November 2, 2011

India needs to get bums on seats

The poor turnouts, now even for ODIs, are worrying, and those with a stake in the game cannot sit back thinking TV rights will take care of everything
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It is now well established that we have seen the first signs of viewer fatigue towards cricket in India, and towards one-day cricket at that (crowds for Test matches have been low for a long time now).

To be fair to the BCCI, I think the low turnouts for the India-England one-day games took all of us by surprise. This is the first time in the history of modern Indian cricket that low attendances have become an issue - something I thought would never happen in my lifetime. It will be interesting to see what view the board takes of this and how it reacts.

The first Formula 1 race in India was last week, and it served as a reminder that the country is changing, and changing rapidly. It is something everyone invested in Indian cricket should take note of.

We all know excessive cricket is the singular reason for the indifference we see today from fans, but with the FTP already in motion and all boards committed to it, it would be unrealistic to expect administrators to suddenly cut down on the volume of cricket so as to get fans to look forward to an international game, as opposed to making international cricket available to them all the time. In an ideal world there should have been no India-West Indies series, or for that matter the five-match one-day series against England.

Imagine the fan interest if India were seen in action after a gap of two months, in Australia. That would also have meant more time for India to prepare for that tour, and presumably better cricket. The obvious cutting down on quantity for increased quality may come about a few years from now but not in the near future.

What, then, is the next best thing that can be done to bring crowds to grounds? The immediate, and toughest, challenge is the upcoming India-West Indies series. At least there won't be the excuse of surprise here. We know the fans will not be queuing up for this one. The obvious simple solution is to slash ticket prices, or even make entry to the Tests free, to make sure the stands are not embarrassingly empty.

The administrators have a stroke of luck here. Sachin Tendulkar has declared himself available for the Tests against West Indies. What better incentive for the fans to come to the ground than to watch their hero get his 100th international hundred? That would be the centrepiece of my marketing agenda for the first Test: "Watch the legend in flesh and blood as he creates history." Sure, every fan knows about this imminent landmark, but Indian cricket administrators cannot take it for granted anymore that people will turn up by the busload to watch it. They still need to be enticed. A gift - a small memento of the occasion - to every fan who came to the ground, saying "I was there when it happened", would not be a bad idea.

Low turnouts also do great damage to cricket as a TV product. TV viewers get put off when they see empty stands in the background; they take it as an indication that what they are watching is not that fancy. I wonder if TV companies communicate their anxiety about empty stands to the cricket boards, for that sort of image does terrible damage to their efforts of hyping a cricket event.

Lalit Modi was an exception among Indian administrators in that he took personal pride in staging BCCI events. He considered a low turnout for an IPL game a slap on the face

I am not a big Lalit Modi fan, but this is where you have to take your hat off to the man. In the second year of the IPL, when it had to be moved to South Africa, I don't know what Modi did, but it was unbelievable to see big crowds at South African grounds, watching what was essentially an Indian tournament. Modi was an exception among Indian administrators in that he took personal pride in staging BCCI events. He considered a low turnout for an IPL game a slap on the face. No wonder you had people thronging to watch the IPL.

I have seen Sri Lanka Cricket being indifferent to a handful of people watching a Sri Lanka v South Africa game at the SSC. And there are a few other boards that sit back and relax after receiving their TV rights money. We see daily on television how channels desperately promote their shows, trying to drum up viewership. The time has come for local cricket associations to do the same to bring fans back in large numbers to the grounds.

In England and Australia, watching cricket is, for the fans, a tradition in many ways, and that is an important reason why those countries have managed decent crowds over the years. Other cricket boards could look at their formula and maybe tweak things around a bit. I know this is easier said than done.

I remember commentating at a triangular tournament played in Morocco few years back. (Yes, Morocco.) The organisers there did a very interesting thing. They knew they were not going to get too many locals coming to the stadium to watch the matches, as the event was only stage-managed for TV. To make it attractive for TV, they needed crowds to fill up the ground, and to achieve that, they had raffles after the game, where TVs and other gadgets were given away as prizes to fans whose match tickets bore lucky numbers. There were at least 10,000 Moroccans who had no idea what they were watching on the field but stayed on well after the presentation ceremony. Why? For the raffle.

I am not suggesting that needs to be done in India yet, but because those managing the Morocco event had a personal stake in its success, there was a concerted effort to attract spectators to the grounds.

