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World Cup 2011

The mystery of the missing tickets

Sharda Ugra in Delhi

February 18, 2011

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Bangladesh fans queue for World Cup tickets, Dhaka, January 3, 2011
Bangladesh cricket fans queue for tickets when they went on sale in January © Getty Images

The mystery about India's missing World Cup tickets is solved: most of the tickets are still lying with the host associations who have spent the months in the run-up to the World Cup trying to perfect their balancing act due to their varied means of ticket distribution.

Of eight Indian venues, the first few games have finally been put out for sale but elsewhere, there is a lack of order. Chennai, venue for the first of the Cup matches in India, New Zealand v Kenya on Sunday, began selling tickets early while Motera began selling tickets for Monday's Australia v Zimbabwe game on February 15. Officials in Delhi said tickets for the South Africa v West Indies game on Thursday would go up for sale "in a day or two."

Mumbai's first match, Canada v New Zealand, will be held on March 13, with Mumbai Cricket Association's honorary secretary Lalchand Rajput saying that public sale of tickets would begin a week before the game.

In Kolkata, the focus at the moment is on accepting the fact that the India v England match has actually been shifted out of the Eden Gardens. Ticket distribution is now focussed on handing out the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB)'s large share of their quota tickets amongst members and affiliate clubs, a practice which is also common in Mumbai. "There is no panic now," said an official in Kolkata, "because there aren't going to be fist-fights at the counter." And Punjab Cricket Association said tickets for matches in Mohali would go on sale from February 21, "including for the semi-final."

Vindarbha Cricket Assocation officials said that the only match of significance that will be held in Nagpur is India v South Africa, and the ticket counters will open on March 5. "There is hardly any takers for the first match between England and Netherlands on February 22 except probably for the Barmy Army," a VCA official said. According to him the contest between Australia and New Zealand has found more attention.

This lopsidedness in ticket sales had been caused, an ICC event organiser said, "because the World Cup has been treated like a bilateral series with the local associations controlling everything." He said there was "no single central leadership" or organisation in the World Cup ticketing. "It is why there are so many complaints about tickets not being distributed, not enough information given about when they are up for sale or where."

The ICC's own quota for tickets per match is specific: it receives 1270 free tickets of which 1000 are given to sponsors, with the remaining 270 divided between the two teams (125 each) and match officials. The ICC said it could then also avail of an additional 250 hospitality seats but pay for its own catering and then had access to 2450 tickets that it could purchase for distribution amongst sponsors (2000) and member boards (450). The ICC's maximum quota per match equalls just under 4000 tickets.

A certain percentage of tickets have also gone on sale online at the Kyazoonga website. The website had access to tickets that ranged from the minimum of five percent of ground capacity to 50 percent of ground capacity, as in Bangalore. The 'ground capacity' also includes all the quotas by the state associations and not just those up for public sale.

Of these, tickets booked online for games in Delhi, Mohali and Mumbai have not yet been received by the website, which has therefore been unable to ship them out. A Kyazoonga spokesperson said they are now waiting for a green signal from the ICC to put the tickets for the knock out round for sale online.

The demands for tickets, Kyazoonga says, has centred around India's three main matches - versus England, South Africa and the West Indies - and the knock-out matches. The rest of the ticket sales have been poor with Gujarat Cricket Association treasurer Dhiraj Jogani saying that only 2000-3000 tickets had been sold for its first two group matches - Australia v Zimbabwe and New Zealand v Zimbabwe.

"We are optimistic that on match day morning, people will buy tickets at the gate and walk in because that's what usually happens in Motera," he said. For the first two games, he said there would be as many as 25,000 tickets sold in the cheaper denominations between Rs 100, Rs 150 and Rs 800.

In complete contrast to the lack of order of India's World Cup ticketing, is the Bangladesh example. Tickets for every single game in Bangladesh, which were available online, are already sold out.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 4 
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Posted by Dummy4 on (February 19, 2011, 4:04 GMT)

Sad but true. I think d BCCI should hav taken things into its hand rather than leaving everything to d local associations. That way there wud b a central organisation & ticketing sales can b easily done. nevertheless i dont think there wud b empty stands. more tickets wud b sold during match days i'm sure.

Posted by Hammad on (February 18, 2011, 23:45 GMT)

why india hosting so many games as much as double bangladesh+srilanka .....who both have been better prepared to host world cup. not like in kolkata and now the ticket mess.

Posted by Ryo on (February 18, 2011, 22:15 GMT)

I honestly hope empty stadiums aren't a hallmark of this world cup. If needs be open the tickets up half price after the first 25 overs if the stadium is less than half full.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 18, 2011, 21:20 GMT)

Amazing that a major sporting event could have such a mess for ticket distribution. India's empty stadia are going to be more proof that it just doesn't care, as long as it cashes the check.

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