A lot of people have been in the local news this week urging Tasmanians to come to watch the test match which is tipped to draw a very poor crowd. The underlying message being hinted at- sometimes quite explicitly- is that a low attendance would jeopardise Hobart’s chances of attracting games in the future.
While I generally find cricket- especially a one-sided test match- about as interesting as watching reality TV, I still take a little bit of umbrage at this. Cricket Australia, if you schedule an event that the public has little interest in, take some responsibility yourself. The brand of Australian cricket has already been weakened by infighting, poor sportsmanship and hubris over the last decade, whilst the West Indies have not been a high-drawing team for many years. To expect the Tasmanian public to fall over themselves to watch any international cricket shows a lack of respect for them as a discerning audience.
Judiciously chosen and marketed events, including AFL, NRL and limited overs cricket have been well-attended at Blundstone Arena. If the projected poor crowd numbers are realised, it will hardly be a reflection of the Tasmanian hunger for test cricket. That can’t be tested until a more competitive match is scheduled there.