It's no wonder Test match crowds are a shadow of their former selves when the cheapest ticket for the Hobart Test is more than double the price of entry to the Big Bash League.
A paltry crowd of 6221 turned up for day one of the opening Test between Australia and Sri Lanka at the 16,200-capacity Blundstone Arena on Friday, which included a lunchtime tribute to retired Test great Ricky Ponting in front of his home supporters.
An even lower attendance was on hand on Saturday, though the poor weather would have encouraged many fans to watch the outstanding batting exploits of Michael Hussey and Matthew Wade on television instead.
While the Tasmanian public have come under fire for their perceived lack of interest, the poor showing hardly comes as a surprise with such high ticket prices on the eve of school holidays and just before Christmas.
Tickets bought at the gate for the opening two days of the Test started at a whopping $43 for adults and $94.50 for families of two adults and two children.
Tickets purchased in advance were marginally cheaper, with prices starting at $38 for adults and $83 for families before transaction fees were applied.
Admission to the Big Bash League, on the other hand, costs as little as $20 for adults and just $40 for families almost $55 less than the Test.
The Hobart Hurricanes enjoyed record crowds at Blundstone Arena in the Twenty20 tournament last season, with 14,185 on hand against the Sydney Sixers and 13,713 there to see Shane Warne's Melbourne Stars.
But Cricket Tasmania believes the attendance figures for the Test are respectable on a per capita basis, despite renewed calls for the island state to be stripped of their hosting rights.
"We definitely should keep Tests here," Cricket Tasmania chief executive David Johnston told the ''Tasmania Mercury''.
"We've had Sri Lanka and New Zealand a few times so that can be a bit detrimental, but we are continuing to strive for better crowds."
Johnson instead compared the Hobart Test to the likes of Melbourne, where an adult ticket is $2 more expensive on Boxing Day at the MCG.
"Cricket Tasmania and Cricket Australia agree on the prices," Johnson added.
"They are cheaper than any other state, we know the pricing is a sensitive issue in Tasmania and we try to keep it as reasonable as possible."While Cricket Australia may strive to preserve Test cricket, the format faces an uphill battle if the public are priced out of the stadiums in favour of the bright lights of the Big Bash League.
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