India news March 28, 2012

World Cup final was not sold out


The 2011 World Cup final in Mumbai may have been the hottest ticket in town, with reports of individual tickets selling for as much as $10,000 on the black market, but according to the Mumbai Cricket Association, the final was not actually sold out. A report prepared by the association shows that 405 tickets remained unsold, ESPNcricinfo understands. These include 96 tickets in the Sunil Gavaskar stand (lower) at a cost of Rs 1,500 ($30) each. The total value of the unsold tickets was Rs 73.4 lakhs (approx $144,000).

The news that the association was not able to sell all its tickets comes as a surprise given prior reports of the match being sold out and the thriving black market that arose around the game. A day before the final, even RR Patil, the home minister for Maharashtra state, said "all the tickets have been sold".

When contacted by ESPNcricinfo, Ratnakar Shetty, the tournament director for the event and a current vice-president of the MCA, said "this is not something we need to discuss" with the media and that the issue would be dealt with by the association's managing committee, which is scheduled to meet on March 31. He added that the members of the association were responsible people and that they would deal with the situation.

The MCA's report shows that a total of 31,118 tickets were up for sale, though only about 4000 of those were available to the general public because the association was contractually obligated to offer tickets to the ICC and its member clubs. In all, the sale of tickets realised Rs 22.89 crores (approx $4.5 million). The game, which India won in spectacular fashion when captain MS Dhoni hit Nuwan Kulasekara for six, was also watched on television by 134.5 million Indians, according to TAM Sports, a television ratings agency.

Ticketing was a controversial issue throughout the World Cup. Police in Bangalore conducted a baton-charge on fans queuing up for tickets for the India-England group game. The 7000 tickets were sold out within three hours, officials said, leaving hundreds of fans - many of whom had queued up overnight - angry and disappointed.

Demand for tickets for the final soared to the point that the official ticketing website - - crashed amid a scramble for the 1,000 tickets that were offered online. At one stage, the website had 500,000 concurrent users trying to buy tickets to the World Cup final.

Many fans also complained about not receiving tickets they had bought online and the ICC was eventually moved to ask its president Sharad Pawar to intervene. A letter written to Pawar by David Becker, the ICC's legal head, and published by the Indian channel NDTV, warned of the growing discontent among the ICC's commercial partners over tournament tickets due to them and the possible financial fallout.

An ICC spokesperson did not want to comment on the matter of unsold tickets, however, saying that it would not be "appropriate for us to comment on the ticket allocation of MCA or BCCI". However, following the World Cup the ICC did appoint consultancy firm KPMG to conduct "an independent review of the ticketing process in order to determine whether proper controls existed for the allocation, distribution and accounting for all tickets so as to avoid in future the allegations of 'black market' selling of tickets".

According to an executive summary of KPMG's report, the scope of the review covered the ticketing operations of the ICC, official tour operators and Kyazoonga. It did not, therefore, cover distribution of tickets through local cricket associations.

While the report did not unearth evidence suggesting that the ICC, official tour operators or Kyazoonga were responsible for black marketing of tickets, it did state that the ICC needed to make sure that sufficient tickets were available to the public in the future and that there should be "central control and management of tickets [and] better record keeping."

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • anu on March 29, 2012, 5:59 GMT

    what's the big deal about this for it to be made a news item with headlinee?........

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2012, 23:00 GMT

    I'm not sure which is more disgraceful - the fact that 405 tickets were unsold for a World Cup Final, or that it took 362 days for this news to be made public.

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2012, 20:18 GMT

    Ticketing has been pathetic. We bought 6 tickets to the IPL cricket match which was cancelled because of bomb scare the previous day. Money was not refunded. And the company (Ticket Genie) would not respond. There needs to be overall transparency when it comes to distribution of tickets. It is very tough to procure a ticket unless you know someone who is from the cricket associations.

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    Ok "World Cup final was not sold out" .. so what ? why are we creating News out of it. Let it be. Do not create controversies out of everything.

  • allie on March 28, 2012, 19:19 GMT

    The same damn thing will happen again in 2016 ICC WT20 in India I am sure of that

  • Abhishek on March 28, 2012, 18:15 GMT

    I was there at the WC final in the Vijay Merchant stand. The last row had a lot of empty seats.. but those tickets ideally should be sold.. Since half the ground is covered by the stand above and you see only half the ground... Those are really pathetic seats with 50% of the view blocked... I think a lot of people would have been unhappy if they had those tickets...

  • sowmi on March 28, 2012, 17:59 GMT

    compared to a capacity of 33,000, 405 seats seems rather insignificant. If India had lost the match I dont know how 33,000 can cause a riot where 32,595 cant. Rioting has nothing to do with 400 seats. Certainly this is not due to some safety issue.

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    this in unbelievable there are cheap tickets too there and i wanted to watch this WC in Mumbai ,India in Final . I think they were many like me who wanted to go but couldn't . OK mistakes happen now it needs to be made sure such doesn't happen again .Its a proud moment we won the world cup and will always be

  • Arvind on March 28, 2012, 17:25 GMT

    thanks BCCI and ICC. you do keep doing a good job of reminding us that we do not matter. i wouldnt trust most of you to make a coffee...let alone run my favourite sport.

  • SHASHIDHAR on March 28, 2012, 16:41 GMT

    It Really hurts every indian. When India are in final, Tickets are not sold out means BCCI should feel shame for that. People are attracted towards T-20 match & IPl.

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