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Why the lack of support at the Wanderers?

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Why the lack of support at the Wanderers? Empty Why the lack of support at the Wanderers?

Post by kingraf on Sat 02 Feb 2013, 9:48 pm

Firstly, I have been going to the Wanderers since I was in diapers, and I can tell you it is an oddly layered ground. The capacity is 32 000, but a lot of the seats are hidden. The upshot of this is that it is normally more packed than it looks. That said, the crowd in for today, on a weekend, out of both football and rugby seasons, is awful. The question is why?

When my mother used to work for Gauteng Cricket board, the weekend crowds used to regularly reach 50 00 - 60 00, she tells me. That hasnt been the case recently. The Aus series only got weekend crowd of about 30 000- 36 000. While this is bigger than any crowd any other SA ground could hope for, the fact that the Wanderers is twice as big kind of muddies perceptions.

A major factor destroying cricket crowds at the moment in SA is the fact that domestic, and now Test cricket isnt shown on free-to-air TV anymore. This basically has created the PPV-boxing problem, where by casuals couldnt be bothered.

The second issue for Jo'burg crowd attendance stems from four characters... IPL2. Indeed, the majority of all SA cricketing problem at the moment stems from that damn albatross. Thanks to that damn thing, Gerald Majola toom cricket away from the Wanderers. This took away the culture watching the game during the tail-end of the highveld summer. A pity which left SAs premier ground a temporary dinosaur.

There is no way to bring the crowd back under the current conditions. But the fact that we are the most must-see team in the world at the moment is reason enough for hope to spring eternal that I will one day re-live that great day from my youth where a packed Wanderers witnessed one the all-time great innings by Marcus Trescothick, while I ate to my hearts content at the VIP stand next to Simon Jones' bird...


Last edited by kingraf on Sat 02 Feb 2013, 9:51 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typos)
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Post by Biltong on Sat 02 Feb 2013, 9:53 pm

Ag, the way I see it is cricket is not the most favourite sport of many South Africans, they enjoy watching it when they get the chance, but if they have something else planned, they can't be bothered.

I for one don't often go to a cricket ground anymore, cause Ijust can't see the ball anymore.
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Post by Shelsey93 on Sat 02 Feb 2013, 11:29 pm

I have a few theories about attendances (see my article from a month or so back), but SA is one that I'm really struggling with.

In theory, in a country which is reasonably affluent (at least in the cities, and among the white population for whom cricket is the national sport along with rugby), where the team is No. 1 in the world, in a city which has hosted Test cricket for ages, and on a weekend you'd expect the ground to be nearly full.

The only couple of things I might suggest:

1. The Apartheid Break. After Apartheid one-day cricket was well established, perhaps meaning less families got into the Test Match habit. Yet why have attendances got worst in the last few years?

2. Cricket-watching culture. Its fair to say that most South Africans like their drink. People wanting to drink a bit, have fun and wear a stupid melon on their head prefer to go to one-day cricket? Yet the culture isn't that different in Eng and Oz, and people still go to Test cricket in big numbers.

3. Uncomfortable. I get the impression that the SA grounds haven't had the investment that the grounds in India, Eng and Oz have. Whilst some of the Oz developments are gastly, all of them provide better facilities for fans. Grassy banks look good, but in reality I doubt that many see sitting on one as good value for the ticket price. A lot of the seating at The Wanderers looks pretty uncomfortable. Yet I wouldn't expect this to make a huge difference.

On kingraf's points:

1. TV. I take this point, but in the modern world (at least in the UK) I don't believe this has the effect people think it does. I don't think our idea that if we put cricket FTA suddenly 2x as many are interested really works. Those who like cricket enough will subscribe Supersport. Those who aren't probably wouldn't watch anyway with all the video games and other TV offerings around these days.

2. IPL. I find the SA attitude to the IPL quite strange. It seems to me that the fans love it, in contrast to over here where most don't. Perhaps the number of SA players involved makes a difference - but then you'd think they're only interested in the players because of their international exploits...

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Post by Pal Joey on Sun 03 Feb 2013, 12:45 am

It was sad to see the 1st day of the match so poorly attended. Then again, if it were England, Australia or India playing... there may have been a fairly decent crowd surely?

Maybe it is a culture thing. It's sad to see T20 push out Test cricket (what did Gerald Majola do?) or lead to less games being played at the Wanderers.

Crowds usually diminish in Australia in non-Ashes years but the emergence of South Africa, India and Pakistan in the modern era has led to a healthy supporter base for those teams here.

Australia is usually more progressive (when it comes to Test v ODI v T20 spectator support) than the UK and even India. The 'poles' are closer together (in all formats) and our free broadcasting, marketing & facilities are second to none. Add to that - it's so ingrained into our sporting culture we couldn't imagine our summers without the Boxing Day, New Years Day Tests.
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Post by Mr Fishpaste on Sun 03 Feb 2013, 9:07 am

I think the TV point is quite important. As someone who doesn't have access to the Supersport package on telly, I feel strangely cut off from the cricket. You have to follow it in retrospect via news reports etc. As a result, I'm a lot less excited than I should be. With rugby I'll go down to the local pub to watch an hour and a half game, but I'm not going to do the same to watch cricket! (I can't sit in the pub for five whole days). When cricket was on free to air TV, I'd leave the telly on all day, and keep up to date with the progress every time I walked by....

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