Welcome to the Cheap Seats
The Sri Lankan Cricket Board has angered English Cricket Supporters by selling all the best seats at the Galle, Mandy and Colombo Tests to a corporate hospitality company who are changing between £40 and £110 for day 'packages'. These packages consist of 6 drinks vouchers, a rucksack and a ticket. As the drinks and rucksack will have a cost of around £10, the match ticket will have a net cost of around £30 to £100. By comparison, the same seats for the South Africa tour of Sri Lanka are being sold at £2.50 a day.
Locals can buy a £1.50 grass bank ticket with no shade. On the previous tour of Sri Lanka when match tickets for England fans were £25 a day, some England fans bought the cheap locals tickets and were duly evicted from the ground. This time the Sri Lankan authorities have suggested anyone can buy these tickets.
Now having sat on grass banks at Cape Town and Christchurch I can confirm this isn't the most comfortable option but England fans should arrive en masse with cushions and umbrellas and take over the grass banks. They cannot evict 2000 fans. Whilst half of these packages have been sold to companies like Howzat, I hope the Barmy Army and more independent people like ourselves sit it out and refuse to buy these packages. The hospitality company would face reducing prices by just selling ticket only packages or having half of their allocation they have paid handsomely for unsold. Either way they may not be so eager to try this next time.
So what is the long term solution. England will take more than any other country to Sri Lanka, no matter what the ticket cost. So some may say, the Sri Lankan authorities are simply following a good business model by charging as much as they can get away with whilst, to some extent, abdicating responsibility. A business plan followed by Premier League clubs who everyone agrees over charge but play in front of full or nearly full crowds every week.
However cricket isn't football. Despite recent events it's always been played and watched in a different way. A higher moral ground.
Personally, I don't mind paying a higher price than locals in Sri Lanka, as long as that additional money is ringfenced to either enable local youngsters to attend these games or goes into youth cricket development in Sri Lanka.