Fans at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy (BLCA) blamed the high price of tickets, match times and an unfamiliar venue as factors that are causing the poor turnout at the Tarouba venue during the 2017 Hero Caribbean Premier League this week.
The knockout phase of the tournament began on Tuesday with the Trinbago Knight Riders playing St Kitts and Nevis Patriots. The crowd was small with less than 6000 patrons attending the match. Most people who attended the match on Tuesday filled the mound section which was priced at $240. The other sections of the stadium were scarcely populated including the stands which cost $375. The crowd at Wednesday’s match between Guyana Amazon Warriors and Jamaica Tallawahs was even smaller. Mound tickets for that match cost $205, while the stands were priced at $340.
Denise Boodram of Pointe-a-Pierre said there are a number of factors that have caused the poor turnout. “It is a weekday, it is also possible that people can’t afford things right now because of the economy,” Denise said. She also believes people in North Trinidad may not want to attend matches in south. “North people just don’t like to pass the light house. South people to me are real cricket fans, so south people will leave south to go north. North people not leaving north to come down here. It could be the cost, but I love my cricket from ever since so I will pay whatever.”
Matches this week bowl off at either 8 or 9 pm. A man just known as Eugene from Diego Martin said, “Our Trinidad culture has not come to terms with the price of international events like this.”
Eugene added that the location of the BLCA makes it difficult for some people because it is not somewhere you can get public transport. “The (Queen’s Park) Oval and the (Hasely Crawford) Stadium are venues where taxis work. They could travel there but if they come here you have to wonder how you getting a bus or car back out.” Eugene suggested that running shuttles from Port of Spain would help.
Simon White of Diego Martin stated, “A lot of people might not be encouraged enough to drive down south and I am not sure if the cricket base is as big as it use to be in south. Generally speaking, I don’t think that cricket is as big as it used to be in Trinidad and Tobago at all anymore.”
Asked if the games during the week may have prevented the crowd from attending White said, “You ever see football not selling out during the week? Depending on the game you ever see a problem (with the crowd) in the Oval?”
Sanjeev Boodram from Chaguanas said, “I think it is a combination of factors. It is a new venue, the familiarity of the Oval and the vibes that it carries it will be difficult to go to a new venue just like that. The ticket prices may be a factor. I think the CPL need to restructure the prices a little bit.”
A Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago official who wished to remain anonymous said yesterday there are numerous reasons for the small crowds.
“I think a lot of things would have contributed to it. I think that the time the matches are starting, the cost of the tickets and school starting this week are things that may have contributed to it. A person with a family will reach home around 1am or 2am and then has to get up early to make lunch to send their children to school,” the SPORTT official said.
“The traffic arrangements have been fantastic, the venue looks beautiful and you are getting good cricket. Generally I think everything is quite good,” the official added.