Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Why Melbourne’s Boxing Day Test is in limbo after Cricket Australia opened the door to moving the famous match to a new venue

Must read

  • Other states want to host Boxing Day cricket Test 
  • Staged at Melbourne Cricket Ground since 1980
  • Sydney could also lose New Year’s Test at SCG

The future of Melbourne’s Boxing Day Test is in limbo due to an ongoing stand-off between Cricket Australia and the Victorian government.

The development comes as Victoria remains the only state government not to agree on a six-year deal with cricket’s governing body, which is due to begin for the 2025-26 season, when England next tour Australia as part of the Ashes.

One minister has privately accused Cricket Australia of using the delay as deliberate ‘leverage’ during the drawn out negotiations, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

It was previously reported Cricket Australia is refusing to lock in Melbourne and Sydney in their historical place as host venues for Test matches beyond this season, declaring there is a ‘good runway to look at our future content’.

Other states such as Western Australia and South Australia have made yearly waves about potentially poaching both the Boxing Day Test from the MCG and the New Year’s Test from the SCG, declaring no one should have a stranglehold on the blockbusters.

Melbourne hosting future Boxing Day Tests is in limbo due to an ongoing stand-off between Cricket Australia and the Victorian government (pictured, Australian captain Pat Cummins after taking a wicket against South Africa in the 2022 Boxing Day match)

The Boxing Day Test has been staged at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground since 1980 (pictured, the huge crowd at the 2017 Test)

The Boxing Day Test has been staged at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground since 1980 (pictured, the huge crowd at the 2017 Test)

While CA scheduling boss Peter Roach said they placed ‘great weight in historical matches’, the quest for maximising crowds and revenue will play a key role in the final outcome.

‘We think there is great weight in historical matches because it drives that continued attendance and that continued support, but we haven’t locked in any venue for future years,’ Roach told reporters.

‘We look at it historically one year at a time. We have a runway now where we can look at the best outcome for the next seven or eight years for all of our venues.

‘We can work with our venues and our governments and our state associations to plan thoroughly ahead. 

‘We see it as there is enormous competition for our, I guess, marquee content, which is terrific. 

‘We know that year after year we have great content to take around the states.’

The Victorian government is also facing a debt crisis, with net debt predicted to rise to $187.8billion by June of 2028.

A proposed MCG redevelopment is also at least four years away.

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