Lord’s lost to the Oval for organizing the 2023 World Test Championship final due to contractual complications.
The game, which was to be played in early June, immediately before the five games of the Ashes series, had long been scheduled at the “Home of Cricket”. But contractual complications have allowed the Oval to swoop in and the venue is expected to be confirmed this week.
The International Cricket Council requires complete control over billboards and marketing for the events it runs, while Lord’s business deals rely on advertisers gaining exposure in two tests per year.
The favorites to reach the final are Australia, which leads the 2021-23 edition of the World Test Championship. If they qualify, they would face a grueling six-game test schedule in seven weeks in England.
South Africa, India and Pakistan are also realistic contenders to qualify for the final. England’s terrible run up to this summer means they have no chance of qualifying regardless of how they fare during the three games of the test series in Pakistan in December.
Staging the second edition of the championship final – the first was at the Ageas Bowl in 2021, when New Zealand defeated India – and the first to be played without restrictions on audience size due to Covid, will be a big hit for the Oval.
The camp is eager to host as many high-profile crickets as possible and is always on the lookout for potential events to add to England’s only home test it organizes each year.
The field’s strong track record of attracting full houses for non-England matches during the 2017 Champions Trophy and 2019 World Cup will give hope that it will attract a large crowd for the match.
While the qualifiers for India would be particularly useful for marketers, the organizers are hoping that London’s diverse population and the importance of the match mean that an exceptional crowd will be in attendance regardless of the finalists.
The test will include a spare day in the event of a lost game, to maximize the chances of a positive result.
The Oval staging the final would have a ripple effect on the England Test against Ireland, which will be played in early June. A number of other terrains, most notably the Ageas Bowl, were hoping to stage it, but is now likely to be played at Lord’s instead, which, like the Oval, will also host an Ashes Test.
Unlike an ICC event such as the World Test Championship final, Lord’s would be free to abide by its normal England home test marketing arrangements. The Test Against Ireland will be the start of an exceptional seven-test sequence in two months in England next summer, with the sequence completed before the start of the Hundred in early August.