Ian Baker - Money crushing the spirit of the game
21 Jul 2010 - 12:35:04
Pakistan's "home" Test series against Australia is currently taking place in England thanks to the unfortunate security situation in their own country.
But it is perhaps rather ironic that the two-match series is sponsored by MCC Spirit of Cricket. A minimum ticket price of £30 for adults for each of the first three days of the Lord's and Headingley matches lacks any kind of understanding for supporters who have travelled from Pakistan and Australia.
Who knows what the attendance for the Headingley Test will be, but Lord's stands were half empty. Surely it makes sense to fill the grounds with considerably cheaper tickets - attracting further Pakistani and Australian fans and even the most reluctant of neutrals?
Let's delve further. On England's last tour to Pakistan in 2005, fans were charged between £1 and £1.50 per day for entry to the ground. The Barmy Army were charged even less in Bangladesh and an average of around £5 a day for last winter's Tests in South Africa.
Tickets for the Ashes in Australia have now been released by Cricket Australia. The most expensive lowest price band is for day one of the Sydney Test, costing punters £34 ($AUS60).
Elsewhere, only day one at Melbourne ($AUS50 or £28.75) costs more than $AUS40 (£23).
Tickets for the later stages of matches cost considerably less. Those prices are for the biggest Test match in world cricket and demand will far exceed supply.
Lord's and Headingley will point to the fact that tickets for the Pakistan v Australia Test are considerably cheaper than the usual heavily inflated and quite frankly ridiculous English Test prices of £40-£70 per day. But their ticket price strategy still strinks of greed.
Wouldn't it be great if Lord's was full and Headingley packed to the rafters for exciting Test cricket between two of the very best nations in the world?
Wouldn't it be fantastic if people from all walks of life could afford to attend (and not just children who have been offered discounted prices).
That would ensure the real spirit of cricket is maintained. But when all is said and done, I suppose money makes the world go round.
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