Matthew Theunissen is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Cricket: Three-hour game, 45-min beer queues and $8.50 hot dogs

Pakistan fans cheer during the Twenty20 match between New Zealand and Pakistan. Photo / Photosport
Pakistan fans cheer during the Twenty20 match between New Zealand and Pakistan. Photo / Photosport

Eden Park's new boss acknowledges mistakes were made by the organisers of Friday night's T20 clash between New Zealand and Pakistan.

Punters reported waiting in queues up to 60m long for more than 45 minutes to get a beer, while the $45 general admission and $8.50 hot dogs left others out of pocket.

Aucklander Mike Mossman said he missed nearly half the New Zealand innings waiting in a queue for beer.

"The park's all good and since they've done the stadium it's amazing. But to me, if you're going to an event over watching it at home on Sky... it just makes it frustratingly hard and it detracts from the whole experience," he said. "For the money, I'm not sure it's worth it."

More vented on social media, while others jumped to the stadium's defence. "I have enjoyed every time I have been there, I go there to watch the games not to eat and drink.

"Some of the time I have got a drink and I was prepared to wait ... " said John Vuletich.

Eden Park chief executive Guy Ngata accepted things didn't go as well as they could have.

"We do apologise and we acknowledge some people may have spent more time in queues than they would have wanted."

He said the 22,000-strong crowd was bigger than had been anticipated. The ground had also been serving tap beer for the first time during the game, which may have contributed to delays.

Eden Park representatives would speak with beer supplier DB about this issue. "We're always trying to improve - that's our goal and it's certainly not our intention to have people dissatisfied at our events," Ngata said.

It comes about three weeks before Eden Park hosts the NRL Auckland Nines. Organiser Martin Snedden, of Duco Events, said ticket sales looked likely to reach 35,000 for the two-day event. This was on par with last year's Nines.

Despite criticism, he said New Zealand's live sporting events were "right up there".

"The two biggest events we've had in recent years were the Rugby World Cup and the Cricket World Cup and I think there was overwhelming satisfaction from both of those events."

However, it was becoming more difficult for organisers to compete with the television.

"It forces organisers to concentrate much more on the quality of the experience that the person gets inside the stadium, because for most of these events, staying at home, sitting on the couch and watching on TV is a viable option. So, you've got to provide a quality of experience inside the stadium that makes people feel 'well, that was worth the effort'."

Organisers of the Wellington Rugby Sevens, meanwhile, report that ticket sales are "a little bit slower than we had hoped" for the January 30-31 event.

"Every event organiser wants to put out the 'sold out' sign, but it's more difficult for us now to sell tickets so we've made a lot of changes over the last year - we've now got seven different price categories and tickets are cheaper than they've ever been before," said tournament general manager Steve Dunbar.

If star player Sonny Bill Williams was named to play, Dunbar had no doubt there would be a spike in sales.

- Herald on Sunday

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