Day-night matches will be held at Hobart's Bellerive Oval next summer after the announcement that the venue will have floodlights in time for the 2009-10 season. The Tasmanian Cricket Association was told last year it risked losing future one-day international fixtures unless Bellerive became a day-night option and the Tasmanian government has stepped in to ensure that Hobart would remain an ODI venue.
The government will fund the lights, which the TCA expects to be fully operational by the end of October. Bellerive Oval typically hosts one or two one-day internationals per summer and next year will be lining up to hold a day-night game between Australia and either Pakistan or West Indies.
In addition to ensuring that ODIs stay at Bellerive, the TCA is confident the lights will attract bigger crowds to domestic one-dayers in Tasmania. Selected FR Cup games are telecast on pay TV in Australia but the broadcasters prefer to show day-night matches, which has meant the Tigers' home games haven't received as much exposure as fixtures in the other states.
"It'll certainly have an impact at domestic level," Tony Harrison, the TCA chairman, said. "Our ODI this summer was sold out anyway and with lights we'll continue to have sellouts, and that's another issue, we'll need to look at the capacity of the ground.
"At domestic level it will have a fantastic impact on crowds. It will also allow us to get into the Wednesday night domestic one-day market for television."
Harrison said there had been concerns raised from a small number of local residents about the effect of the light towers but overall he had been heartened by the community support. Retractable towers are a possibility and would help ease some of the resident concerns, although the Clarence City Council still needs to approve that option based on engineering advice.