The bottom line is, if board officials around the world are affected personally, like, say, a shopkeeper is when people don't give him their custom, there are things they can do to get the crowds in. The grounds may not be choc a bloc for Test matches (the timings there are a major hurdle) but at least we can make sure that a Test match does not become a place young couples head to for a little quiet and privacy.

Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar is a cricket commentator and presenter on TV. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | November 5, 2011, 0:59 GMT

    I think the reason for lack of crowds is mostly the fault of the individual Board organizing the game & BCCI - because these two are the sales & marketing groups.When a business is run, you do publicity to sell your goods - There are commercials, attractions & incentives toi entice the Fans to come over and watch the game. What has happened is the organizers are taking it for granted that the Fans would turn up somehow by magic. They have neglected the facilities, conviniences & incentives while boosting up the Ticket prices wildly to make more money.In America -baseball, the facilities are top class (clean toilets, all sorts of food, ice cream, drinks, etc).On top of this,there are freebees such as free Pizza on achieving certain milestones, free tea shirts, caps, frisbees, etc. for first few thousands, etc Do the organizers in India ever go the extra mile to sell tickets? None of the above exist.On top of this too many IPL games + international fixtures.How do you expect crowds?

  • POSTED BY InnocentGuy on | November 4, 2011, 19:55 GMT

    Play too much cricket, and in the process kill all other sports. Ultimately all sports in India will die. :) No Olympic medals, no world-cups, no sporting glory ever.

  • POSTED BY on | November 4, 2011, 15:57 GMT

    people turn out only 2 see cricket...they dont even care about hockey, boxing, football or other sports...too much of cricket is not good...evry month there is some series...if this continues cricket will lose its importance...that makes me feel scared...

  • POSTED BY UNIVERSAL_CRICKETER on | November 4, 2011, 15:44 GMT

    BCCI WANTS ALL THE GOLDEN EGGS AT ONCE.....NATURALLY THAT WILL KILL THE GOOSE.....WHO WANTS TO LEAVE HIS WORK & WATCH SO MUCH MEANINGLESS CRICKET MATCHES 24x7x365........WHY WILL ONE LEAVE THE COMFORT OF HIS AC ROOM STOCKED WITH HOME COOKED REFRESHMENTS...CLEAN BATHROOMS...UNLIMITED REPLAYS FROM 18 CAMERAS...NO PARKING HASSLES...NO HARASSMENTS IN THE NAME OF MULTIPLE SECURITY CHECKS.... NO RESTRICTIONS ON KEEPING YOUR OWN COLD DRINKS, SNACKS, LUNCH BOX, APPETIZERS, WATER BOTTLES WITH YOU...INSTEAD OF BUYING UNHYGIENIC FOOD & PLASTICS WATER PACKETS AT EXORBITANT PRICES FROM INSANELY OVER-CROWDED WOODEN STALLS...NO FILTHY TOILETS JAM PACKED LIKE THE GENERAL COACHES OF INDIAN RAILWAYS......AT STADIUMS,THERE ARE NO ARRANGEMENTS FOR KEEPING EVEN HELMETS LET ALONE CAMERAS, BAGS ETC. ..EITHER THROW THEM OR THE TICKETS.......EARLIER THE CROWDS WERE MORE KNOWLEDGEABLE & DISCIPLINED...IT USED TO BE A PICNIC LIKE ATMOSPHERE AT THE STADIUM.. NOW ITS A OVER-PRICED MULTIPLEX...ESP. EDEN GARDEN

  • POSTED BY ParamIyer on | November 4, 2011, 2:14 GMT

    Hi Sanjay,

    Well said and well worded. I was very surprised to see such a low turnout especially for the ODI's. It was partly due to too much cricket and partly due to the high ticket prices. The minimum price in Mumbai was a 1000 Rs. for East Stand which is not the best stand to watch a game and went up to Rs. 4000 odd for the North and other stands. The boards should price intelligently. People would also love to watch test matches but the horrible scheduling prevents them. Matches start on Sunday and end on Thursday or start on Tuesday and end on Saturday. In these times, very few can skip office and afford a day off for cricket. Like in england and australia, they should have matches starting thursday or friday.

