The chairman of the National Asian Cricket Council said ticket price rises kept Indian fans away from the Edgbaston Test as they felt organsiers were trying to “cash in” on their interest in the game.
Gulfraz Riaz claims the communities of Indian cricket fans felt the Birmingham venue was using their passion for cricket as an opportunity to increase prices.
Edgbaston’s 25,000-capacity was reduced by 1,500 seats for the fixture because of sightscreen requirements. But on Wednesday the attendance was just 18,159 and on Thursday 16,754.
Tickets for the later session on Wednesday were reduced to £20 in an apparent bid to bring in more spectators, but Riaz said he believes the lack of fans could be due to a failure in pricing strategy, among other elements including a Wednesday start.
“The benchmark will be what the attendance is like at Lord’s, Oval and Trent Bridge. But the pricing is a lot higher than previous Pakistan Test matches so there’s an element of cashing in, perhaps, on Asian communities’ passion for cricket,” Riaz said, according to the Guardian.
“From what I understand the prices are almost double what they were for Pakistan Test matches in some cases. Out of the two communities, the Indian cricket community is a bit more affluent and maybe they were targeted.”
A Wednesday start instead of the traditional Thursday for the first Test may also have played a role in poor attendances, according to Riaz.
He said: “I think it would have been better to do it Thursday, Friday and Saturday, definitely to build some momentum. I think the marketing could have perhaps been better and there’s also the genuine question of whether Test cricket is relevant to the South Asian cricket community.
A spokesman for Edgbaston said: “I don’t think our tickets were unreasonably priced starting at £29 for adults and £16 for children, the most affordable of all the Test match grounds. We have even had to open an extra stand on Friday because we are sold out.”
Image: Jimmy Guano