Which Ashes host town boasts the best ground capacity to town population ratio?

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.)
Riverside Ground England Chester-le-Street 17000 53210 3
Bramall Lane England Sheffield 50000 551800 11
Trent Bridge England Nottingham 17000 305700 18
Sophia Gardens England Cardiff 15000 324800 22
Old Trafford England Manchester 19000 503127 26
Melbourne Cricket Ground Australia Melbourne 100000 3999982 40
Adelaide Oval Australia Adelaide 31000 1263000 41
Headingley England Leeds 17000 751500 44
Edgbaston England Birmingham 21000 1074000 51
The Gabba Australia Brisbane 40000 2147000 54
W.A.C.A. Ground Australia Perth 24500 1740000 71
Exhibition Ground Australia Brisbane 26000 2147000 83
Sydney Cricket Ground Australia Sydney 44002 4627000 105
Lord's England London 30000 8174000 272
Kennington Oval England London 23500 8174000 348

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