  • POSTED BY on | November 4, 2011, 0:26 GMT

    Good to see comments being posted on costly tickets, no food allowed inside the stadium, no binoculars, no water bottles, and in Jamtha near Nagpur there are no hotels outside where you can eat- only eat whats there at the ground at UNBELIEVABLY HIGH prices. Sit in the blazing sun for 5 days without food after blowing away your month's salary buying the highly costly tickets going 16 km away from the city everyday, (and 25 km away from home at least) to watch a test, where the Opposition will pile on runs after runs 558/6 and defeat your side by an Innings. Wow...

  • POSTED BY on | November 3, 2011, 18:35 GMT

    Agreed with the point that stadiums need to be people-friendly . I've watched a lot of matches (domestic & International) at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Hyderabad, and to be honest, the experience hasn't been the best. Young audience will not find it difficult to adjust but what about people a little older than me ? Foe example, my dad has vowed to not watch a match at that stadium since they do not allow any food or liquid from outside to be taken inside. Even though its understandable, overpricing of food and basic necessity like water is a big turn off. Nobody would want to visit a place which robs you off more than you can imagine. It's like they do us a favour by hosting a match !!

  • POSTED BY on | November 3, 2011, 15:07 GMT

    The costs for Test matches are too high. They even charge full for a five year kid. I am keen on making my son (who loves Cricket) follow Test matches and what better than taking him to the grounds. But the costs are prohibitive. Of course, the facilities offered for the cost are abysmal.

    Hope this Ind-England series comes as an eye opener for the authorities and they do something about it.

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | November 3, 2011, 14:55 GMT

    Sanjay, isn't it obvious that I won't give a dime to a person who doesn't want to earn it from me? Case closed. No Dravid, no VVS can pull me to watch them in flesh when me and my family are dished out the worst of the conditions in the stadium. After all, my family and my money are much dearer to me than any Dravid or any VVS. Sachin's 100th 100??? Oh please, I couldn't care any less and there are millions like me who think like me and wouldn't step into these 'dilapidated' grounds.

  • POSTED BY on | November 3, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    We also need to get the crowds to the Ranji games as well.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | November 5, 2011, 0:59 GMT

    I think the reason for lack of crowds is mostly the fault of the individual Board organizing the game & BCCI - because these two are the sales & marketing groups.When a business is run, you do publicity to sell your goods - There are commercials, attractions & incentives toi entice the Fans to come over and watch the game. What has happened is the organizers are taking it for granted that the Fans would turn up somehow by magic. They have neglected the facilities, conviniences & incentives while boosting up the Ticket prices wildly to make more money.In America -baseball, the facilities are top class (clean toilets, all sorts of food, ice cream, drinks, etc).On top of this,there are freebees such as free Pizza on achieving certain milestones, free tea shirts, caps, frisbees, etc. for first few thousands, etc Do the organizers in India ever go the extra mile to sell tickets? None of the above exist.On top of this too many IPL games + international fixtures.How do you expect crowds?

  • POSTED BY InnocentGuy on | November 4, 2011, 19:55 GMT

    Play too much cricket, and in the process kill all other sports. Ultimately all sports in India will die. :) No Olympic medals, no world-cups, no sporting glory ever.

  • POSTED BY on | November 4, 2011, 15:57 GMT

    people turn out only 2 see cricket...they dont even care about hockey, boxing, football or other sports...too much of cricket is not good...evry month there is some series...if this continues cricket will lose its importance...that makes me feel scared...

  • POSTED BY UNIVERSAL_CRICKETER on | November 4, 2011, 15:44 GMT

    BCCI WANTS ALL THE GOLDEN EGGS AT ONCE.....NATURALLY THAT WILL KILL THE GOOSE.....WHO WANTS TO LEAVE HIS WORK & WATCH SO MUCH MEANINGLESS CRICKET MATCHES 24x7x365........WHY WILL ONE LEAVE THE COMFORT OF HIS AC ROOM STOCKED WITH HOME COOKED REFRESHMENTS...CLEAN BATHROOMS...UNLIMITED REPLAYS FROM 18 CAMERAS...NO PARKING HASSLES...NO HARASSMENTS IN THE NAME OF MULTIPLE SECURITY CHECKS.... NO RESTRICTIONS ON KEEPING YOUR OWN COLD DRINKS, SNACKS, LUNCH BOX, APPETIZERS, WATER BOTTLES WITH YOU...INSTEAD OF BUYING UNHYGIENIC FOOD & PLASTICS WATER PACKETS AT EXORBITANT PRICES FROM INSANELY OVER-CROWDED WOODEN STALLS...NO FILTHY TOILETS JAM PACKED LIKE THE GENERAL COACHES OF INDIAN RAILWAYS......AT STADIUMS,THERE ARE NO ARRANGEMENTS FOR KEEPING EVEN HELMETS LET ALONE CAMERAS, BAGS ETC. ..EITHER THROW THEM OR THE TICKETS.......EARLIER THE CROWDS WERE MORE KNOWLEDGEABLE & DISCIPLINED...IT USED TO BE A PICNIC LIKE ATMOSPHERE AT THE STADIUM.. NOW ITS A OVER-PRICED MULTIPLEX...ESP. EDEN GARDEN

