an aerial photo of the event with an attendance of 14,950.
It was touted as the largest crowd in Northwest history. Probably not true, but considering it was held outdoors in the middle of November, not a bad crowd. The Pierce County population at the time was 411,000. That works out to 3.5 percent of the population.
The published expectation of the U.S. Open is 200,000 people over a week. That works out to about 28,500 people a day. While confusing when calculating attendance, multi-day sporting events attract many of the same people returning day after day and do not multiply the interested people.
The current Pierce County population is listed as 831,928. That works out to 3.4 percent of the population in attendance on any given day - not any better than the motorcycle races and far less than the car races. If you consider with today's communication it is unlikely anyone is unaware of the event, then the attendance is even less significant - hardly "the biggest sporting event in South Sound history."