Part of a comment by Roanoke R n R on this morning’s post about why Obama came to the Roanoke Civic Center intrigued me:
“What I do find really interesting is that if the numbers are correct…only 6,500 people showed up at a venue that can hold over 3,000 more, was free, and people didn’t even need to get a ticket to attend.”
That got me wondering about the number myself. I decided to poke around Google news to see what numbers people were reporting. I’m the first to admit we reporters can get wild of reality in these estimates sometimes (Roanoke R n R is right to be skeptical), but not so much this time.
WSET in Lynchburg reported mid-rally that “the Coliseum holds about 10,000 people and it is filled to capacity right now.” (The Roanoke Civic Center website reports the capacity this way: “10,600 In The Round (general admission); 10,500 Proscenium Stage; 8,672 Hockey; 5,626 Basketball.”)
A news source called AFP put it at 8,250.
Naturally, I wanted to know what number we’d be reporting, too. So, when my colleague Mason Adams, who has the unfortunate fate of seeing me five feet from him everytime he looks up from his computer, came in from covering the rally, I asked him the number.
His immediate response: 8,250.
His source: The Roanoke City Fire Marshall, based apparently on counts from clickers at the doors.
And, just for the sake of trivia — and what is any of this but trivia? — if this were a ticketed event, it would rank among last year’s best-selling Roanoke Civic Center events at No. 4, behind the Winter Jam contemporary Christian music show, and just a head of Disney’s High School Musical on Ice.
I’m not kidding.