Test match crowds in England – what can be done?

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Better charge more if only one person wants to attend

Worried that Test matches aren’t selling out? Make tickets a bit cheaper.

You can make other changes – maybe allow people to bring a few beers in, stuff like that – but basically it’s just too expensive. It’s 40-odd quid for the cheapest ticket at the Oval.

Whether it’s down to counties trying to recoup money after being forced to bid for Tests or whatever, it doesn’t matter. The long and short of it is that ticket prices are putting people off.

You get a better view at home with the telly, so what’s the incentive to splash out £100 for two of you to spend a day sheltering from the rain and getting little change from a tenner for every couple of pints you buy?


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. And its not even like the beer is any good.

    £8:80 for two pints of generic fizzy watered down lager

  2. The hover caption has the answer. If you charge, say, £60 minimum, you have already whittled the possible audience down to those who have more money than sense. Now that you know that, you can simply increase the prices until you reach the next pain threshold. I reckon, based on what happens at Silverstone and Wimbledon, that that figure is well into three figures.

    Half empty grounds with no atmosphere, but those people all being non-cricket-fans who will pay £200 a ticket. The heart and soul ripped out of English cricket. What could be better?

  3. I’m sure the authorties will see the error of their ways.

    They’ve got a good track record of recognising stupid decisions.

  4. I’d never noticed the hover captions before. A whole new source of joy for me.

    I hate to be a dissenting voice, but I’m not sure the price of tickets is the problem. Tens of thousands of people pay that for premiership football tickets every winter saturday. You don’t get much in London for less than 60 quid. Youth tickets are a fiver at Lords. I’d rather pay less for a tickets, but it isn’t the reason I only get to a day or two of test cricket per year.

    Not sure what the reasons are. Part of it might be that the TV coverage is now so good. When I was a kid they used to have to share BBC 2 with Wimbledon and only have a couple of cameras.

  5. The Smudge, you can’t compare football ticket prices with cricket ticket prices.

    Cricket doesn’t get 10 pages in every newspaper every day as well as wall-to-wall TV coverage. It simply can’t act in the same way.

  6. Is it possible that people in England might just find test cricket a bit……… gulp… boring?

    Oh, wait, the ashes counterexample. Yes, that’s right.

  7. The England v Pakistan Test series is as good as anything – the last Ashes included. People don’t find it boring. They might be less interested because it’s not got the same narrative, but they don’t find it boring.

    We’ve sat in a full Old Trafford on a wet Monday before now on the last day of a Test (£10 entry) and it wasn’t Australia.

  8. KC, doesn’t your comment just illustrate that price is not the point? People can and will find the money if they want to go. A corollary of your argument would be that if cricket got the same coverage as football, the price would be about right.

    Test cricket has the problem that although millions of us care lots about what is happening in the test, the difference in the experience to us between watching on sky, furtively following on cricinfo at work and bullshitting about it before during or going to the match is not significant enough to be bothered very often.

    If, next season, I was told I’d be paid £30 per day to watch the cricket, rather than charged £70 I’d still go to the same day or two as I will this year.

  9. Cricket is following the same backward logic as football regarding money. Giles Clarke et al have a vision for what cricket ought to be. It turns out to be an expensive vision (surprise surprise), and so they become convinced that in order to pay for it they have to increase ticket prices and sell TV rights to Sky only. Why? Why not reverse that logic? Put yourself in the shoes of the bulk of cricket fans, work out how much money you can raise from fair TV rights deals (free-to-air in part) and fair ticket prices, then cut your cloth. This whole mess is being driven by the masters of cricket and their egotistical desires to be in charge of something flash.

  10. The big difference between cricket and football is that having paid your £60 for a football ticket (and booked travel, hotels, catsitters etc.) you can be pretty sure that the game’s actually going to be played, and that they won’t manage to mysteriously find time for *just* enough play that you can’t get a refund while still not actually seeing any meaningful sport.

  11. You can still bring in beers to Lord’s…

    As IndianSkimmer says It is not just the cost if the tickets themselves. It is a whole day commitment. If you don’t live in the city of play it gets very expensive to travel to a days cricket. [And lets face it less and less non corporate types in London care about cricket. It is very expensive – too expensive if you are only just sort of interested]

    Petrol and parking; expensive if it is just you going.

    By rail – a day trip either means expensive tickets or missing the start of play on a weekday – or overstaying in London…expensive

    And yes it can and often does rain. A day sat in the rain at Lord’s or the Oval where there is no where to get out of the rain, nothing else to do surrounded by rubbish very expensive catering options is not the ideal day out is it? Even if the ticket cost is refunded the rest of the cost is spent never to be seen again.

    And only 2 of the days [if you are lucky] are played at a weekend. So for week day action you take a day of your precious holiday off work, to pay an exorbitant amount to get to the venue cos it’s a commuter day, to get into the venue, to sit in the rain, get cold and get fleeced further.

    Are people that stupid? In addition the media has been pretty negative – why would you want to go and see these two teams play anyway? Even if it was cheap? Has it sounded exciting on the news? Has it been mentioned much on the non Sky news?

    Or you can just follow the updates at work and watch any non rain action once you get home, extra value from Sky cos you got it for the footy anyway.

    And it is the football season now – got some spare cash? Why not go to the football; it costs similar?

    Once the published prices are out it is just so easy to talk yourself out of it. They do not make enough effort for the supporters who bother if play is substantially interrupted, considering the cost of tickets.

    The cost is not that expensive for a whole day, spent in reasonable comfort, with a guaranteed days entertainment. That is not cricket is it.

    I go and watch county cricket cos it’s cheaper and if I don’t there is not even any radio coverage for my team. And I can choose to sit inside at the venue if it rains. I don’t have a full time job….

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