Sales not converting to filled seats at cricket

Guangzhou: If all the tickets are sold, the Asian Cricket Council wants to know why the stadium has been almost empty for the sport’s Asian Games debut.

“The gap between expectations and reality is surprising,” ACC media manager Shahriar Khan told reporters on Monday. “We have no idea about the tickets sale.”

Despite claims by organizers that all the tickets were sold out, only roughly 500 people turned up to watch when the Chinese women played the opening match against Malaysia on the weekend.

“There’s no way one could buy a ticket online,” Khan said, adding that a cricket official from Hong Kong was interested in buying a ticket but he couldn’t “because the website showed it sold out.”

The sparse crowds on the opening few days have mostly comprised students from the Guanggong University of Technology, where the Asian Games venue is located.

Most of them have had little idea about the sport, but have been kept abreast of the proceedings through announcements over the public address system whenever a run is scored or a wicket falls.

Khan said the ACC had initially planned a promotional campaign about the Asian Games cricket event in nearby Hong Kong for those who wanted to travel to China.

“But when we came to know through Guangzhou games website that the tickets were sold out we thought to leave out our plans of distributing flyers,” Khan said.

China’s next big international tournament will be in January 2011 when it co-hosts International Cricket Council’s World Cricket Division III tournament with Hong Kong.

Bureau Report