It was evident that the Pakistan Cricket Board had mishandled the sale of the tickets in their historic cricket reviving series with the World XI, with Najam Sethi admitting the pricing was wrong.
The tickets for the series were priced at Rs. 500, 2500, 4000, 6000 and 8,000 – prices that were not very affordable for fans. For the first match, apart from the media, even Faf du Plessis, captain of the visiting World XI side, and Paul Collingwood, the veteran player, pointed to the fact that it wasn’t a full house at the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore on Tuesday (September 12).
There were rows of empty seats in three of the enclosures of the stadium which has a capacity of 25,000.
“Two things contributed to the fact that the stadium was 80-90% full,” admitted Sethi. “First is of course the security was so tight that many people found it difficult to come, or were dissuaded from coming.”
Fans had to go through five security checks with walk-through gates and were body searched at all the spots.
“Some people set out but after one hour on the roads they went back,” continued Sethi. “I received a lot of messages. But there is very little I can do about that. The Punjab government is relentless in providing top security.”
Sethi added the mistake on pricing would not be repeated in the future. “We made a mistake in setting such high prices. We were misled by our experiences of what happened in the PSL (Pakistan Super League) final, when prices were unimportant and people paid the highest prices to come and watch.
“This is a three-match series and the security is even more than was there for the PSL. We should have kept lower prices, and I can tell you we will learn from this experience and considerably and significantly reduce prices for the future.”
There were reports that PCB was forced to distribute tickets for free to fill the stadium in the second match on Wednesday.