As the title says, just a few quick thoughts on this. I’ve scribbled some stuff down on paper, and ruminated over the whole thing while I couldn’t sleep last night, but don’t have the time to do a full blog on this right now. However …
I asked the Press reporter Rachel Young, who was first with the story yesterday, about the meaning of “major fixture”. This is the most serious of the limitations which the environment court placed on the project. Canterbury Cricket asked for 20 major fixture days, but we’re only given 13. Rachel responded to my tweet to say that a “major fixture” is any match with more than 2,000 spectators. That means that they are only allowed to have more than 2,000 people on 13 days per year, and only more than 12,000 for two days in every 3 years.
I’m going to make some assumptions here, and they could be wrong, but just go with it for a bit. Let’s assume New Zealand gets two international tours. For augments sake, Sri Lanka and Australia. The first is 3 test / 5 ODI / 2 T20, and the second is 3 test / 3 ODI / 3 T20. Christchurch gets Sri Lanka for a test and an ODI, and Australia for an ODI and a T20 later in the summer. That’s 8 days of the 13 “major fixture” days taken up right there.
That leaves 5 “major fixture” days for the Canterbury Wizards* domestic season, which if it stays in the same format as last year, consists of 10 first-class (4 day), 10 one-dayers, 10 T20 (assuming that Canterbury remain awful at cricket and don’t make any finals). Half of those games are at home, which means probably around 10 home one-dayer and T20 games. 5 of them could be at Hagley, where as the other 5 could be at Rangiora or Lincoln (which Canterbury Cricket argued we’re not good enough – one of the reasons why they “need” Hagley Oval).
In the last paragraph, I didn’t include the four-day games, as I think it is safe to assume that they are unlikely to attract more than 2,000 people. However, they would end up in a somewhat farcical situation where they would have to limit entry to the ground for these games, lest they go over the 2,000 person limit. It’s not inconceivable that they might get more than a few thousand people on a sunny Saturday afternoon who’d want to wander down to the park and see what’s going on – would they turn them away, or would they let them in and risk being found in breech of their resource consent? Bringing cricket back into the city was meant to turn around falling crowds, so getting 2,000 people, when we have ~500,000 people within an hour of town (0.4%) isn’t out of the question.
Part of the reason for this development was to grow or rebuild cricket in Canterbury. Seems somewhat ironic that if they succeeded in doing that with Hagley Oval, they would be unable to enjoy that success.
* I don’t mean to ignore the Canterbury Magicians, but it seems that everyone else has, but with only precious few days up for use, it’s unlikely that women’s cricket would get a look in