Ashes series ticket demand unprecedented - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ashes series ticket demand unprecedented

By Roger Vaughan 16/05/2006 06:11:35 PM Comments (0)

Cricket Australia (CA) admits it is heading into the unknown as it prepares to put tickets on sale for the upcoming home Ashes series.

CA chief executive James Sutherland is hopeful of a Test cricket attendance record at the MCG on Boxing Day.

But despite months of research, the advice of marketing experts and a new system for fans to express their interest, Sutherland could give few other specifics on expected demand for tickets.

He said the interest in this summer's much-anticipated Test series was "unprecedented".

And Sutherland has promised that local fans would get precedence for early tickets ahead of England's Barmy Army.

CA made public its ticket prices for the summer, with day-one Test costs ranging from $25 for general admission at the 'Gabba to $140 for a few hundred "platinum seats" at the MCG.

"This is a new experience for us. We're selling tickets months in advance of our normal timetable," Sutherland said.

"We're going through different method of selling, where we've created this priority window for Australian cricket fans."

England will defend the Ashes this summer after last year's gripping series win.

When asked about the volume of sales when tickets are finally made available on June 1, Sutherland replied: "It's really difficult to say.

"It just keeps building, not a day goes by where we aren't surprised at an enquiry we get from somewhere we've never seen before," he said.

"If we went back 12 months ago, we would never imagine that we'd be sitting here today talking on such scale about this series.

"This is going to be a huge summer, undoubtedly the biggest summer that Australian cricket has ever seen ... this will be unprecedented."

Sutherland said 105,000 fans had registered for the Australian Cricket Family, a club whose Australian-based members will have priority access for tickets from June 1-15.

But he stressed membership of the club did not guarantee ticket availability.

He also said Melbourne fans should abandon their usual habit of waiting until close to the day before deciding whether to attend the Boxing Day Test.

CA is no doubt pushing such talk to boost early sales, but its officials stressed such high-demand events will sell fast.

The world record for a day's crowd at a Test is 90,800 at the MCG, on day two of the Australia-West Indies match during the celebrated 1960-61 series.

"At the MCG, we are hopeful that we may be able to break the world record for the biggest crowd at a day of Test cricket, on Boxing Day," Sutherland said.

While some tickets will be kept for general public sales, Sutherland made no apologies for looking after local fans first at the expense of the Barmy Army.

"What we've sought to do here is to create a priority opportunity for Australian cricket fans," Sutherland said.

"We're still confident there will be tickets available, perhaps on later days or what have you, for England cricket fans.

"There were some set aside up front for tour groups.

"There might be some frustration there at that end, but our priority is with the Australian cricket fan."

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