Big Bash League 2011-12 January 20, 2012

BBL semi-final tickets at WACA sell out in 30 minutes


Australian cricket has not seen such ferocious demand for tickets since the bloodlust of the 2006-07 Ashes series when Australian cricket fans clicked, clicked, and clicked again to purchase Ashes seats, only to send Cricket Australia's ticket sales operator into meltdown.

There was no website crash today but it took just 30 minutes* for the WACA to sell out ahead of Saturday night's Big Bash League semi-final between the Perth Scorchers and the Melbourne Stars.

There are mitigating factors of course. The WACA, alongside Bellerive, is the smallest cricket venue in Australia, with a capacity of around 20,000. The Shane Warne road show is also in town. The 42-year-old has been playing at sold out venues all tournament.

Perth also has form. In 2005, 20,071 fans packed into the WACA for the first professional T20 ever played in Australia, a one-off experimental match between Western Australia and Victoria. Again Warne was in action. But more attended that night than to any international in the preceding 24 years.

But when you consider this is cricket's "show about nothing", a competition that in its current form is as old as David Warner's Test career, with franchises that were created from thin air, featuring players that will only play together for six weeks, it is astonishing to think of the crowd support and television figures the competition has generated. Host broadcaster Fox Sports have boasted record ratings, whilst the crowd numbers have swelled throughout the tournament.

Brisbane had record domestic crowds at the Gabba. The MCG hosted more than 40,000 for a Melbourne derby that was shortened by rain. Likewise, the Sydney derby was rain-affected, yet 31,262 still made the journey to ANZ Stadium in Sydney's west.

Now a sell-out in Perth, and most likely a packed house in Hobart, will witness the inaugural Big Bash League semi-finals.

All of this is even more impressive considering the interest surrounding the longest version of the game has never been stronger. The Border-Gavaskar trophy, already secured by Australia, has played out in front of full houses in Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth with the Adelaide Test still to come.

Even the traditionally low-drawing New Zealand managed a record audience at the Gabba for the first Test.

Cricket Australia officials, without precise figures, claim they are on track to register the highest ever combined total attendance for cricket across all forms, both international and domestic, in a single summer.

Given the amount of time, money, and energy they have poured into selling the Big Bash League in its new, and apparently improved format, they would be ecstatic with the results.

With a sell-out already locked in for the first semi-final, it did not need any extra selling points. But someone forgot to tell Brad Hogg. The rejuvenated 40-year-old took umbrage to Melbourne Stars coach Greg Shipperd's criticism of the scheduling, claiming the Stars were unfairly disadvantaged by the two-day turn-around from their Thursday night clash with the Adelaide Strikers to the Saturday night semi against the Scorchers.

Hogg did not miss Shipperd when asked for his thoughts.

"Stop complaining, seriously," Hogg said on Friday. "There are people out there digging holes for a living and we're actually playing cricket. I grew up on a farm and did a lot of sheep work and that. When you do get paid for doing what you love, you appreciate it a lot more.

"There's absolutely no complaints. You can get me on a plane tomorrow and I'll go and play for anyone. I just love the game. So stop whingeing."

Saturday night is suddenly a mouth-watering prospect. With Warne, Hogg, and three hours of action-packed cricket to look forward to, it is no surprise it took 30 minutes to sell out.

* - 14.20GMT - The tickets were sold out in 30 minutes and not seconds, as was earlier reported. The error has been corrected.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Marcio on January 22, 2012, 5:19 GMT

    Yep, the BBl has been great. I have watched a fair bit on TV. Still prefer tests, but its great to see some of the old guys like Brad Hogg, Stuart MacGill and Warnie doing so well.

  • Girik on January 22, 2012, 4:55 GMT

    @Mark Simpson, well the Melbourne fans like Sydney have been split into two teams and there are therefore far more games for them to attend. There were only two games at the MCG during that year. This season there have been 7 games in Melbourne. @aokd, there is no point comparing attendances with the AFL or some other sports league. The Big Bash is just one part of the cricket summer and if the Test attendances haven't been adversely affected and the crowds having been increasing for the domestic T20 then it is doing alright. I know for a fact that some though not many people will have to still go next year considering the amount of investment they put in (bought expensive fan gear like jerseys, flags and caps).

  • Dummy4 on January 21, 2012, 11:17 GMT

    Well spoken Hoggie, there's a lot of sports people who have no idea how easy their life is compared to (Me) and the guys I work with. Monday is building roads in full sun, so is Tuesday...etc. 10 hours a day. For 42 grand a year. And I'm 59 in 4 months. My heart breaks for Mr Shipperd, only two days off between hard labor for a couple of hours. Come and join us for a week Greg.

  • brenta on January 21, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    Hogg is right why are melbourne complaining after all the competition was made so that they made the semis so the warne factor could draw more crowds in. It has been so obvious that the stars last 2 opponents have been playing below par under instruction from cricket australia. Even when warne comes on to bowl the batsmen are told to just take singles and don't smash him. \because of these factors it has turned me right off this competition and I have lived in melbourne my whole life.

  • Dummy4 on January 21, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    Cricket at its very Best..... Simply Awesome......expecting thrilling Matches!!!

  • Jaf on January 21, 2012, 7:44 GMT


    "I do not think it means what you think it means" - Enigo Montoya

  • Ajay on January 21, 2012, 4:28 GMT

    BBl provide better entertainment than IPL. IPL feel so cheap. I am from India who watches BBL every match. My team Sixers & Hobart.

  • Dummy4 on January 21, 2012, 1:53 GMT

    There was a larger attendance for the T20 game between Victoria and Tasmania two years ago. The numbers are not any better than that. This is less an article and more a promotion piece.

  • Dick on January 21, 2012, 1:32 GMT

    Not much of an achievement really. There was only about 12,000 seats released to the general public. The other 8,000 is reserved by WACA members and corporate people, who may or may not attend the game. 12,000 for a city of 1.6million people, the AFL get more people turning up to a Kangaroos vs Port Adelaide game when there is a better game being played just down the road on the same day.

  • wayne on January 20, 2012, 22:08 GMT

    Not such a bomb after all, eh? Admittedly, it's not my bag, but so far it seems to have been pulling steadily increasing crowds.

  • No featured comments at the moment.