Ricky Ponting wants to see another capacity cricket crowd to ensure his home town stays on the Big Bash League radar.
Having attracted five-figure crowds of up to 17,771 for charity games in 2014 and 2017, the former Australian captain wants to see the UTAS Stadium capacity given another nudge when it hosts its first BBL match between Hobart Hurricanes and Sydney Thunder on Saturday, December 30.
“It’s really important that we fill the ground and set ourselves up for more games into the future,” said Ponting, who represented the Hurricanes in the competition before becoming one of its commentators.
“A good crowd would open the door for another game next year and with more home games possibly on offer we want to retain at least one and would love more.”
Ponting’s two fund-raising fixtures are believed to have helped with the business case to bring BBL to Launceston but so far only 3500 tickets have been sold, well short of the ground’s 18,000 capacity.
With Australia also hosting the T20 World Cup in 2020, venue chiefs are keen to make a strong impression and push for further top-flight cricket fixtures.
The inaugural BBL game will be played either side of WBBL fixtures, also involving the Hurricanes and Thunder.
“For one of the biggest domestic tournaments in the world to come to Launceston is going to be very exciting and I’m looking forward to it,” Ponting said.
“I’m excited about it because I’m working on the game so will be sitting in the grandstand looking out on a place where I spent a lot of my younger days and thinking about where the city and the ground has come from to think that we’re hosting a Big Bash game here that I’ve got no doubt will be a sellout.
“I love commentating the Hurricanes games. It’s always extra special for me and the fact that it’s going to be in Launceston makes it even better. Hopefully we get a good turnout and the Hurricanes do the right thing and get a win.
“As far as the actual ground goes, the lighting’s fine, the outfield’s sensational and I know the players will go away talking about that. It’s not just another country ground, this is going to be a seriously good venue and hopefully we’ll see more cricket there in the future.”
Saturday, December 30
- 2.20pm: Hurricanes v Thunder (WBBL)
- 7.10pm Hurricanes v Thunder (BBL)
Sunday, December 31
- 1pm: Hurricanes v Thunder (WBBL)