Cricket World Cup Joins Forces With Asian Cup For Big Crowds In Canberra
Cricket "minnows" Bangladesh and Afghanistan are "more popular than two of the world's best teams," and Cricket World Cup officials are convinced three games at Manuka Oval "can attract almost 50,000 people next year," according to Chris Dutton of the CANBERRA TIMES. But football faces a "nervous wait to see if crowds fill Canberra Stadium." Asian Cup CEO Michael Brown is "urging the capital's sport fans to turn out in force to ensure the ACT government continues to invest in premier events." Cricket World Cup CEO John Harnden said that the Asian Cup will "jam seven matches into 14 days at Canberra Stadium in January, and there will be three World Cup games at Manuka Oval in February and March." Tickets for the Bangladesh-Afghanistan cricket contest are "selling faster than respective games for traditional powerhouses South Africa and the West Indies." Brown said that football and cricket would "work together instead of going into a cross-sport battle for fans." Brown: "Too often people think sports should compete, but Australians are sport lovers. There's no battle. John would want everything to go well for the Asian Cup and I wish the cricket World Cup every success ... it's about bringing international sport to Canberra." Harnden, however, is "targeting sellout games at Manuka Oval." He said, "We've got three games in Canberra, we think it's very achievable to get 45,000-50,000 to the ground and we expect full houses" (CANBERRA TIMES, 8/20).