  • POSTED BY ParamIyer on | November 4, 2011, 2:14 GMT

    Hi Sanjay,

    Well said and well worded. I was very surprised to see such a low turnout especially for the ODI's. It was partly due to too much cricket and partly due to the high ticket prices. The minimum price in Mumbai was a 1000 Rs. for East Stand which is not the best stand to watch a game and went up to Rs. 4000 odd for the North and other stands. The boards should price intelligently. People would also love to watch test matches but the horrible scheduling prevents them. Matches start on Sunday and end on Thursday or start on Tuesday and end on Saturday. In these times, very few can skip office and afford a day off for cricket. Like in england and australia, they should have matches starting thursday or friday.

  • POSTED BY on | November 4, 2011, 0:26 GMT

    Good to see comments being posted on costly tickets, no food allowed inside the stadium, no binoculars, no water bottles, and in Jamtha near Nagpur there are no hotels outside where you can eat- only eat whats there at the ground at UNBELIEVABLY HIGH prices. Sit in the blazing sun for 5 days without food after blowing away your month's salary buying the highly costly tickets going 16 km away from the city everyday, (and 25 km away from home at least) to watch a test, where the Opposition will pile on runs after runs 558/6 and defeat your side by an Innings. Wow...

  • POSTED BY on | November 3, 2011, 18:35 GMT

    Agreed with the point that stadiums need to be people-friendly . I've watched a lot of matches (domestic & International) at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Hyderabad, and to be honest, the experience hasn't been the best. Young audience will not find it difficult to adjust but what about people a little older than me ? Foe example, my dad has vowed to not watch a match at that stadium since they do not allow any food or liquid from outside to be taken inside. Even though its understandable, overpricing of food and basic necessity like water is a big turn off. Nobody would want to visit a place which robs you off more than you can imagine. It's like they do us a favour by hosting a match !!

  • POSTED BY on | November 3, 2011, 15:07 GMT

    The costs for Test matches are too high. They even charge full for a five year kid. I am keen on making my son (who loves Cricket) follow Test matches and what better than taking him to the grounds. But the costs are prohibitive. Of course, the facilities offered for the cost are abysmal.

    Hope this Ind-England series comes as an eye opener for the authorities and they do something about it.

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | November 3, 2011, 14:55 GMT

    Sanjay, isn't it obvious that I won't give a dime to a person who doesn't want to earn it from me? Case closed. No Dravid, no VVS can pull me to watch them in flesh when me and my family are dished out the worst of the conditions in the stadium. After all, my family and my money are much dearer to me than any Dravid or any VVS. Sachin's 100th 100??? Oh please, I couldn't care any less and there are millions like me who think like me and wouldn't step into these 'dilapidated' grounds.

  • POSTED BY on | November 3, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    We also need to get the crowds to the Ranji games as well.

  • POSTED BY on | November 3, 2011, 13:52 GMT

    Ahhh...so finally there is an article about the empty stands !! And to think that India were also winning these matches !!! Who in their right minds want to atch from the stands. BCCI will make sure you dont ever want another experience. And crowds at IPL ?? Hmmm..i think we are fooling ourselves..i think the bulk of their seats were filled up on complimenteries...they need the crowds to make a noise..so that the TV view feels good..yes, Manjeraker is abs right on that one..and i dont think many people watched the india Eng on TV either...long live BCCI who will kill this game in India...maybe not a bad thing as well....

  • POSTED BY BharatP on | November 3, 2011, 13:03 GMT

    I have been to Cricket stadium twice in my life. Once at Wankhede in 80's and then at MCG Melbourne in 90's. Needless to say - I would never ever want to go anywhere near to any Cricket stadium in India. It is a plain rip-off.

