MCC happy to move start time of Boxing Day Test in wake of crowd numbers hitting peak at lunch

Melbourne Cricket Club CEO Stuart Fox is open to having discussions about a push to move the start time of the Boxing Day Test back to 12pm.

The MCG welcomed over 60,000 fans into the ground for Day 1 of the Melbourne Test against Pakistan, a good result considering the certain rain forecast for the day, following a wet Christmas Day.

But around just half of the total crowd that came through the gates for the day were in their seats to watch the first ball, with most of the rest rolling in by lunch.

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It prompted SEN’s Gerard Whateley to ponder whether the start time for the Boxing Day Test should be moved back to 12pm to accommodate for cricket fans waking up from a big Christmas Day on Day 1.

Such decisions lie squarely in the lap of Cricket Australia, but Fox said it was worth a discussion.

“I think you’re using the data to run a good case here and it’s hard to run against,” Fox said in response to the crowd almost doubling between the first ball on Day 1 and lunchtime.

“I love the traditional timeslot and I love the fact that it hasn’t changed but I think we’ve got to be up for the discussion and I think that data suggests that if you did start around midday, you’re going to have a lot more people inside the stadium watching the game.

“I think that’d be really special.”

The MCG fans found their voice eventually on Day 1. Credit: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

CA boss Nick Hockley refused to entertain the idea when speaking to SEN earlier in the Test.

But Whateley posed the argument that tradition must have nothing to do with the decision.

“I’m amazed how people defer to tradition when there is no such tradition — 10:30 is not the traditional starting time of Boxing Day; it was 11:00 for a long time,” he said.

“It’s a lazy argument to say tradition is this — it’s not. The television era moved the start times from 11 to 10:30 so that the news didn’t get interrupted.

“So, it’s completely flexible when these Test matches start.

“It’s convention, not tradition, and once convention doesn’t fit anymore, it should be altered.”

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