(2013 photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

The Richmond Times-Dispatch put out a special training camp section this month. Included in the section was a story summarizing the year one experience and looking forward to year two. It was a great read, but there was one section that caught my eye:

The Redskins contracted with media monitoring services TVEyes, Meltwater and Repucom, which concluded that the city received $27.8 million in media coverage by hosting the camp, and that “2.95 billion unique visitors viewed online/print coverage of the 2013 Bon Secours-Richmond Training Camp in July and August.”

Those numbers stretch the imagination, but [GM Bruce] Allen cites a different measure of impact.

He notes the thousands of schoolchildren who attended last year, many of whom joined Redskins players after practice for the team’s “Helmet Walk” across the field. He said the Redskins Charitable Foundation will run 50 percent more events in the community during this year’s camp, and will ensure that the team’s investment in Richmond pays off.

Now, as someone who spends a lot of time worried about the number of viewers for online and print coverage of the Redskins, that 2.95 billion number was arresting. I don’t want to give away too many Washington Post secrets, but the D.C. Sports Bog could probably exist for the next thousand or so years without attracting 2.95 billion unique visitors. And that’s probably being generous to the Bog’s audience.

And the thing is, that wasn’t the only interesting audience number in the report the Redskins delivered to the Richmond City Council during the offseason. Through their media monitoring partners, the Redskins estimated:

* That “255,067,823 unique visitors viewed online/print coverage of the Bon Secours-Richmond partnership announcement”

* That “23,016,722 unique visitors viewed online/print coverage of the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center site announcement”

* That 212,483,258 unique visitors accessed “Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center Groundbreaking Ceremony online coverage,” and

* That precisely “2,949,350,238 unique visitors viewed online/print coverage of the 2013 Bon Secours-Richmond Training Camp in July and August.” I really think the two billion nine hundred and forty-nine million three hundred and fifty thousand two hundred and thirty-eighth unique visitor should have gotten a certificate.

(Via a Redskins report)

Now look, those are bonkers numbers. Those are numbers that would allow you to retire to the South of France and then spend the next few decades reading about the rise of modernism while snacking on Basque cheeses. To tackle just the last number, that would mean that every single man, woman and child in China, India and the United States — the world’s three most populous countries — uniquely viewed online/print coverage of Redskins training camp in 2013. I mean, I knew there was a lot of interest in Tanard Jackson, but I wouldn’t have guessed that.

So, what to make of those numbers?

The Reskins used third-party tracking firms — including TVEyes News Monitoring Service, Meltwater News, Meltwater Buzz and Repucom — to monitor media coverage. The total numbers come from “aggregating potential impressions from each individual site that covered camp,” according to a team spokesman. The monitoring services don’t provide unique visitors for individual stories, but rather for entire Web sites.

A story that ran on Yahoo! Sports  thus was credited with about 23 million “unique visitors.” One that ran on The Washington Post’s site meant about 8.7 million “unique visitors.” Thirty straight days of Post coverage would thus have indicated about 270 million “unique visitors” for Redskins training camp coverage.

In other words, the Redskins — through their monitoring services — are not actually claiming that 41.5 percent of the world’s population read about last year’s training camp.

Though if they did, that would certainly be good for D.C. Sports Bog business.

(Via a Redskins report)