Sold-out crowd for start of cricket season | The Young Witness

Sold-out crowd for start of cricket season | The Young Witness


Fears of a crowd-free summer are quickly fading for Cricket Australia, which will start its season with a sold-out series in Brisbane.

CA mapped out all manner of crisis plans and revenue models during its winter of COVID-19 discontent.

Former chief executive Kevin Roberts expressed fears at the time that the governing body’s TV broadcasters would seek major discounts.

That has transpired; Seven West Media and Foxtel both refused to pay full price for this week’s instalments of the six-year deal that is worth $1.2 billion in total.

CA’s interim chief executive Nick Hockley met with Seven on Thursday, while he is expected to hear Foxtel’s various grievances on Friday.

The saga shows few signs of ending, with the prospect of a legal stoush still looming large.

CA’s ticket sales will obviously be down over the summer because of the health crisis, but it may not be the wipeout that once appeared likely.

The entire women’s six-match series between Australia and New Zealand, which starts at Allan Border Field on September 26, has been sold out.

The boutique venue won’t be at capacity because of social-distancing requirements, ensuring it will be a far cry from the 86,174 that flocked to the MCG for this year’s Twenty20 World Cup.

It will nonetheless be the biggest crowd for top-level cricket since the start of the pandemic – and bodes well for the men’s limited-overs series between Australia and India that is expected to be staged entirely in Queensland.

It is possible that every chapter of the four-Test series, which is set to start at Adelaide Oval in mid-December then feature games at the MCG, SCG and Gabba, will have crowds.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews indicated earlier this week he was aiming for crowds to attend the Boxing Day Test, suggesting “we will get as many people we can get there, provided it is safe”.

CA is growing increasingly bullish about the prospect of hosting crowds for the WBBL, which will be held entirely in Sydney and start on October 25.

The updated WBBL fixtures are expected to be released next week.

The NSW government announced new COVID-19 rules on Thursday, allowing ANZ Stadium to host up to 40,000 fans at matches during the NRL finals.

The BBL schedule is yet to be nailed down, with broadcasters hoping for a late-January window in which Australia’s best cricketers will be able to take part in the Twenty20 league.

The nature of biosecurity bubbles and likely border closures, combined with players who will be desperate for a break after a taxing Test series against India, will make it incredibly hard for CA to accommodate that request.

Australian Associated Press

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