Hong Kong T20 Blitz under floodlights? Organisers hope for evening games in future events
Cricket Hong Kong says it is not an easy option but inquiries are being made about the possibility for post-2018 tournaments
Hong Kong T20 Blitz organisers are looking at the possibility of a floodlit venue for future tournaments, which would allow them to stage night games, boost attendances and expand its global television footprint.
Cricket Hong Kong Director Jonathan Cummings said hosting the tournament under floodlights was one of many aspects organisers are looking at in order to raise the event’s status in world cricket.
“The bigger picture is to have as much innovation and engagement as we possibly can and if ever there was a possibility of having a venue in which we could play under lights, that would help in extending the number of games we play in a day and would also help from a crowd point of view.
“It is an opportunity to have evening games and it would be brilliant in terms of allowing people to attend midweek after work, and it would also help with broadcasters.
“Evening games would be slightly better for viewers in other countries, especially in Europe and to some extent India and Dubai.”
Since its inception in 2016, the Blitz has been held at Mission Road in Mong Kok, the venue of next year’s third edition from February 6-11.
The ground is a sanctioned venue for one-day games played by associate members of world governing body, the ICC – representing the second tier behind test nations.
However, it lacks a proper scoreboard and there are no floodlights, which means games must finish before it gets too dark – around 6.15pm in February next year.
The 2018 tournament will be played over six days, with one match on Tuesday and two each every day until Sunday’s final.
Cummings said inquiries have been made about possible floodlit venues. However, he admits it is a tricky obstacle to overcome.
“We have started to look into it but we have discovered that there is not an easy option,” said Cummings. “Once the 2018 event is over, we will start looking more in depth into what can be done.”
He said the success of the Hong Kong Sixes in October laid the platform for ideas on how improvements can be made to the Blitz, with television coverage and digital platforms playing an important role.
“It’s about building in terms of digital engagement and those kind of platforms,” said Cummings. “We’d love to get more people in the ground and watching on TV to become more active wherever they are in the world.
“The Sixes is known for being innovative and it has provided a good base for us. Now we’re looking at the Blitz with the way the T20 game is moving forward and how we can try to do things that are not tried elsewhere.
“The big picture is we really want to position Hong Kong at the forefront of cricket innovation at a global level.”
Tickets for the tournament went on sale on Thursday, with weekday entry costing HK$20 each. Entry is free for those under 16 on weekdays. Weekend general admission is HK$350 for adults and HK$100 for children.
Top T20 players such as Chris Lynn, Darren Sammy, Dwayne Smith, Hasan Ali and Sohail Tanvir have already signed up for the tournament.