For Pete's Sake

Analyst: Royals’ World Series celebration was attended by 255,000 people

With a parade, fireworks and speeches, Kansas City salutes the 'greatest team' in Royals history

Inside a city of 467,000, an estimated crowd of 800,000 Royals fans gathered to salute the World Series champions. The bodies packed from the steps outside the station to the grass of Liberty Memorial.
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Inside a city of 467,000, an estimated crowd of 800,000 Royals fans gathered to salute the World Series champions. The bodies packed from the steps outside the station to the grass of Liberty Memorial.

We have an official winner in the Kansas City versus Denver victory parades.

It’s Kansas City.

After the Broncos won the Super Bowl, their celebration drew 1 million fans, according to Denver’s mayor, topping the estimated crowd for the Royals’ World Series parade by 200,000.

However, the Metro Post-Telegraph (of the Metropolitan State University of Denver) contacted Alexandar Kollaritsch, who owns an event and security consulting firm in Vienna.

Kollaritsch analyzed photos from the Broncos’ celebration and pegged the number of people there that day at 198,000.

That’s just a tad under that 1 million estimate, right? That got me wondering about the Royals’ parade from November. I contacted Kollaritsch and asked him to calculate the number for the Royals celebration.

Fans started gathering early in the morning for a noon parade honoring the Kansas City Royals. The parade wound through the heart of the city, and attracted thousands. This timelapse covered a corner of 18th Street and Grand Boulevard for about 5

The Kansas City Sports Commission said that about 500,000 people attended. Mayor Sly James put the number at 800,000.

Kollaritsch’s estimate: 255,000.

“Due to the fact that the parade was held on a working day, I’d estimate that 60 percent of the participants of the parade also joined the show at the Union Station,” Kollaritsch wrote in his analysis. “The majority of the participants will have to take a day off from work — therefore it can be expected that they joined the parade and the show as well.

Here's a time-lapse video of the 2.3-mile route the Royals took during their celebration Tuesday taken from the Moose Mobile, driven by Craig Rookstool. Kansas City was honoring the first World Series championship won by the Royals since 1985 and

“The analysis is based on the images provided and the assumptions stated. People watching from inside of buildings and from rooftops have not been taken into account for this analysis. The error margin is expected to be around (plus/minus) 10 percent, given the limitations of the available data.”

So, maybe the high end of the celebration was 280,000. That’s better than the Broncos’ celebration, but woefully short of 800,000.

Now, before you fire off an email, I realize that this was an estimate made by someone who wasn’t even here. It seems a little on the low side to me.

How did Kollaritsch reach that number? I sent him photos from the parade/rally and the course map. He measured the area of the route and assigned 2.5 people per square meter of space.

Here is the thing about parade estimates: They are often optimistic. The Chicago Blackhawks’ celebration in 2010 allegedly was attended by 2 million people. The Seahawks’ Super Bowl bash in 2014 was estimated at 700,000.

“There is civic pride that goes into estimating these numbers. They tend to be overstated wildly,” Steve Doig, the Knight chairman in journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, told The Seattle Times. “Or maybe it’s from a cop who looks around and says, ‘My God, there must be 700,000 people here.’ 

So maybe there weren’t 800,000 people in Kansas City on that resplendent November day. But that doesn’t take away from our memories.

Here is the analysis that Kollaritsch provided:

Outfielder Jonny Gomes wasn't on the Royals' postseason roster, but he delivered the most memorable speech at the team's rally at Union Station following their downtown parade Tuesday in Kansas City.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff