ICC Champions Trophy 2013 April 7, 2013

Champions Trophy is crunch time for Cardiff


Alan Hamer, Glamorgan's chief executive, has admitted that Cardiff's role as one of the host venues for the Champions Trophy "raises the stakes" for county and country and that their success or otherwise will have a direct impact on the SWALEC Stadium's prospects as a venue for international cricket in Wales.

Cardiff is up against Birmingham and London as one of three grounds hosting the June 6-23 event. While three of the five games at each of The Oval and Edgbaston sold out in the first round of ticketing, only one of Cardiff's - the opening fixture between India and South Africa - did so, with sales in the other matches, which include England's group game against New Zealand, described as average. A second, limited batch of tickets for all Champions Trophy matches, including India v Pakistan at Edgbaston, will go on sale on Monday morning at 10.30am BST (09.30 GMT).

With the next four-year cycle of international match allocations in England to include the World Cup and Ashes in 2019, as well as the proposed World Test Championship in 2017, Hamer believes an impressive Champions Trophy showing will help state Cardiff's case. While not a ground as storied as the likes of Lord's or Headingley, Hamer emphasised the importance of continuing to create that history and wants a "sports hungry" Welsh public to play their part, with the eyes of the cricket world watching. Welsh cricket is on a charm offensive.

"This is the first time we've had a global event here so it raises the stakes, not just for us but for the country as a whole because the TV audience isn't just UK-based, it's worldwide," Hamer said. "And it gives an opportunity for people overseas to understand a bit more about Wales and Welsh cricket. It is important to us because if this tournament goes well then it puts us in a strong position when it comes to staging future global events.

"We're still a relatively new ground in terms of history of international matches. The only way we're going to increase our 'database' is by staging more games. Other grounds have a lot more history and a lot more games than us. We've only got one Test match in the current four-year cycle, the 2015 Ashes, which is probably right, and at the end of the cycle we'll be in a far stronger position in terms of support base."

"Passion for the English summer game may be harder to discern than daffodils in this bitterest of springs. But walking along the river towards the SWALEC Stadium, although the trees are bare, it is possible to make out a faint, pointillist constellation of yellow. In a couple of months, with the rugby and football seasons finished and cricket out of hibernation once more, the cricketing world will be introduced to the ECB's silent W."

While Cardiff may well be judged in comparison with attendances in London and Birmingham when measuring success, Hamer said that any rivalry was friendly. "All the venues are trying to work together to support their respective matches, so as well as us doing well here, we need The Oval and Edgbaston to do well as well. It's good competition," he said.

Tickets for the Champions Trophy - which is being held for the final time - are priced as low as £20 for adults sitting in the family sections, with the most expensive being the £60 "Gold" seats for the final at Edgbaston. Strategies for Cardiff include targeting the city's student population and invoking the successful sporting events held in Wales in recent years, from the Ryder Cup to multiple FA Cup finals and the 2009 Ashes Test.

Although there is the perennial competition from rugby and football for attention, there is a sense that the impending arrival of the world's best cricketers in Wales will catch the public's imagination. The tournament will open in Cardiff, with a ceremony at the medieval castle in the city centre, while teams preparing between matches will be based in nearby Newport, using local facilities.

Glamorgan will hand over control of their SWALEC Stadium - which will be rebranded as the Cardiff Wales Stadium - to the ICC for the duration of the tournament, meaning ticket revenue goes back to the governing body, but thronging crowds are likely to increase the "secondary spend" on food and drink, to go with the venue hire fee. "It is very much financially in our interest to do well," Hamer said. "We're incentivised to get as many bums on seats as possible."

Tickets for all 15 Champions Trophy fixtures will be available via telephone (0844 249 2013) and online at www.icc-cricket.com from 10.30am BST on Monday, April 8

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on April 9, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    I love how people who do not follow English cricket seem to suddenly be an expert. Mind telling how many matches were washed out or went to D/L method during the 1998 WC, 2004 Champions Trophy and the 2009 T20 WC?

  • Pawandeep on April 8, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    It might snow in Cardiff in June.

  • Mark on April 8, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    @trevorleesafro: Ah OK gotcha. Yeah no doubt it would pull in more crowds, and it is a good idea, I'd watch that. Would be a more interesting competition if it was the England lions though, bit more of a level playing field, though it would devalue the competition a bit and perhaps result in a smaller affair. I'm not saying England would win every game, we've seen the associate nations can hold their own at times, but they would be heavy favourites for each game.

  • Michael on April 8, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    The rebranding of the SWALEC stadium as Cardiff Wales stadium for one tournament-Love it!! It just shows what minds are at work here. One thing would sell tickets-dropping the prices!! Always works. As for the future-this ground has seen two fairly amusing Tests,but I think most people love the old grounds more. They have all the history after all.

  • Dummy4 on April 8, 2013, 12:15 GMT

    i wanted to go to cardiff to watch the semi-finals..the tickets for the game are priced at £40..but the return train tickets on the match day from london cost £125-£140..which is insane..because on other days its much cheaper..i decided not to buy tickets.. it would be great if organisers worked with public transportation so as to make it easier for fans to travel..i am sure it will attract spectators from across the country..

  • G on April 8, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    the locals are not interested in cricket. They never buy tickets

  • Dave on April 8, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    I can smell the rain even now - 2 months away.

  • Michael on April 8, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    @munkeymomo, I should have been clearer with the supporting England point, I was meaning those not really into cricket, those who should be targeted to expand the game in Wales. They would have a greater interest in supporting a Wales side and be more into the T20 format.

  • Mark on April 8, 2013, 4:33 GMT

    @redneck: 15600 capacity. Still not Aus size, but then the football stadium only holds 25000, which is the main sport in Cardiff (international rugby obviously draws huge crowds, but domestic rugby gets as many attendees as glamorgan).

    @trevorleesafro: Nice idea. I know lots of Welsh people who support England (& Wales) btw. No cricket fan has a problem with it.