How to get larger crowds for County Championship cricket matches

Robert Henderson

In 2001 I put forward a plan  to improve interest in and attendance at County Championship matches to  the  then Chief Executive of the ECB Tim Lamb. The proposal was to allow anyone who purchased a ticket for an England game in England to present that  ticket stub at any County Championship match  to gain free admission to  a day’s  play.   Tickets for Test matches, ODIs and international T20s would qualify.

The beauty of the scheme was that it involved  no cost at best or negligible  cost at worst to  either the ECB or the individual counties. The spectator would simply turn up at their chosen game and hand in the ticket stub. There would be no significant  cost to the county because all the most they  would have to do  would be to  count the number of stubs to allow a judgement to be made as to how successful the scheme was.  As the stub is  produced automatically by the normal ticket design for England matches no extra cost would arise there.

Hundreds of thousands  watch England play cricket in England every year so there  would potentially be  a very  large number who could use their free entry tickets. Many probably would  because entry to Championship  games is  becoming increasingly expensive and  people find it hard to resist something which is free, especially if it is expensive.

Many people who would not normally dream of going to a Championship match would probably   be brought into grounds. Once there they might like what they see and come back as paying customers. Even regular Championship watchers might be persuaded to go more often as paying customers.

But even if  attendances only rose when the free entry ticket stubs were used,  that would be a benefit for it would increase takings for the caterers and club merchandise. Moreover, larger crowds would also create a better atmosphere and that would make the games more attractive to  spectators, broadcasters  and sponsors.

Sadly, although Tim Lamb  showed interest,  nothing ultimately came of  my  attempts to persuade  him to put  the proposal to the ECB.  Arguably the scheme has even  more merit now that it did in 2001 because of the ever  greater dominance of international cricket over domestic  first class cricket   which is struggling throughout the world. What I am proposing for England could  be used in any Test playing country to revive interest in their domestic first class competitions.  It is vital for  the long-term health of world cricket that domestic first class cricket is preserved because it is that which is the conveyor belt producing players  for international cricket.

Would the plan work? Most probably because of the numbers involved and the lure of something free. It is at least worth a trial for a few years for it would cost next to nothing to run the scheme .

This entry was posted in Sport and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to How to get larger crowds for County Championship cricket matches

  1. david brown says:

    sorry to be off topic but can not find your email contact. Back in December black male Kieran Brown was charged with ABH -white female victim on bus. Why has this still not come to court?
    on 15/16 July BBC1 has a no doubt rigged immigration debate.

  2. Pingback: What is wrong with English cricket? | England calling

  3. Pingback: Ace News Services 2014 | ACE NEWS & VIEWS: ‘ What is Wrong With English Cricket ‘

  4. Pingback: The danger the County Championship is in and how to save it | England calling

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s