Full house approved for Scorchers final at Perth Stadium


The Big Bash is coming to crash Optus Stadium and the venue will be at full capacity for WA cricket fans for the historic BBL clash.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti on Tuesday said a proposed cap on crowd numbers would be scrapped and 55,000 tickets made available for the Perth Scorchers semi-final on Thursday February 1.

Agreement was reached on the condition the WACA, Cricket Australian and Optus Stadium management try to entice 15,000 to 20,000 fans to arrive at the venue before 3pm through strategies such as food and beverage vouchers for early arrivals, on-field access opportunities and prize packs.

A post-game light show will encourage fans to stay longer and reduce pressure on the transport system, with public transport arrangements tailored specifically to these provisions.

Next Thursday's historic semi-final will be held as a double-header with a women's BBL semi-final... the first women's sporting event at the stadium that could also feature the WA team.

The WBBL semi-final teams will be known on Wednesday but its start time has been confirmed at 12:10pm, with the Scorchers to follow at 4:40pm as Justin Langer's side strive to make their sixth final in seven years of the BBL.

The controversial plan to cap numbers at the 60,000-seat venue was in light of concerns weekday public transport services might not cope with additional commuters to the stadium.

A 40,000-seat cap was suggested but, after meetings with the Public Transport Authority, stadium management and the WACA over several days, Ms Saffioti was confident the PTA could satisfactorily service WA cricket fans and regular weekday commuters.

WA Premier Mark McGowan last week said a cap was not ideal but his government was working with stakeholders on the public transport issues.

He said it was about finding a way to stagger crowd arrivals over the day to avoid issues around transport and entry into the venue at the start of the match.

The Scorchers improved their record to 7-2 over the weekend to sit atop the BBL table, having won their past six home games at the WACA.

They now face a cut-throat semi-final on Thursday February 1 on a foreign pitch but with an extra army of fans.

The WACA can seat roughly 22,000 fans for BBL finals, while Optus Stadium's capacity for cricket events is 55,000.

The weekday cap was initially driven by the stadium's close proximity to the CBD and the unfinished footbridge from the city to the venue.

WACA CEO Christina Matthews was thrilled the association achieved an outcome that pleased both stakeholders and fans.

"We now look forward to meeting the task of selling out the semi-final and ensuring the Scorchers ... play in front of a capacity crowd."

The WACA boss last week expressed little concern about a full capacity crowd at Optus Stadium for the double-header.

"The history of cricket crowds is that they come early for the match and we feel that if we probably did the right kind of communications they would do that knowingly," she said.

"If you give people notice they make arrangements and they're prepared for it. We're absolutely sure that a solution can be found, particularly with the times we know the games are going to be played."

Last week's transport conundrum came on the back of revelations earlier this month that Uber and other ride-sharing drivers had been banned from servicing Optus Stadium patrons, with a cab rank next to the new arena for registered taxis only.

Opposition transport spokesperson Liza Harvey praised Tuesday's announcement but said the state government should also allow ride-sharing services at the stadium to help limit congestion.

"The government needs to remove impediments for getting people to the stadium, not put roadblocks in place," she said.

"It is important they now expand the transport options available to people going to the Scorchers final."

Optus Stadium has a dedicated train station and bus services for general attendance but no major carpark - except for premium ticket holders - leaving public transport and taxis the only sure way for fans to enter and exit the stadium precinct.

Scorchers star Ashton Agar echoed the sentiment in the WA camp when he said he was pumped to play at the new stadium.

"It's so exciting to think about and we are itching to get over there," he said after his side's latest win.

"We love the WACA and we are pumped to play the last game here, but the new stadium is pretty impressive and we'll have a great time there."

A capacity crowd is expected for the first-ever one-day international at the new stadium when Australia plays England on January 28, but that event is on a Sunday when transport services aren't clogged by weekday CBD workers.

Tickets for next Thursday's BBL semi-final will go on sale this Thursday January 25, commencing with Perth Scorchers Members pre-sale at 10am and General Public on-sale at 1pm.

This story Full house approved for Scorchers final at Perth Stadium first appeared on The Age.