Adelaide Tests can be more lucrative than Sydney’s or Melbourne’s: SA cricket boss

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Adelaide Oval’s cricket Test can be more profitable than Sydney’s and Melbourne’s if they get the type of promotional support that bolstered crowds at this week’s match in Perth, South Australia’s cricket boss believes.

South Australia Cricket Association president Will Rayner said the Adelaide Oval’s mix of old-school charm and modern comfort made it the ideal venue for cricket’s long form.

Australia played the West Indies at the Adelaide Oval this time last year, and will play them in the first Test of s eries against the same opponent next month.Credit: Getty Images

Cricket Australia figures revealed by this masthead show the Adelaide Test match is projected to effectively double the gate revenue generated by the Perth Test over the next five years, but presently makes less than centrepiece matches in Melbourne each Boxing Day and Sydney at the start of each new year.

“For us, the argument is not whether we can hold our own against Perth – it is whether we are, in fact, the second-most profitable Test for Cricket Australia, and we should get scheduling that reflects that.”

For more than a decade Adelaide has hosted its annual Test match in December or November, but this summer’s match has been moved to mid-January, with Australia to play the struggling West Indies there, as they did at the venue last summer.

Although the match played at this time last year was one-sided, Rayner said the crowd was strong. With a written agreement to have the India and England Tests played in December at the Adelaide Oval over the next two years, he’s confident of delivering on Cricket Australia’s forecasts.

“For us, the argument is not whether we can hold our own against Perth – it is whether we are, in fact, the second-most profitable Test for Cricket Australia, and we should get scheduling that reflects that,” he said.

“There’s a healthy culture here, but we’re not constrained either. While we got 90,000 for the West Indies last year, it isn’t like they were sellouts. There’s still tremendous upside at Adelaide Oval as well, particularly if CA wants to start marketing our Test the same way they did the West Test.”

Rayner also had a word of warning for the those redeveloping the Gabba in Brisbane for the 2032 Olympics, saying Test cricket venues needed to be more than a characterless concrete bowl.

The $2.7 billion Gabba rebuild is currently in some doubt amid budgetary pressures on the state’s new premier.

Early design concepts for the venue’s rebuild suggest a raised stadium that will make it more visible on the Brisbane skyline, with improved and integrated pedestrian and public transport links via the Cross River Rail service. But those same concepts also depict the Gabba as a symmetrical bowl shape, like Perth Stadium, lacking the distinctive stands and grassy hill so popular in Adelaide.

CA built a replica hill in the stands at Perth Stadium for the Pakistan Test, contributing to a record attendance for a Pakistan Test in Perth – 59,125 from four days – but still some way short of the crowds that were hoped for.

Rayner argued Adelaide could, if given similar marketing support to Perth, increase its crowds even further for future Test matches – something the SACA has discussed with the national body during current negotiations for a long-term agreement for Test matches.

“We’re being asked to respond to a document that CA have out there about future scheduling between now and the end of 2030-31,” Rayner said. “We’ll be putting forward a proposal, and based on all the figures, we think it is a very compelling case.”

Earlier on Tuesday, CA chief executive Nick Hockley hailed improved broadcast ratings for the Perth Test – up 22 per cent on traditional television and 43 per cent on streaming – and a somewhat better attendance than last year’s Test against West Indies.

“The strong viewing figures again reinforced the strength of Test cricket and Australia’s love for this format of the game,” Hockley said. “We have a long-term commitment to growing the West Test and were delighted to attract the highest ever attendance for a Test against Pakistan in Perth.”

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