No fan rush
Plenty of empty seats! That’s what may confront die-hard cricket lovers who have purchased tickets for today’s third Digicel One-Day International between West Indies and Pakistan at Kensington Oval.
The long lines usually associated with international cricket at The Mecca on the eve of such matches were noticeably missing yesterday and the few fans who visited the booth, were able to buy tickets without a sweat.
Ticket sales have been going extremely slow with just 3 578 tickets or about 25 per cent of the ground, which has a capacity of 14 000, sold when the booth was closed yesterday evening for today’s game.
The authorities have decided to sell tickets for the 6 000 seats in the Greenidge and Haynes and the 3Ws stands first before making other seats available.
Fewer than 2 500 tickets were sold by midday yesterday for the fourth ODI at the same venue, which has been pushed back by a day to avoid a clash with Sunday’s Reggae On The Hill.
But West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) director Conde Riley reckons that a number of factors have contributed to the decline in attendance, even though he believes there will be a late rush for tickets before the match starts.
“Since last year, we saw a poor response to ticket sales during the South African tour. A lot of activities are taking place in Barbados with two bank holidays and the match clashing with National Heroes Day,” he said.
He spoke of reggae events during the next few days, including the popular Reggae On The Hill on Sunday, and steady rain over the past two days that had resulted in a wait-and-see situation on the weather.
“It could also be the economic climate, with people deciding to spend their money on what is absolutely necessary. Some prefer the music over cricket, but we are still hoping that people will come out and lap up the tickets,” Riley said.
“The ticket prices are very reasonable. Just $25 for the lower level of any stand and $30 for the upper level so I expect a lot of people will buy tickets on the same day as the matches,” Riley said.
“Also, with 20 per cent of the Stadium going free to schoolchildren, there should be a lot more people on the day of the game,” he added.
Unlike England and Australia, which usually have hundreds of fans, following their teams, there are few Pakistani supporters who have journeyed to the Caribbean for the tour.