Ashes Ticket sale breaks hearts and records

Cricket Australia sold more than 180,000 Ashes tickets in the first eight hours of trading, but the surge created by the Australian Cricket Family blocked online systems and telephone switchboards to leave many supporters empty-handed and angry. While hopeful buyers continually refreshed their browsers throughout the day, the first seat allocation in Sydney was snapped up by midday as ten seats sold every second.

The first three days at Adelaide have also gone for the first time since West Indies toured in 1975-76, and the same response was expected at the WACA by the end of trading. Fans were encouraged by Cricket Australia to register for the so-called family in order to jump the queue, but those wanting to attend the Test in Sydney will have to wait for the general release on June 19 to try again. Almost 130,000 people registered for the priority scheme and despite Cricket Australia trumpeting the massive demand, the Ticketmaster and Ticketek sites were constantly down or busy throughout the day.

Supporters who missed out have described the system as a "fiasco" and a "farce". "I became part of the Australian Cricket Family, but feel like a stepchild," Chris Flaherty said. "At age 53, do you think I'm too old to be adopted by a nicer family?" wrote Jillian Mitchell.

"I am absolutely devastated and near tears," Cindy Gibbins said. "I was on the phone from 9.01am to 3.11pm and am still trying to get through. I want two tickets to the first day of the first Test, which is a tradition for my father and I."

A Cricket Australia spokeswoman said the sales were the fastest for any season. "There have been some delays in some cities during the ticket sales process because of the demand," a Cricket Australia spokeswoman said. "Cricket Australia thanks Australian Cricket Family members for their patience and perseverance."

More than 20,000 seats were still available at 5pm for Boxing Day, with 43,000 already sold at the MCG on a frantic day. In Brisbane there were expectations of a total crowd of 150,000 for the first Test, which would be almost 60,000 more than the record achieved in the 1932-33 Bodyline series. By 3pm 34,000 tickets had been snapped up for day one, with only 2000 remaining for the opening exchanges on November 23.

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