Wed | May 22, 2019

Letter of the Day | Fixing the poor attendance at sporting events

Published:Tuesday | March 5, 2019 | 12:15 AM


I sat and listened one day last week as one of the presenters on a popular morning talk show rehashed an issue I have long since found tiresome. The issue concerned the poor attendance at some sporting events.

There is a running joke about a gentleman who never misses a cricket match at Sabina Park. It is rumoured that his faithful dog always accompanies him to the matches. These days, it is said, the dog refuses to follow him to see the games, and in fact attacked his master the last time he attempted to get him to come along. The reason behind the dog’s changed behaviour is believed to be the protracted, abysmal performance of the once all-conquering West Indies cricket team.

But on a more serious note, though, from what I gather, besides the players, match officials, a few food vendors, the security personnel, and a smattering of people from media who were obligated to report on the proceedings, there may not have been as much as fifty spectators on hand to witness the cricket match between the West Indies and England on that beautiful day last week.

Now, there are a number of factors that could have accounted for this poor showing by cricket fans. On this occasion, however, the cost of admission was not among the usual suspects because there was no charge to see the game.

A reasonable guess to hazard would be that interest in this format of the game has all but evaporated. It could also be that the culprit responsible was the disaffection of West Indies cricket fans, who have repeatedly had their hearts broken by a team highly skilled in the art of underperformance.

With all of that being said, though, I have a silly question to pose to those behind the hosting of cricket and other sporting events.

When events such as these are held on a week day, when the bulk of the population is either at work or in school, you don’t think that just might have an effect on attendance?

And while we are on this topic, why are events starting so late in the evenings, thus effectively disenfranchising people from rural areas who have no wish to be in Kingston after dark, or who do not have the luxury of private transportation?

I could be wrong, but I believe this poor attendance issue is an easy fix, with potentially rich rewards. How about trying weekends and early starts for a start?