If 922 people turn up for a day at a Test match when you’re offering free entry, you’re going to struggle to raise the £2.5m you bid for the match in question. Dark skies poison people’s enthusiasm for watching cricket, but even so, very few tickets for this year’s Cardiff Test were sold in advance.
Despite this, we don’t want to judge Cardiff’s suitability for Test cricket just yet. However, all the talk about how the Test was marketed put one thought into our mind. Why was that so crucial?
Marketing a Test match
For most of our adult life, we have gone to the third day of the Old Trafford Test each year. It was one day a year, we knew it was happening, we just had to get a ticket. We never once encountered any of this seemingly vital ‘marketing’ on which crowd turnout apparently hinges.
However, nowadays, we make no assumptions that there will even be a Test. This matters.
We made a commitment to day three of the Old Trafford Test, but it made no commitment to us and its increasingly frequent absences encourage us to make other plans. We book holidays and so forth. Why should we wait for something that might not even happen?
When a tradition is actually useful
In our ideal world, not only would there be an Old Trafford Test each year, it would also be at the same time of year. We wouldn’t need to wait for the fixture list to make any other plans for that summer, we’d just know. We could work around it. Why do you need Boxing Day and the MCG to have a bit of certainty in your life?
The stupid part is, few people on earth make plans less willingly than us. If our next two weekends are ‘booked’, we feel trapped and distressed. Yet even we would appreciate predictable scheduling of Test matches.