News Update


Crowds in the Cricket World Cup 2023: Why are some games so under-attended?

The Cricket World Cup in India is going well two weeks in and on the field.

Shocking outcomes this week, including England’s defeat by Afghanistan and the Netherlands’ outstanding victory over South Africa, have given the competition new vitality.

But there is still debate over the attendance at games, or lack thereof.

BBC Sport examines the relevant concerns.

How large have the crowds been?
Attendance for India’s games during the 2023 World Cup has been high.
With the exception of the India matches, there have been large sections of vacant seats at games involving neutral countries in the 2023 World Cup.

The opening match of the tournament saw New Zealand upset England at Ahmedabad’s enormous Narendra Modi Stadium.

According to the organizers, 45,000 tickets were sold for the game, making it the most crowded World Cup opener ever. However, the 132,000-seat facility had more than 80,000 empty seats.

Since then, there have been both strong and disappointing attendances in a nation known for its passion for cricket, with England’s match against Afghanistan in Delhi serving as an obvious illustration of the former.

It has been challenging to get official numbers from the organizers.


The World Cup is organized by the International Cricket Council (ICC), although the hosts, in this case the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), handle day-to-day operations.

Despite repeated efforts, no attendance figure was provided for the India-Pakistan match on Saturday in Ahmedabad, which many anticipated to draw a cricket match attendance record.

Tickets for the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales have been sold in excess of 95%. Despite the fact that Indian cricket venues are substantially smaller than English ones, early indications indicate that this won’t be equaled in India.

The 45,000 fans during the opening game would have filled Lord’s, leaving 14,000 standing outside.

What issues have there been?
As Australia played Sri Lanka in Lucknow, a spectator passes by empty seats.
As Australia played Sri Lanka in Lucknow, a spectator passes by empty seats.
On social media, there have been numerous complaints of fans having trouble using the website that is used to sell and distribute tickets, with matches or parts of the stadium showing as sold out but in reality being mainly empty.

On the day of India’s match versus Australia in Chennai, which was originally thought to be sold out, hundreds of tickets were distributed, causing uncertainty.

According to England fans who talked to BBC Sport while traveling to games, some had not yet received their tickets, while others had been told they needed to pick them up in places that were hundreds of miles away from the venue.

The tournament’s schedule wasn’t finalized until August, and tickets didn’t go on sale until less than six weeks before the event, making it challenging for supporters to arrange travel from abroad or from different regions of India.

Visa issues have also arisen.

Because of the political climate between the two nations, Pakistani fans have mostly been unable to travel, and Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has criticized the partisan tone of the audience for their match against India.

What else is going on?
Tweet by Virender Sehwag
Many have asserted that the low attendance is proof of the 50-over format’s slow demise.

The Indian Premier League, the most lucrative of the T20 franchise leagues, has no trouble filling stadiums in India.

While the majority of World Cup matches have begun around 14:00 local time, those games typically take place in the evenings when locals get off work, however audiences have swelled in the late afternoon when it is also cooler.

Attendance at India games indicates that the Indian populace enjoys Indian cricket. It’s less certain whether it applies to games played without bias.

When it comes to attendance at non-England games in 2019, the UK’s population’s diversity is unquestionably beneficial.

It should be noted that the T20 World Cup last year in Australia saw both numerous games with low attendance and some with large crowds (90,000 people saw India vs. Pakistan in Melbourne).

An additional T20 World Cup will be held seven months after the 2023 World Cup concludes, making this the third men’s World Cup in as many years across all competitions.

However, organizers will be concerned if the 33,000-seat Wankhede Stadium is nearly empty when world champions England, including IPL stars like Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, take on South Africa, which will include players like Quinton de Kock and Kagiso Rabada, on Saturday.


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