Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Crowds not wanted - No more T20 for Gloucester?

Speaking in the Gloucestershire Echo yesterday, Gloucestershire despot, Tom Richardson, admitted to being thrilled by the bumper crowds of 2,700 at the weekend's T20 matches against Hampshire and Surrey in Gloucester. So thrilled was Tom that he has revealed that it is unlikely that there will be any T20 matches in Gloucester next year.

For fairness we should point out that the reason that there is unlikely to be T20 cricket in Gloucester next year is due to a reduction in the number of home T20 matches from 8 to 5. This reduction is still to be confirmed. The reason why this is important to Gloucestershire is because we have a new ground to pay for, and so cannot afford to only have 3 lucrative T20 matches at Bristol. We should probably also point out that the reason for the reduction in the number of T20 matches next year is due to an overkill of the format and dwindling crowds.

Now this begs several questions. How do the crowd figures compare between Gloucester and Bristol? And, surely profits from games at Gloucester all go into one big Gloucestershire CCC pot of money?

We're going to imagine that we make less money when games are played at Gloucester as all the seating and marquees need to be paid for. Fair enough. But surely playing games in Gloucester broadens the fan base. Bristol is only a 30 minute drive from Gloucester. People would travel. However, people won't travel from Gloucester to watch a T20 game in Bristol if it's £20 a ticket.

The Jessop Tavern View is well aware that these are complex issues and, in fairness, Tom Richardson did say that they were looking for ways to bring county cricket to Gloucester next year, possibly in the form of a couple of CB40 matches. We all know how popular they are.

The massive elephant on our backs that is the ground redevelopment of Nevil Road seems to be continuing to force the county into short term planning. What happens in the meantime is that the fan base elsewhere in the county continues to dwindle. Young kids will only be interested in international cricket if they don't have the opportunity to watch county cricket. The future of Nevil Road will continue to see it packed for international one dayers, and then deserted for county cricket. But at least Tom would be happy.

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