(CTN News) – The organisers of the Cricket World Cup have said that they are pleased with the attendance at the tournament’s first match between England and New Zealand, despite the large expanses of empty seats in Ahmedabad, which have prompted a mixed reaction from global onlookers, ranging from criticism to derision.
All-rounder Danielle Wyatt echoed the thoughts of many when she tweeted: “Where’s the crowd at the World Cup?”.
In the middle of the afternoon, television viewers were greeted by the sight of tens of thousands of empty seats in the world’s second biggest sporting arena after fans shunned the exposed lower tier of the stadium.
Those who had tickets elsewhere delayed their entry into the stadium or decided to come only after the end of the working day, and those who had tickets elsewhere delayed their entry into the stadium.
Although organizers refused to confirm the final attendance, some 45,000 tickets had already been sold and, despite the fact that the crowd grew throughout the day, it was still not enough to make a dent in the 132,000-capacity Narendra Modi Stadium, making it the best-attended opening game of any 50-over World Cup.
There were also some issues outside the stadium, with those who needed to pick up their tickets – mainly foreign visitors who were unable to provide an Indian address – being informed upon arrival that the collection point would be at a hotel 20 minutes away from the stadium.
Organizers of the World Cup have been criticized for their chaotic approach, with the schedule being finalised less than two months before the start of the tournament, and tickets going on sale just six weeks beforehand.
England hosted the World Cup in 2019 and the final schedule was announced 13 months in advance, and tickets were sold out more than six months before it began.
In spite of the fact that organisers stated there were compelling reasons for starting the tournament with a match not involving the host nation on a weekday, the decision will be questioned.
In compiling the schedule, many factors made it difficult, including the demand from the host broadcaster that India’s key fixtures be played on weekends in order to maximize audience attendance.
Six of their nine group games will take place on either a Saturday or a Sunday, including the first, the last, and their World Cup matches against Australia, Pakistan, England, New Zealand, and South Africa.
But for the tournament to start with an India game on a weekend and finish on 19 November as scheduled would mean either extending it by an extra five days or having several extra days than the current six days with multiple matches, making it difficult to give teams the time they need to travel between venues and recover between games.
In order to increase interest in the event, they hoped to hold it in the same location as it will conclude and to have a rematch between the two sides who played in a thrilling final in 2019.