Waving Goodbye? Fans Will Decide

Rather than jumping up and waving about, well, jumping up and waving, lovers of the Mexican wave can easily look at alternatives to the MCG’s ban.

It’s not the wave itself that causes the problem – the wave is a fun example of the possibilities of spontaneous voluntary co-operation between thousands of people. Management could target the real problem – people throwing projectiles in to the air, disguised by everyone else’s fun.

It would be relatively simple to do so. Bags could be searched upon entry, and anything that could be thrown confiscated, including, presumably, the bags themselves. Food and drink – instant projectiles – would not be sold at the ground. The probably mythical cup of urine would be impossible with a ban on cups.

Security guards and video cameras could identify the culprits.

This method would be costly, and intrusive. Fans might not be happy with paying dramatically higher ticket prices and then being told they cannot bring a drink bottle into the stadium, and once inside have to go hungry.

How important is the wave to enjoyment of cricket? If it is the difference between having fun and not having fun, fans could set up a competing stadium where the wave is allowed. This is a high-cost strategy as well, but entrepreneurs who sense this unfulfilled demand could make a huge amount of money supplying it.

This may seem flippant but it happens all the time in a market economy. When companies stop providing what people enjoy, competitors fill the gap. Private schooling, for instance, has arisen out of dissatisfaction with public education.

If the MCG has imposed too harsh a rule on fans, then they will stop going and start looking for alternatives. The MCG is betting that the new rule will instead increase attendance.

Ultimately, the fans will decide whether the wave should be allowed.