Do county members get a decent return for their subs? With the 2019 season ahead members paying the adult rate now could be spending anything between £175 at Trent Bridge and £309 at Taunton, although there are discounts for seniors, joint members and other categories available to varying extents. County-by-county numbers are downloadable from the stats page.
39 days (CC, the group stages for RL and Blast) watching Glamorgan was available for £142 for those who paid up by February this year and joint memberships at Nottingham for £252, on the face of it, are not expensive for those who get to, say, 10-15 days over the course of a season. The numbers a comment, perhaps, on what the market will bear, membership totals at Cardiff have been in the 2,000’s for much of the last decade, and at Trent Bridge on its general financial stability. If the unit of measure for watching cricket live in England this summer is the cost of a day at the (Lord’s) Test, county memberships, in most cases, are less than a day for two.
For those of us counting in £ the average cost is close to £240, as to how much cricket comes with it the criticism that the Championship has been shunted into the sidings and played in April and September has been addressed in 2019, maybe at least partly in response to The Cricketer’s Blueprint last August. The number of days scheduled mid-May to mid-August is around twice what it was last year and is now back to somewhere closer to the norm in the decade after 2005.
Good news for those who are able to watch during the week but not especially for those who aren’t: CC days scheduled for the weekend in 2019 will, despite the tweaking by some counties of the original schedule issued by the ECB, fall overall from 129 to 88. If you can’t or don’t make the early season Championship weekends in April, much play to follow on Saturday or Sunday through the summer there is not.
In short, the 2019 schedule might prompt thoughts that the ECB has a certain tendency to rather ‘forget’ members and spectators in the domestic game. CC and 50-over cricket during the week for a mature audience, hospitality and a night-out for those at T20 games for those in their middle years, but not so many days in the season when some might transit from a shorter format to a longer one, or occasional attenders or newcomers find it easy to go.
Whether there is a sealant of sorts actually being applied to the county game via its fixture list, or not, overall about 1 Blast match in 4 will be played at the weekend starting at young junior plus mum friendly times. In 2019 Worcestershire are playing 4 home T20 fixtures on Sunday afternoons, if other counties went back to something closer to the old Sunday League scheduling for their home games, the Blast, and the county game as a whole, might have more of a future than is sometimes now suggested.