Lord’s Cricket Ground has been criticised for its “extortionate” ticket prices despite recording the fastest sales in its history for England’s ODI against Pakistan in the summer.
Seats for the Test in the Lower Grand Stand were £165. Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) defended itself from criticism over the price by pointing instead to £60 tickets for the Test match against India.
“Tickets to watch international cricket at Lord’s are sold across six main categories that suit a range of budgets,” a spokeswoman said.
Richard Caborn, the UK’s former sports minister, said the prices were “very dangerous” amid ongoing financial pressures on society caused by COVID-19.
“I would suggest they climb down,” he told The Telegraph. “It is extortionate.”
He added: “They’re going to find themselves being unduly criticised because they’re not taking notice of all the circumstances surrounding a lot of people now. And the Premier League have been found wanting on this, and, if they’re not careful, cricket will be in the same category. Trying to extract out of fans these unfair sums is very dangerous.”
Lord’s, which reached more than 200,000 sales on Monday, became the first major sporting venue to declare it is planning for “full ground capacity” in December thanks to the vaccine.
Despite a third lockdown and the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant, the venue committed to putting tickets on sale for the Pakistan fixture in July, as well as India in August.
Lord’s said in a statement: “Unrestricted views to watch England v India…start at £60 per adult. For some seats, prices are £15 lower than the England v Australia Test in 2019. We are also enabling more families and young people to experience international cricket at Lord’s.
“Our tickets for under 16s remain at £10 each, meaning that a family of four can attend a full day of Test cricket at the weekend, (the most popular for families), seated in the mid-range category for £200, or the lowest range category for as little as £70 for four.”
The MCC’s membership base has remained at full capacity since the first lockdown, meaning it has fared better than many other sporting outfits. However, the club has told its members in a letter that “the budget suggests we could be around £10m worse off than a normal year”.