Australian captain Steve Smith admits he has been disappointed by the poor Gabba attendance for the first Test against New Zealand despite the largely empty Brisbane venue setting a new trans-Tasman record.
Overall, 53,572 attended the Gabba over five days in Australia’s 208-run first Test win over the Black Caps.
It exceeded the previous trans-Tasman attendance record of 52,082 set in Brisbane in 2004.
The total also surpassed the 44,264 at last year’s Gabba Test against India – albeit after it was rescheduled following Phillip Hughes’ death.
But Smith hoped to see a big improvement at the second Test starting on Friday in Perth.
“There wasn’t many out there today. It’s obviously disappointing as we would like everyone coming out and watching us play,” he said.
“Both sides play a very aggressive brand of cricket and a good brand to watch, so it was disappointing not to have the crowds out here and, hopefully, we get a bit more support at the WACA.”
Day five of the Gabba clash attracted just 1373, although it was on a work day, ended in the morning session and showers were also forecast to disrupt play.
Rain disrupted day four which was attended by 6608, with 53 overs of play possible on Sunday.
The first day – a Thursday – was the best attended, when 16,181 came to the ground.
To put the numbers in context, AFL club Brisbane managed to draw a bigger crowd to eight of their 11 games in 2015.
The Lions finished second last on the ladder, winning just four games for the season.
It indicates just how bad a drawcard New Zealand are for Australian cricket fans.
The unusually early date for the first Test has also been a source of frustration for Cricket Australia (CA) and Queensland Cricket.
“We would rather be a week later,” CA chief executive James Sutherland told ABC radio.
“Without going into all the intricate details, the dates for the World Twenty20 (in March 2016) … had been pushed to an earlier time.
“That just squeezed us back into this first week of November.
“(Melbourne) Cup week is difficult … to create the noise and anticipation about it is very difficult.”
Nonetheless, it’s understood CA’s promotional spend on the Gabba Test was relatively small compared to the funds being invested in other fixtures.
The absence of a tour game in Brisbane meant the Black Caps arrived the week of the game and captured little local interest.
Ticket prices was the explanation that most Twitter users gave for the modest turnout.
“The crowds for this Test are consistent with our forecast,” a CA spokesperson said.
“However, in saying that, we always want more people through the gates and anticipate that to be the case during the next two Test matches.”
Ticket sales for the day-night clash at Adelaide Oval, which will feature the controversial pink ball, are at “Ashes levels” according to CA.
FIRST TEST CROWD:
* Day 1 – 16,181
* Day 2- 14,187
* Day 3 – 15,223
* Day 4 – 6608
* Day 5 – 1373