Cricket ticket sales tell sorry story - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cricket ticket sales tell sorry story

By Daniel Brettig 09/02/2006 06:01:48 PM Comments (0)

The Australian team and public agree that the international cricket summer is dragging too far into February these days.

On the eve of Australia's first tri-series final against Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval - the first time the finals have left Victoria and New South Wales - more than 8,000 tickets remain unsold.

The poor sales continue a seven-year absence of bumper crowds for the tri-series finals which has coincided with their shift from the latter part of January to the middle of February, a time when most families have returned to work and school.

Public reluctance to attend once the holidays have ended is confirmed by a tally of attendances for February limited overs finals.

Though the SCG suffered only a slight drop off, largely due to such a large city staging international cricket at a mid-sized venue, finals crowds at the MCG have almost halved since being moved to February.

Between the 1992 opening of the Great Southern Stand and the end of regular January finals in 1998, the MCG only once hosted a crowd of less than 45,000 when Australia was involved.

Since that time, it has never had more than 44,737 for a final, regardless of the home side's opponent.

Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has expressed surprise at the sluggish sales in Adelaide and puzzlement at its reasons.

"We'd like to think the game would be a sell-out, we're certainly looking forward to the game, it's a bit of a shock to me that the Adelaide public wouldn't be," he said.

"I'm not sure why it is that way, I would think it would be a lot different in Sydney, we had 35,000 there for a game that wasn't even a final, it might be different here, those tickets might go.

"It has been a long summer, a lot of cricket has been played but most has been very good and very entertaining."

South Australian Cricket Association chief executive Mike Deare said continually poor finals crowds would force a re-think on when they were held.

"It's very difficult for Cricket Australia to fit the one day series into January, but ideally that would be the situation, we would then have the benefit of playing the finals during school holidays," he said.

"Due to the pressures on scheduling we haven't been able to do that and now have the finals in February and that could be having some impact on the attendances, it's something we'll consider during the off-season and possibly address.

"Had the match been during the school holidays we'd have sold out some days ago."

Ponting said he had enjoyed last year's shorter tri-series, when each side played six preliminary matches before the finals rather than the customary eight, but conceded that players and administrators were at the mercy of money.

"I'm not sure which is the right way to do it, last year we had three or four less games in the series, it was slightly shorter and that seemed to work pretty well," he said.

"But we've got to understand why we are playing these games and where the money's coming from - it's generated from playing one day cricket."

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