Channel Nine network has dumped Wednesday\'s cricket tri-series game between India and Sri Lanka.
Perth: With the crowd refusing to fill stadiums around Australia for one-day matches, broadcasters Channel Nine network has dumped Wednesday's cricket tri-series game between India and Sri Lanka here onto its digital channel Gem.
Nine did not want to interrupt its regular programming to show Wednesday's match but said matches involving Australia would be back on television.
Nine's executive producer of cricket Brad McNamara said the moving the India-Sri Lanka match to 'Gem' was an experiment which may be repeated for the remainder of the series involving the two countries.
"We just have to see how it goes," McNamara said.
He claimed that there was still enormous interest when Australia play, citing Sunday night's rain-marred match in Melbourne which had a total peak ratings of 2.5 million.
"It's amongst the best ratings of the summer along with last week's Twenty20 internationals, Boxing Day and Michael Clarke's triple century during the Sydney Test," McNamara was quoted as saying by News Limited newspapers.
CA would prefer the match on Nine to be accessible to more people, although McNamara claimed digital now has a penetration of more than 90 percent.
"We understand the so-called neutral games have nowhere near the audience of Australian matches," CA spokesman Peter Young said.
Friday's (March 10) match here between Australia and Sri Lanka is struggling to sell out despite the WACA Ground holding just 18,000, which includes 11,000 public seats.
While Adelaide is hopeful of a full house in the home side's match against India on February 12, the game between Australia and Sri Lanka in Sydney on February 17 is selling poorly with just 7300 tickets sold till now.
This, however, contrasts with the match between India and Australia on March 24, which is doing better than expected due to the strong Indian community there, with more than 20,000 of the 28,000 tickets already gone.