Pre-sales for “Australian cricket family” members opened at 3pm on Thursday and more than 10,000 tickets were quickly snapped up, with the bulk for Boxing Day. Tickets will go on sale to the general public at 3pm AEDT on Friday.
There will now be 6900 Melbourne Cricket Club members allowed entry each day, up from 5700, with the rest of the stadium filled by the general public, AFL members and a few corporates.
It is likely the 30,000 will be the final figure for the Test because of the need to allocate seats in bays along with protocol management issues.
“Melbourne is the home of Australia’s biggest and most-loved sporting events and it’s fantastic that we will be able to welcome 30,000 fans to the MCG on each day of the Boxing Day Test,” Pakula said.
“It’s testament to the hard work of all Victorians in fighting the virus that Cricket Australia and the MCC have been able to put together a plan that allows for more supporters than had been originally planned.”
Tickets made their way onto third-party websites quickly, with some of the cheapest seats listed at ten times their normal price.
In 2019, the revered Test was granted special status by the Victorian government to combat ticket scalping due to the high demand for tickets.
It was unclear if the government would invoke powers under the Major Events Act 2009, which makes it possible to crack down on ticket scalpers.
However, CA said on Thursday it was of paramount importance that tickets were not bought off re-sale sites because of the potential need for contact tracing in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak. Fans this year must provide their name and phone number before they are allocated specific seats under the strict protocols.
Cricket Australia interim chief executive Nick Hockley was delighted with the increase.
“We can’t wait to see 30,000 fans each day at the MCG for the Boxing Day Test. It will be the first time fans have been able to attend a sporting event at the MCG since the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final, and we’re so excited to be able to welcome so many fans in what’s been such a challenging year for Victorians,” he said.
“We’re very grateful to the Victorian government and the MCC who have put in a lot of hard work to ensure we can host fans in a safe manner.”
Jon Pierik is cricket writer for The Age. He also covers AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.
David Estcourt is a court and general news reporter at The Age.