‘Dire’ crowd forecast puts Hobart under pressure

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The first day-night Test was a roaring success but organisers are bracing for swathes of empty seats at next week’s day-time match between Australia and the West Indies in Hobart, reports said Friday.

After 123,000 poured through Adelaide’s turnstiles for the day-night Test against New Zealand, official forecasts predict fewer than 10,000 over the first four days in Hobart.

The prediction has forced organisers to slash ticket prices and is putting Hobart under pressure as a host of international cricket, according to reports.

Compounding the problem is the anticipation of a lop-sided contest against the struggling West Indians, the Sydney Morning Herald said.

“Internal projections for next week’s Test are dire, suggesting the match is tracking for an overall attendance of less than 10,000 over the first four days. Little wonder that ticket prices have been cut by a third,” the newspaper said.

The Herald said if such a poor showing transpired, a first-ever Test in the national capital Canberra next year was likely to be considered.

Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland has said the Tasmanian capital needed to demonstrate why it should be awarded more international matches.

Barely 20,000 went through the gates for a Test there against Sri Lanka three summers ago.

“Down the track who knows what possibilities there are but to create a compelling case for more international cricket down here, the only real way is for Tasmanians to show up in force and send a message to us,” Sutherland said at the time.

Brisbane, which had disappointing crowds for the first Test against New Zealand last month, is likely to stage a day-night Test next year in a bid to intensify interest in five-day cricket there.

“Cricket Australia is committed to staging matches in Hobart, but it’s a competitive market so we have to show that there is demand for it,” Cricket Tasmania chief David Johnston said this week.

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