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The strategy of spacing out the Super Smash games and promoting the women’s game by staging double-headers is paying off where it counts — at the turnstiles.
New Zealand Cricket general manager of domestic cricket Andrew Rogers said crowds were up 54% on the same stage last year.
As of January 6, 17,700 people had shown up for the 12 Super Smash games.
That was a significant improvement from last year and a strong indication the tournament was heading in the right direction, Rogers said.
"There has been a couple of washouts which skews things a little bit," he said.
"But overall there has been some really good [attendances], particularly in Wellington.
"They had 3500 for the game on the 6th of January."
Otago’s match against Northern Districts at Alexandra on December 30 was well attended as well with 1800 people.
"We’ve changed a couple of things this season. We’ve spread the tournament out ... and we’ve got a lot of matches on during the weekend.
"What we’ve being trying to do is avoid clashes with Black Caps matches and avoid midweek games during the, I guess, non-holiday period."
The other big change this year has been the decision to stage some double-headers. The women’s Super Smash is sharing the stage with the men’s game and it has so far proven to be popular.
Part of the attraction of a twenty20 game is that it is over in three hours. But by playing back-to-back games you potentially lengthen the day for the audience.
Rogers said NZC was concerned it might put some fans off but that had not proved to be the case.
"We’ve been pleasantly surprised by almost every single match where we have had a double-header with the number of the people who have come to the ground for the women’s match.
"And it isn’t that they are coming in during the last five overs [before the men’s game]. It is a really positive aspect of things."
Rogers said because a single ticket got you into both games, they were leaving it up to the spectators about how much cricket they wanted to watch.
"But in general we’ve had people coming early and then remaining through to the end of the men’s match."