The UK's first day/night Test match attracted 70,000 spectators over the 3-day event / England Cricket Board
England's cricket match against the West Indies – the first day/night test match to be played in the UK – is being described as a resounding commercial success after giving a £15m boost to the local economy.
Day/night cricket – also known as floodlight cricket – is a concept where part of the match is played in the evening or at night under floodlighting, a significant break from traditional daytime cricket.
Taking place between 17-19 August, the match at Edgbaston in Birmingham drew more than 70,000 spectators, recording sell-outs on the second and third days, with the venue's retail sales being the higher than any other non-ashes test match.
According to Warwickshire County Cricket Club chief executive, Neil Snowball, total ticket sales increased by 25 per cent as a result of the change in format and the increased level of marketing. Additionally, hospitality sales were up, as were merchandise sales, which increased 30 per cent compared to the five-day test against Pakistan in 2016.
"It’s a great opportunity to attract more fans to the game and see how staging test cricket in the afternoon and evening fits with working patterns and modern lifestyles, whilst maintaining the deep tradition of test match cricket," said England Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive, Tom Harrison.
Birmingham City Council attributed the £15m boost to an increase in hotel rooms because of the later start time, bringing more money into the West Midlands area.
The success of this model is already being reaped in Australia, where test match television audiences have quadrupled when moved to the day/night format.
Following the success of the England/West Indies match, the ECB says it is now considering holding a floodlit Test every year in order to build up momentum to roll the concept out across the UK.
First published: www.sportsmanagement.co.uk, written by Ben Coxon, 24 August 2017