Cricketers' good form translates to ticket sales
Organisers of next year's Cricket World Cup are already riding a wave of momentum created by an in-form New Zealand team.
Series wins over the West Indies and India this summer have created a groundswell of support for the Black Caps and hoisted interest in next year's World Cup to bumper levels.
Pre-sales for the 14-nation event, which begins in Christchurch on February 14 next year, have surged and the most sought-after games are the New Zealand-Australia match in Auckland and the Christchurch-hosted tournament opener between New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
The city will also host the opening ceremony.
Public ticket sales open on Friday as part of the organisers' one-year-to-go celebrations and interest is already peaking.
"The momentum has been building organically," World Cup New Zealand boss Therese Walsh told The Press.
The match allocations, which included seven New Zealand and seven Australian cities, the inclusion of new ground Saxton Oval in Nelson and the use of Hagley Park, all helped spark public interest.
The recently completed qualifying tournament kept the momentum bubbling, as did the announcement that New Zealand would host Australia, as they did the last time the tournament was played in Australia and New Zealand in 1992.
News that ticket prices would be cheaper than some movie sessions and start at as low as $5 for children and $20 for adults also helped.
It's been a promoter's dream so far, but the biggest publicity push has been out of the tournament organisers' hands.
Big wins by the New Zealand cricketers, consistent team performances and thrilling individual efforts have created a tidal wave of support not seen in cricket since the 1992 World Cup in which New Zealand reached the semifinals.
"We've been a bit lucky in that regard," Walsh said.
"But it's been truly superb. The Black Caps are playing so well and there's real talent and real potential. I think that's exciting people ahead of Cricket World Cup next year."
The next issue is how Walsh and co can keep the momentum high ahead of a tournament which doesn't start for a year.
"Don't you worry about that, I've got a few tricks up my sleeve yet," she said.
Public tickets go on sale from 2pm on Friday.