    Re: F1 - it is not a sport that ordinary people can play or relate with. Considering the carbon footprint that F1 or for that matter any motor racing event generates - it should never be encouraged or better still - banned.

    There is a huge Cricket overdose these days. I don't find it interesting enough to even watch it on Television anymore. And even if I some time I feel like watching, I am thinking - is it FIXED or not ? So, there goes any incentive to watch on TV.

  • POSTED BY LancashireHero on | November 3, 2011, 12:52 GMT

    Sanjay states 'fans in the UK go because of tradition.' This is not true at all. We go to watch competative sport in a stadium with a good atmosphere. We wouldnt go if the facilities were rubbish, it was too expensive, or the atmosphere was rubbish. The price is high at the moment, but still affordable.

    From the comments on here it sounds like the facilities need to improve and the prices drop in India. If this happens more people will come, the atmosphere will improve, and then the prices can go up and this can create another revenue stream for the BCCI.

    I'm certain there are enough Indian fans to fill every day of every match if the facilities and costs are reasonable/good. If the BCCI get it right (which they probably won't) they can fill all the stadiums.

  • POSTED BY indianzen on | November 3, 2011, 11:18 GMT

    Costly tickets, costly food, costly water bottles, Costly wave boards and nothing is allowed inside except money money money... One side you find cars parked of a family of 3 occupying an entire AC room of 20 seats, other end you see a drunken irresponsible youth going for the cheapest - gallery or a sun burning corner seat... unless BCCI improves the condition, no audiences will come for sure... Modi was really a good administrator...

  • POSTED BY SanjivAwesome on | November 3, 2011, 9:46 GMT

    Among the many many things that the BCCI handles incompetently is their treatment of cricket fans, the poor facilities for watchers of cricket, rubbish food stalls and incompetent ticketing. I will not attend a single live cricket match until I see an improvement from the BCCI. There are now several alternative sports and entertainment options for me - where they provide sound infrastructure for people watching "live". Oh, these sentiments are shared by nearly 95 people who live in my street. It is time we had cricketers administering cricket in India, instead of politicians.

  • POSTED BY Rahul_78 on | November 3, 2011, 9:16 GMT

    Precaution is better then cure..You cant just seat on your laurels and expect the problem to be solved by itself. These are indeed worrying signs for cricket. Only die hard Indian cricket fans will understand that cricket is not just sport in India but a religion. Never ever a Indian fan will miss an opportunity to see Dhoni, Sachin and co in flesh on the ground. Somewhere something is going seriously wrong and corrective measures need to be taken asap. I dont know how many have noticed it but Indian viewers had to endure 74 matches from IPL after THE WORLD CUP! And there was decent turn out for IPL matches even though the tournament was a drag. If viewers are going to get 74 matches every year plus healthy quota of 5 days test and ODI's then surely it is going to test viewers appetite.

  • POSTED BY fudgys11 on | November 3, 2011, 8:30 GMT

    Since the turnout doesn't affect the profitability of the centre in a very big way, as they are already compensated by their share from BCCI, the centre should make the tickets extremely cheap or free . This would make more people come in and centre could sell other rights within its own control at a price. Learn from the Newpaper guys who sell their newpaper much below the production cost and this in turn gets subsidised by the ADVERTISING revenue. Since more people would come to the grounds local business guys would also be more involved in its success.This would make it a WIN_WIN situation for everybody.

  • POSTED BY matbhuvi on | November 3, 2011, 8:16 GMT

    @xylo. Probably you haven't watched cricket 10-15 years back. There was a period when Sachin held and carried the team single handedly. I remember Wasim saying that to win against India all they need to plan is to get Sachin's wicket. Sachin has a hunger for records. That is his asset. Look at the players between 80s and 90s. None of them had healthy 35+ average. At one point in late 80s, the leading century scorer for India is Srikkanth with "4" centuries. Those Indian teams never believed in themselves. Sachin was the only pride in the Indian team. Fast forward 20 years. He may still play for records. We have many more match winners. It is not like that we are getting hurt when Sachin goes for the record. He may be basking in fame and money. But as a Indian cricket fan we are indebted to him for his contribution.

