Crowd trouble not a good sign for CA
Numbers poor for twin series
THE tepid response to the twin international T20 series has been reflected in a 30 per cent shortfall in budgeted attendances ahead of the final match tonight.
Cricket Australia is hoping a big turnout at Perth Stadium limits the damage of a 35,000 gap between predicted and actual crowd numbers for the pair of three-match series played against Sri Lanka and Pakistan in the past fortnight.
Perth’s shiny new stadium has been a hit in the west and should again draw a big crowd on a fine and hot evening for the final T20I against Pakistan.
CA chief executive Kevin Roberts was disappointed with the numbers for the opening matches of the international summer, but was confident the gap would be made up later in the season — especially during the Boxing Day Test against New Zealand.
“We’re not completely surprised by it,” Roberts told SEN yesterday. “We are a little bit disappointed.”
More than 80,000 fans have attended T20Is against Sri Lanka in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne, and the first two games of the Pakistan series in Sydney and Canberra.
“We’re about 35,000 people below where we wanted to be in aggregate across those matches,” Roberts said. “We’re disappointed with where those crowds are at. It’s not surprising that the grounds weren’t full, given the experience of this time of the year.”
International cricket is traditionally the summer game and the Australian public might have been caught unawares by it starting in spring this year.
Roberts defended CA’s promotion of the two T20I series, which have been played behind a TV paywall. “I think enough effort went into it — absolutely,” Roberts said.
But the poor crowds are a blow for CA ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia this time next year.
Roberts told SEN that CA needed to use the World Cup “as a reminder that October and November is cricket season and make sure that we’ve got the best possible model … to fill the right grounds at that time of year”.
The attendance shortfall in the T20Is would be made up across the Pakistan and NZ Test series, Roberts said.
“The good news is our projections for the Boxing Day Test against New Zealand will see us make up the gap,” he said. “So like with any season there are swings and roundabouts. We reckon the ledger will be pretty much square versus our expectations when we get to December 30 at the end of the Boxing Day Test.
“There’s certainly nothing that resembles a crisis in any of this. We’re not overly concerned about it.”
The low attendance numbers are in stark contrast to the BBL’s ongoing popularity. The five T20Is have drawn an average of 16,000 per game, compared with last summer’s BBL average of 20,000.