England in Sri Lanka 2011-12 March 25, 2012

Sri Lankan fans could be priced out by ticket hike


Local Sri Lankan cricket fans who want to watch the full duration of the Test against England in Galle will be asked to fork out up to a month's wages after it was confirmed there would be no cheaper tickets available for locals.

Sri Lanka Cricket confirmed it had set the ticket prices at 5000 Sri Lankan rupees ($38) and 7500 Sri Lankan rupees ($57) per day, having seen the demand created by the visiting England fans as a chance to boost their struggling finances. That move has angered England supporters who feel they are being exploited for being loyal followers of their team overseas.

However, it also prices many locals out of the game, as paying even for four days would equate to 20,000 Sri Lankan rupees, which is around four week's pay for a large proportion of the population. Recent Tests in Galle have not been heavily attended by Sri Lankan fans - the game against Australia last year was not sold out despite much lower prices - but rather than trying to encourage more supporters through the gates the board has opted to cash in while it can. Yesterday, a Sri Lanka Cricket official said there would be a 1000 rupee ticket available but that has not materialised.

"We need to develop the game of cricket in Sri Lanka so whenever there is an opportunity and a demand for tickets it is our policy to put prices up," Nishantha Ranatunga, the Sri Lanka secretary, said. "You can see people buying tickets for this price. We will get the best deal. Yes, there is a substantial increase from previous tours and the World Cup but we have seen a lot of Sri Lankans buying tickets at this price."

There is talk of a protest by England fans on the opening day of the Test, suggesting they may decamp to the Dutch Fort which overlooks the ground, although many visiting supporters have arrived with pre-paid tickets bought as part of tour packages.

Andrew Strauss did not want to comment on the ticket prices, but wanted as many England supporters in the ground as possible. "I don't know the Sri Lanka Cricket board's policy on ticket pricing," he said. "But clearly we want to have as many fans as possible in the ground and we know the Barmy Army always travels and supports us wherever we go in the world. The more of them that are in the ground supporting us and watching some good quality Test cricket the better it is for not just for us but also the game as a whole."

Sri Lanka Cricket has severe financial problems after running up debts of $32.5 million to finance the building of two international stadiums in Hambantota and Pallekele, and to renovate the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, for the World Cup.

Payments owed to players, dating back to the World Cup, were only fully settled less than two weeks ago, after the state-owned Bank of Ceylon released 600 Sri Lankan million rupees ($5 million) after discussions with the sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage.

Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, confirmed they had been paid up to the end of the CB series in Australia. "We got paid last week," he said. "It's something we couldn't control, but the newly elected board made us a promise and they kept to that. We continued playing cricket and the boys were happy with that."

The players might be happier now, but supporters from both sides are unlikely to be having similar feelings.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Irosha on March 28, 2012, 14:39 GMT

    Sri Lankan SLC authorities have playedout every cent in its bank accounts; therefore they don't have a cent to orgonizemuch needed tournaments for youngsters. If they don't pay these youngsters a regularsalary, as it happens in other countries, they would soon give-up playing afterleaving school. Oh! "GOD BLESS SLanCRICKET"

  • Anthony on March 27, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    A ticket to see England play Sri Lanka - $38 Lunch at the stadium - $5 Watching Pietersen's batting slump continue - pricelsss

  • Dinesh on March 27, 2012, 4:04 GMT

    This is not a reasonable price ....bad thing for tourism

  • sumoNYR88 on March 27, 2012, 3:14 GMT

    Raising ticket prices is justifiable only if the option to bring in local fans is retained. While Sri Lanka Cricket have kept their promise to pay the players, it is evident that they are still disorganised in not being able to communicate (if) when and where local fans will be able to purchase the supposed 1,000 rupees tickets. There is no point in having home advantage if the board does not utilise it - having a supportive home crowd is one of the most moving emotions players go through across all sports, not just cricket.

    I wouldn't go as far as saying this is expected or absurd, however it reflects poorly on SLC and the fans (English but particularly the locals) lose out the most.

  • Harvey on March 27, 2012, 2:14 GMT

    @ Banglalink - you shouldn't believe everything you read in Wikipedia. The capacity at Galle is not 35000 or anything like it! Even Lord's only holds about 28,500, and Galle is tiny compared to Lord's. Packed together like sardines with everyone standing on the grass banks, you might fit 12 or13, 000 in, but when temporary seating is in place, as it is for this match, I doubt you'd safely get more than 8 or 9,000 in, tops. Don't forget that many of those will be on complimentary tickets, too! The money raised from this will have little impact on SLC's massive debts, and I really can't see how anything other than a bail-out can save them from bankruptcy.

  • shamin on March 27, 2012, 1:02 GMT

    Im wonder why T20 tickets are so cheep.. SLCB can earn more profit from uplifting those ticket prices. Because its starting on LKR27 and upwards thts very cheep here :D and also more fan attraction will be point out for this series too. So dont blame to SLCB they gave us world cup for the cheapest price every people can afford and also coming t20 will be incredibly very very cheep :)) always try to be happy with what you get :D

  • Philip on March 26, 2012, 16:33 GMT

    Seats in the Pavillion being priced per International rates, I dont have a problem with that as long as they seating arrangements and the facilities match up to International standards. Uncovered stands surely must be being sold at less. What is the minimum price of the tickets? The starting price is not $38 is it? How about the school children? Galle has always been a venue that welcomed and encouraged children. I hope at least these youngsters have not been deprived of their day. Mismanagement will never ever be irradicated in the Island. It is there to stay. Philip Gnana, UK

  • Faysal on March 26, 2012, 16:13 GMT

    I think it is a shrewd business move by SLCB. Let me lay out the commercial logik for such a move. Galle has a capacity of 35,000. So total capacity for 5 days of test is 175,000. Average ticket price is (38/2+57/2) $47.50 .If the stands are full then income from ticket sale is $8.3125 million.Even if the stands are half full then SLCB earns $4.156. For the 2 tests add in TV rights + advertisement +hospitality boxes SLCB can earn roughly $12 million at lower estimate and $24 million at the higher estimate. That will significantly reduce their debt of $32 million. Add in the T20 WC and they could be in the black by October. So I think people should stop moaning and bear with this momentary inconvienience to help out the cricket in SL.

  • Dummy4 on March 26, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    Sad to hear, but I'm half surprised that this didn't happen sooner in the wake of the board's financial problems.

  • Dilhan on March 26, 2012, 14:26 GMT

    we live in Galle and we are hurt, we really are. We all were planning to get to the ground on Thursday cz this was where we witnessed Murali's match.. we get to see an international match in Galle about only twice an year and how could they possibly expect a school boy to pay 7500 rupees. Our dear minister of some stupid ministry said a family of three people could live with 7500 rupees for a month, are they telling us that family should go without cricket, the only thing where we Sri Lankans seem to mark a presence in the world?

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