  • POSTED BY on | November 3, 2011, 6:42 GMT

    Promote Tennis, Hockey and field athelatics, which is beyond the Cricket fever. India as a nation of 1.2 Billion need to play as many as sports possible. For example Kabbadi, Kho Kho, Mallakhamb, wrestling etc. can serv purpose in places where resources are scarce. Else Cricket neither provides opportunity for everyone and is time consuming as well. For those who are not habitual to cricket other options as well needs to be kept open.

  • POSTED BY LafangaBowler on | November 3, 2011, 3:43 GMT

    Some fans here are on the 'bash F1' bandwagon. Do not be fooled that F1 do not have huge fan numbers in India. It is not a fad either. There is a sizable number of people in this country that can afford and enjoy F1 events. If you vist Buddh racing circuit you will see the difference - how F1 treats thier fans and BCCI treats thiers! Also the indian public has put up with this non chalant treatment by the 'richest cricketing body' for far too long. We love cricket but we will not and should not pay a penny for this 4th class treament metted out to us by the BCCI and local cricketing bodies. If they want our money spend they have to earn it from us. Make cricket viewing enjoyable and take us fans into confidence. If not there will be a downturn for cricket viewership in India. Actually it has already started.

  • POSTED BY ARad on | November 3, 2011, 3:19 GMT

    Manjrekar FOR BCCI PRESIDENT 2013!!! :-) He has written another well reasoned column with some great ideas. The HEALTH OF INDIAN CRICKET IS IMPORTANT not just to the Indian fans but to all cricket fans. BCCI administrators have figured out how to attract fans with (low quality) IPL FAST FOOD (and make money from that business model) but they are forgetting that soon there will be other fast food vendors. Cricket will not be able to distinguish itself from any other 3-hour FAST FOOD entertainment for very long. Test cricket is an ACQUIRED TASTE and BCCI/ICC is yet to figure out how to develop such a taste in the next generation. I hope they won't wait for too long but knowing the brain trusts that run cricket in most countries, I can't be completely optimistic. Let's THANK commentators/analysts like Sanjay who make positive contributions instead of those who defend IPL while missing the big picture (due to the increase in their bank balance?). GOLDEN GOOSE won't lay eggs forever.

  • POSTED BY RandyOZ on | November 3, 2011, 2:41 GMT

    India obviously doesn't like test cricket or ODIs that much. That's why they don't bother showing up. Them and England both couldn't dream of filling a 100,000 seat monster like we do every boxing day. No wonder we are the best!

  • POSTED BY xylo on | November 3, 2011, 1:48 GMT

    "Sachin Tendulkar has declared himself available for the Tests against West Indies. What better incentive for the fans to come to the ground than to watch their hero get his 100th international hundred?" ... meh... the reason he is playing this series is to get his 100th 100. There has been a lot of fatigue around that event as well.

  • POSTED BY Yorker_ToeCrusher on | November 3, 2011, 1:33 GMT

    Ok listen,here are my reasons. 1)Tendulkar is not playing most of the matches.He single handedly pulled in crowds for the last 20 years 2)Ticket prices are only aimed at upper middleclass 3)No beer avaialble inside stadium.pubs are better places for watching a live match nowadays 4)People cannot watch mtches on a week day.Bad seating and food and rude policemen.You don't treat a consumer of a product like rowdies 5)India has changed,bcci doesnt have brain to worry about that.

  • POSTED BY Nagpur-nationalist on | November 3, 2011, 1:09 GMT

    Tests in Nagpur should be played at the old stadium in Civil Lines, which is in the city and cheap daily tickets should be available. I remember in February 2002, in the India Zimbabwe Test played at the old stadium in the heart of the city, daily tickets were available on day 3, and Sachin Tendulkar was batting (He scored 176 in that game), there was a full house of 40,000 people. Also, there was a huge crowd, though not a full house, for the next Test played in Nagpur against Australia in October 2004, which was also played at the old stadium. Every Test played in Nagpur at the old stadium saw big crowds, until Tests shifted to the new stadium 16 kilometers away in Nov 2008. Still, the new stadium would have been full in Nov 2008 had tickets been cheap, and transport facilities kept.

