Rethink on strategy to attract Asian fans

The conspicuous lack of support for Pakistan until the final day of the third Test in Leeds is likely to prompt a rethink in marketing strategy for future series.

The Headingley Carnegie Stadium enjoyed sell-out crowds on four of the five days, which drew more than 78,000 spectators in total. Yet despite substantial efforts by the host county, Yorkshire, to generate interest among the huge Pakistani population in the Leeds and Bradford areas, only Tuesday's audience contained any meaningful numbers cheering for the touring side.

Yorkshire had expected interest on a similar scale to the 2001 series against Pakistan, when the Headingley fixture was played against a colourful, noisy backdrop more in keeping with Lahore than Leeds, and the chief executive, Stewart Regan, admitted that the club would have to examine other ways to sell future games after this year's strategy produced such disappointing results.

"We are one of the first clubs to market a Test match in two languages, both on local Asian radio stations and in Asian newspapers, particularly in the Bradford area," Regan said.

"However, the enormous interest in the England side generated by the Ashes series prompted many England fans to buy tickets in advance and there was a big early take-up for the first three days. These were bought largely using credit or charge cards through the Ticketmaster system and we think that might be one reason why fewer Pakistan supporters bought in advance. The ECB [England and Wales Cricket Board] has looked at the buying habits of Asian cricket fans and it appears they are less likely to buy in advance or to use plastic than England supporters, preferring to pay with cash.

"It was significant that on the last day, when tickets were on sale at £15 for adults and £5 for children on the gate, there was a huge turnout of Pakistan fans, the biggest the series has seen so far."

The Tuesday crowd was estimated at 16,000. The first three days sold out at 17,000 with around 11,500 in attendance on Monday.

Regan said: "From the club's point of view the crowd figures were a great result but we will have to see what else we can do in future to encourage Pakistan supporters to buy tickets early. However, we obviously need to balance the desire to attract more fans from the Asian community against our commercial targets."

Horns and whistles, which were popular with Pakistan fans in 2001, have since been banned from cricket grounds on security advice, and Regan admitted that stewarding at Headingley had been "very robust" in the light of problems five years ago when fans invaded the field and pulled up the stumps. A steward suffered a broken nose.

Regan did not think those measures had a deterrent effect. "Pakistan fans are passionate about their cricket," he said. "I don't think they were put off. When they did come along they were dressed in their replica shirts and draped themselves in flags."

Headingley's experience reflected that reported by Lancashire after the second Test, where similar efforts to publicise the game among Manchester's Pakistani community also received a disappointing response.

News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness