First Ashes tickets on general sale snapped up

Published: Monday, June 19, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Melborne:Cricket Australia said the first Ashes tickets offered to the general public were snapped up quickly, with the first four days of the Sydney and Perth Tests selling out within minutes.

Some 340,000 tickets for England's tour Down Under will be available to the general public over the next week after a two-week period of exclusive sales to members of the so-called Australian Cricket Family (ACF) expired last Thursday.

Those sales generated complaints from fans that the way tickets were being distributed was favouring scalpers who were offering tickets at hugely inflated prices on the Internet.

In response, Cricket Australia reduced the ticket cap per customer from 10 to four, introduced staggered release dates across the country and made the tickets available over-the-counter from booking outlets, rather than just online or through telephone booking.

The new system was put to the test Monday when hundreds of people queued outside ticket offices in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth from early morning to secure the first seats offered under the new system.

But the tickets quickly disappeared, with the first four days of the Tests in Perth and Sydney selling out within 35 and 40 minutes respectively.

Seats to the first four days of second Test at Adelaide were all gone within two hours, Cricket Australia said.

Tickets for the first Test in Brisbane go on sale Tuesday and the fourth Test in Melbourne on Wednesday.

England won the Ashes for the first time in 18 years last September, prompting huge interest in the upcoming series in Australia.

In an attempt by officials to prevent members of England's "Barmy Army" swamping Australian grounds for the highly-anticipated series, ACF members had previously to supply an Australian residential address before they could buy tickets.

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