Cricket Australia (CA) announced on Saturday that the Boxing Day Test between Australia and Pakistan had a total attendance of 164,835 over the four days at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Apart from the attendance numbers, CA also said it recorded strong viewership numbers across the four days of play as Australia claimed a 79-run win over Pakistan to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match Test series being played for the Benaud-Qadir Trophy.
Free-to-air Seven Network’s coverage of the Boxing Day Test reached 5.5 million Australians nationally and taking into account audiences across the Foxtel Group including Kayo Sports, Foxtel Go and Foxtel Now, over one million people on average watched across each day’s play.
Kayo Sports recorded its highest ever audience for a Day One of a Boxing Day Test, which was up 2% year-on-year. In total across the four days, more than a quarter of a million people attended the Test and KFC Big Bash League matches.
“We are delighted to see such strong viewership and attendance numbers for the NRMA Insurance Boxing Day Test and KFC Big Bash League. It was a great four days of cricket, and we were pleased to see so many fans join us at the matches or tune in to watch some great contests, including Australia’s win over Pakistan, led by an extraordinary player of the match performance by captain Pat Cummins,” said Nick Hockley, CA CEO.
MCG spectators honoured the legacy of Shane Warne
CA also said its new initiative along with the Shane Warne Legacy came together to honour the legendary leg-spinner was also a massive hit. Fans at the stadium were encouraged to take a Shane Warne Legacy Heart Test with 23 stations located around throughout the match.
A total of 7847 tests were taken over the course of the four days, with the national total currently at 29,013.
“We were also pleased to see so many fans taking a Shane Warne Legacy Heart Test during the Boxing Day Test. Heart health is a very important cause, and we were proud to raise awareness for it alongside the Shane Warne Legacy. It was also very special to see so many fans tipping their hats to Shane at the 3.50pm each day,” added Hockley.
Perth Test shattered previous attendance record
For the series opener at the Optus Stadium in Perth, the total match attendance was at 59,125, which was was 40% greater than the previous record.
“There is a lot of discussion about the evolution of cricket, and the reality is that the game, with its three great formats, has never been more popular, relevant and had greater growth potential.”
“For players, there is more earning potential and opportunity than ever before, while for fans, the entertainment is outstanding, whether in the stadium at the game or through the continuous innovation of our broadcast partners and via a huge variety of digital channels.”
“The attendance and viewing figures for this Test series once again demonstrate the enduring passion for the toughest and most celebrated format of the game,” stated Hockley.
Australia and Pakistan will now head to Sydney for the third and final Test of the series, to be observed as Pink Test, starting on January 3.