Mark Tagg, the Northamptonshire chief executive, has reacted to the controversy surrounding the Football Association’s decision to charge up to £115 for a ticket to this year’s FA Cup final at Wembley by directing sports fans to the remarkable value offered instead by county cricket.
“I’m not surprised there has been some adverse comment about the football prices,” said Tagg, “but just compare it to what it costs to watch professional cricket in this country.
“For instance, if you had purchased an adult membership here at Northants before the end of January this year, you would only have paid £175 for the entire summer. That covers all our home LV County Championship games, plus all our home Friends Life t20 and Clydesdale Bank 40 matches, a tourist match against India, five Championship day passes for a guest, and our yearbook!
“In total, you would get a maximum of 50 days’ cricket for that price – which works out at around £3.50 per day to watch a lot of good players, and some great ones, play cricket. You can also get a season ticket just for our ten home Twenty20 Cup matches which costs only £79 and an adult membership package covering all County Championship and CB40 cricket is available at £139.
“We believe, too, that we are improving our product all the time here at Northants. Thanks to the efforts of our groundstaff, our pitches here at Wantage Road are now getting quicker and, with the ball going through better, it makes for excellent cricket with batsmen being able to play their shots and getting full value for them and bowlers knowing that they will get something out of it if they put the effort in.
“Spectators at county cricket come along to be entertained, and to watch good competitive cricket, with a balance between bat and ball, and I think that’s what we are getting here now. But we need to get that message out, and any comparison between what it costs to watch professional football and what it costs to watch professional cricket would come out well in favour of cricket.”
Northants have also worked hard in recent times to improve facilities at Wantage Road, both for spectators to watch cricket and for year-round users of the ground.