JOHANNESBURG – It is irrefutable, a fact and a proudly South African reality. The Bidvest Wanderers Stadium is the one venue in the country where diehard fans turn up in their thousands simply because they prefer this remarkable atmosphere to their whisky and sofa at home.
Perhaps that is one of the reasons why 50 000 tickets have been sold (and counting) for the third and final test between South Africa and Sri Lanka starting on the 12th January.
Greg Fredericks, Chief Executive Officer of the Gauteng Cricket Board, said according to consumer research recently commissioned from Nielsen, the Bidvest Wanderers is the only ground where spectators prefer the Bullring to their lounges, which has been the biggest single competitor to stadium attendances in recent years. The special atmosphere, which becomes extraordinary when the ground fills up, is a primary reason for this fascinating phenomenon.
The Gauteng Cricket Board has also gone out of their way to accommodate spectators. They have created the Sun Zone with its comfortable seating where fans are served drinks and waiters and waitresses are at their disposal to take their orders.
The Stadium has agreements with Zebra Cabs and there is a Tuk-Tuk service available to take people home when they go to Melrose Arch. Consequently, spectators can enjoy their beverages and rely on these transport services to return them to their homes.
“The Bullring is also special because there is a very representative South African crowd assembling, a Rainbow Nation crowd.
“You must remember that you have Kagiso Rabada and Temba Bavuma that are icons of the game and who play at the Stadium regularly,” he added.
“I trust that more spectators will turn up because it is the 100th game of Hashim Amla,” said Fredericks.
Amla is one of South Africa’s greatest-ever stars and he is the leading run-scorer at the Bidvest Wanderers of players still actively involved in the game, with 741 runs assembled at an average of 49.46.
Jacques Kallis (1148 runs) and Graeme Smith (910) are more productive, but are retired professionals.
Amla has struck 7665 test runs including 25 centuries in 99 tests. His 311 at Lord’s, the highest individual test score by a South African, still remains one of the greatest feats in the history of South African cricket.
Amla is a member of the global elite who reached the number 1 position in tests and One Day Internationals on the International Cricket Council (ICC)’s ranking lists.
“As a franchise, we have learned from other franchise and food-producing venues about five-star stalls. Our gourmet stalls make it worth the visit to come to the Wanderers to watch the game from close proximity,” Fredericks said.
The Chief Executive Officer was hopeful in 2016 that the Bidvest Wanderers would surpass the PPC Newlands in terms of record sales and they were looking on course to smash that record.
But Stuart Broad produced a match-winning spell between lunch and tea on the third day. He captured 6-17 to limit South Africa to 83.
Consequently, the match ended on the third day.
Expect the stubborn Sri Lankans to be more combative in the third test against South Africa despite trailing by 0-2, and to emulate their performances of August 2016 when they whitewashed Australia 3-0 in a test series.
Fans who still want to purchase tickets, can buy them on-line at ticketpro.co.za, or visit the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium to buy them at this world-class venue.