Congratulations to Chester-le-Street and the Riverside Ground for hosting their first Ashes Test, an achievement the scale of which is all the more emphasised when one takes into account the small population of the surrounding town. Apparently the population of the urban area is only around 23000, which suggests one could fit almost all the residents into the ground. And the remainder could be given a Day 2 ticket.
The consideration of this ratio prompted me to check other Test grounds; is this favourable ratio challenged by any other ground? To keep the challenge within manageable proportions, I opted only to research grounds that have hosted Ashes Tests. Population figures are taken from 2011 official statistics, and generally apply to the greater metropolitan area (e.g. Greater Melbourne). Ground capacities are from Cricinfo.
Chester-le-Street, as expected, is far and away top of the list with a ratio of nearly 1 in 3 (note that the 53210 figure applies to its surrounding district). Next is Bramall Lane, which can safely be disregarded since it has not been used for cricket since 1973. The Exhibition Ground in Brisbane can be similarly overlooked.
Melbourne boasts the best Australian ratio, thanks largely to its massive stadium capacity; despite being the third-largest city (after London and Sydney), it has by far the highest-capacity stadium, yielding a ratio of under 1 in 40.
Bringing up the rear are Sydney and London. The SCG’s ratio of approximately 1 in 105 is still twice as impressive as Lord’s, with the latter coming in at around 1 in 272, and three times superior to that of The Oval, at 1 in nearly 348.
What would be interesting would be next to compare average ticket prices across the 13 grounds and investigate whether there is any correlation between population and price. With tickets even for Day 4 at Chester-le-Street at around £80, I would doubt any significant correlation exists for grounds in the UK, although Australia may well be a different matter.
|Ground||Team||Host town||Capacity||2011 population||Ratio (0 d.p.)|
|Melbourne Cricket Ground||Australia||Melbourne||100000||3999982||40|
|Sydney Cricket Ground||Australia||Sydney||44002||4627000||105|