The Cricket World Cup starts this week in England, with 48 matches planned over the next six weeks with the home nation hot favourites before a ball has been bowled or a drop of rain fallen. Regarded by many as a slightly odd game where a drawn match can take five days, the format is for a faster and hopefully more exciting 50 overs per side with pinch hitters seeking to avoids slips and ladies looking for fine leg.
2019 is a big year for major sporting events with both Cricket and Rugby Union hosting their global tournaments in the United Kingdom and Japan respectively, but a key question is do they really bring inbound tourism and do airlines add more capacity to their networks to accommodate that demand?
We’ve taken a quick look at those countries competing in the cricket this summer and the direct services to the United Kingdom. This excludes New Zealand which has no direct flights but - as English cricket fans would say - “does that really matter?”. The table below highlights exactly what has changed, and we’ve put a bit of spin on those numbers.
Whilst India may have the most fanatical supporters, the recent demise of Jet Airways has left a huge gap in capacity that could not be filled at the last minute; capacity is down by nearly 280,000 seats this summer. Fortunately, Emirates which are a major cricket sponsor have plenty of capacity from India via Dubai and are more than capable of fulfilling the twelfth man role in terms of extra seats.
Positively, South Africa has a lot more capacity this summer with 15% growth in capacity, in part due to the opening of the new British Airways service to Durban, which might be helpful if the team make an early exit from the competition. Sorry, Proteas fans!
Caribbean hopes of winning will have increased given their recent success in the shorter forms of cricket and with the chances of their star batsman seeking to leave the global stage with some gale-force performances they cannot be underestimated.
Our very brief “Umpires Review” of the top line data suggests that airlines generally prefer to dig in deep during sporting events and maximise yields where possible rather than play some outrageous shots with additional capacity. It seems obvious to us that landing the tournament has been a major catch for the organisers and that barring any slip ups then on Sunday 14th July, England will be lording up having won their first World Cup since 1966, or was that a different sort of sport?