India v West Indies, 2nd Test, Mumbai November 11, 2013

Ticket sales fiasco leaves fans in lurch


The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has decided to sell tickets for Sachin Tendulkar's farewell Test online and not at ticket counters at the venue, which has left a lot of fans disappointed. To compound problems, the highly sought-after tickets were available only on Monday, three days before the start of the match, making it difficult for fans from outside Mumbai to make plans for the Test.

On Sunday, a MCA press release stated that 3500 tickets would be distributed to the public through the website from 11 am on Monday. However, the website crashed as soon as it opened, again raising questions over why the MCA didn't sell at least some of the tickets offline.

The MCA's logic was that there would have been chaos had they sold tickets at the venue, due to the heavy demand. "Who says tickets were not put on sale?" Ravi Savant, a MCA vice-president told ESPNcricinfo. "We have certain channels through which tickets find their way to the members of public. There is a commitment that we give tickets first to our clubs, then the gymkhanas and then the Garware Club House. These clubs then in turn sell it to their members, who are members of the public.

"Instead of opening five windows outside the ground, these are our windows."

When asked about fans without an internet connection having no opportunity of getting tickets, Savant said he could understand their issue but MCA could not satisfy every fan's demand. "If the capacity is 30,000 and the demand is 30 lakhs I cannot give tickets to everyone. Also if I say I am releasing 5000 tickets to the public through our ticket windows and there are 50,000 people who turn out and there is chaos, what I should do? And even if I had put 30,000 tickets, there would always be a heavy demand."

Window sales have always been a contentious issue for international matches at Wankhede, which has a capacity of 32,000. The MCA, as per their agreements with the Garware Club House and Tatas, have to hand over almost 13,000 tickets to the two organisations. Besides, they also have to cater to other BCCI units, BCCI sponsors, their own sponsors and the state government, which has leased the land of the stadium to MCA. Add to that 25 tickets being distributed to each of MCA's 329 affiliated clubs at subsidised rate and 500 tickets to be handed over to Tendulkar for his farewell Test, and the MCA could only manage to sell 5000 tickets directly to paying public.

Of these 5000 tickets, 1500 were being sold as hospitality tickets ­ on the upper tier of the Sachin Tendulkar Stand ­ considering the high demand from overseas fans. Priced at Rs 10,000 per ticket, these tickets are being sold on a first-come-first-served basis based on applications MCA has been receiving. The remaining 3500 tickets are supposed to be sold via kyazoonga.

According to Savant, kyazoonga officials had assured MCA the glitch with the website would be resolved soon and that online sales would re-start quickly. Only tickets priced at Rs 500, 1000 and 2500 were being sold via the internet. "We had given the contract to sell online tickets to an agency but due to some problems with the website the sale had to be stalled," Savant said. "The problem is being repaired and we have been assured it will restart soon."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo; Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • BALASUBRAMANIAN on November 14, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    What I had written in this thread, two days back about complimentary passes likely to be black marketed, has after all come true. Today's news on the electronic media reports touts black marketing complimentary passes at abnormal prices ranging upto 10K Rs. The VVIPs should enjoy the match free of cost, while the cricket loving public should pay through their nose. WAH BHAI WAH!! Now we know why this much hype & all other blah blah were created

  • Dummy4 on November 13, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    The site crashed when they put 2011 World Cup tickets too. At that time also, for the final, they released only 5000 tickets to public, out of that only around 2000 or 3000 were available online.

  • Sumit on November 13, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    The way the paying public is treated by Indian cricket adminsitrators is disgusting & sad - but also thoroughly deserved & in large measure, self inflicted by the masses. It is only because of the herd mentality & blind hero worshipping nature of Indian fans that BCCI marketing machine holds such enormous clout & can act with such unbelievable arrogance - like only 3500 out of 30,000 tcikets will be sold to paying public, rest are for the cozy elite. In any other country , paying public would not take this lying down - & simply pull the plug on this sham by tuning off cricket itself. Unfortunately in India, the hapless fellows who suffer in fruitless ticket lines are also the same guys who keep this inane hype like "cricket is my religion" etc alive - something that the BCCI marketing machine then cannily monetizes into the arrogant clout that comes back to ultimately bite it's foot soliders.

  • Dummy4 on November 13, 2013, 5:03 GMT

    Much ado about nothing! How many people go and watch a 5-day test match? In this case, some may want to go, not because they are connoisseurs of cricket; but for making a brownie point that, "I was there", to friends, relatives and to their grand children, years from now. Now, if they really didn't want to go, they got a good excuse as to how and why their great plans "to be part of history" was thwarted by Kyazoonga!

    But Kyazoonka also have a ready repartee, "Kya doonga, hum (what can we give); when we, any way, didn't have much to give?

  • Richard on November 12, 2013, 23:25 GMT

    Harmony111, everybody in the cricket world knows that Tests in India have been poorly attended for decades, the 'technical reasons' you suggest are simply not enough bums to sit on the seats because, generally, not many can be bothered. And, since you ask, my experiences of turning up to watch Test cricket in India and talk to Indian fans confirm this.

    Now there's a little chance to be one of the few who can say, 'I was there for SRT's last match', you're going bananas about maladministration which a child could have predicted. I'm merely asking, where were you for the first 199 (or at least the home matches of the 199)? I may well have seen SRT play more Tests than you.

  • ESPN on November 12, 2013, 15:57 GMT

    30000 seats if sold 30000*5 days willget 150000 fans opertunity , why sell one ticket for 5 days in such scenario.

  • Dummy4 on November 12, 2013, 14:34 GMT

    Heard the latest, in the Cocktail circles in Mumbai? "The best corporate gift for this holiday season is a ticket to the next Test Match at Wankhede! Or, a pair if you are a couple", Flaunting that gift ticket will be a status symbol for a while !

  • Android on November 12, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    @Kollis Smith - Mate rather than SRT scoring 10 against Windies, I would have rather seen him get out to a Dale Steyn that's my point. Plus I believe after watching SRT's gutsy innings at Lahili on a green pitch, he definitely would have hit at least 75-80 runs in SA.. May b u din't see that innings so u might not agree with me. @Joe_Anthony - Mate agreed he should have retired post 2011 WC but now that he continued, he definitely shld have finished his career against SA. He started his career against an awesome Pak bowling line up & shld have ended with SA's awesome bowling line up after getting some valuable runs. @Thedreamer - Buddy everyone knows that SRT wanted to travel to SA so this wasn't entirely his decision but won't disagree with u that he is a selfish person but has won & saved us a lot of games so in the end he should have gone gracefully..

  • Ramesh on November 12, 2013, 12:19 GMT

    I partly agree with Surajrises. Sachin should have played against SA and helped the team regain No.1 rankings. But it wasn't BCCI's fault for him not playing the SA series, the fault lies on himself. He should not have retired after the 200th Test, but rather should have made himself available for THE series, which he didn't. A tad selfish, maybe? And honestly, does Mumbai deserve to host his farewell match considering that they jeered their very son some years back. Chepauk would have been a better venue than Wankhede given his success in that venue.

  • Ramesh on November 12, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    I partly agree with Surajrises. Sachin should have played against SA and helped the team regain No.1 rankings. But it wasn't BCCI's fault for him not playing the SA series, the fault lies on himself. He should not have retired after the 200th Test, but rather should have made himself available for THE series, which he didn't. A tad selfish, maybe?