  • POSTED BY Nagpur-nationalist on | November 3, 2011, 1:06 GMT

    For the Ind SA Test match of Feb 2010- no buses were arranged and people couldn't go so far on working days. I had to pay for full 5 days ticket to watch the match only on day 4- because no daily tickets were available. This stupid policy of cricket officials- of forcing people to buy tickets for all 5 days- or not at all- has to be condemned by the media immediately. The claim that "Saurav Ganguly's retirement Test match could not attract more than 2000 spectators in November 2008" in Nagpur is the worst. People were dying to watch that match. But the stadium was so far away- that auto (A vehicle with 3 wheels which transports people) costs were around Rs 700 a day-no buses were arranged- and no daily tickets were available. The season tickets (Of all 5 days)- were so expensive- that a man's monthly salary would have been spent on it.Instead of blaming Nagpurians for not going to the match-or the BCCI for awarding the match to Nagpur- the local cricket association should be blamed.

  • POSTED BY Nagpur-nationalist on | November 3, 2011, 1:03 GMT

    To get crowds for Test matches- 1- Cities like Gwalior, Indore, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Pune, Vaodara, Kochi, etc need to used as Test centres. The crowd response here is amazing in one day matches- because these cities get games only once in a few years. 2- The concept of 'tickets for all 5 days or none' must be ended immediately- with daily tickets available. The prices of the tickets should be cheap- and not extravagant- and concession may be given if someone buys for all 5 days. If in case of poor turnout, free entry can also be given. 3- Cities which earlier hosted international games but are not now being used need to be used as one day centres immediately- like Patna,Amritsar, Jallandhar and Lucknow (which hosted a Test in 1993) and Vijaywada (which hosted a one day game in 2002). Some of these can also be used as Test centres.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | November 3, 2011, 0:24 GMT

    An earlier article on this subject was entitled "Emptiness Mars Eden" by Sharda Ugra.There were lot of reasons given by the commenters. All the match organising Cricket Boards increased the Gate fees significantly and the Fans responded by not getting their Bums on Seats,to quote Sanjay .Many useful suggestions are also given on this article.Will anyone follow these suggestions or ignore them? The first test against WI starts on Sunday, 6 Nov.The next 4 days are week days.Fans will NOT drop work to watch Cricket. If they had Friday as the first day, Fans would have attended at least 3 days. When you do not cater to Fan interests, don't expect huge crowds.This is not Rocket Science, just common sense.Ssuggestion - try 50% off gate fee for students, Seniors & under18 + for everyone on weekdays.The BCCI & all organizing boards need to be proactive salesmen e.g. provide incentives such as free caps ( or other items) to first 10,000!.This will get some more"Bums on Seat" - Sounds OK?

  • POSTED BY Angad11 on | November 2, 2011, 23:00 GMT

    I dont think the price of the tickets is an issue. Recently Formula 1 tickets were sold at 35000 Rs per ticket and it was a huge success. Its the lack of good facilities that is the major problem.

  • POSTED BY itsthewayuplay on | November 2, 2011, 21:48 GMT

    Until recently people complained they couldn't get into Eden Gardens to see matches. With the number of games being played recently that should mean everyone who wants to see a game should get a chance to do so and you would expect the ground to be full. Even with all the possible explanations being put forward here it's unthinkable that Eden Gardens was practically empty for the final ODI against Eng. The BCCI needs to seriously think about how they're going to get people back into the grounds. Aus had a good way until approx 2006 to ensure capacity crowd-the game was only shown live in the host city if the game is sold out. Whatever the reason or reasons for the low turnout during the Eng ODI series, I hope that it wasn't because of the absence of star players because that suggests that people do not truly appreciate the game or support the team but simply follow the player.

  • POSTED BY Harvey on | November 2, 2011, 20:51 GMT

    Having watched quite a lot of cricket in India, it doesn't surprise me that fans are choosing to stay at home. Paying serious money (as is the case nowadays) only to be subjected to the kind of excessive security encountered at Indian grounds can't hold much appeal. The vast majority of items that are banned from being brought into the ground are completely harmless. Banned items include food, water, and even sun protection!

  • POSTED BY pramod-tn on | November 2, 2011, 19:39 GMT

    I remember few years back the my friends gathering in one place to watch India playing. We used to wait eagerly for the India's turn to play cricket. Here in USA matches come live in the nights. I used to stay up all night to watch even the test matches. But this is not the case any more since every now and then there is a match be it IPL, CL or between the nations. Most bothering fact is IPL the way teams are reshuffled, then comes CL. Being a die hard Indian cricket fan, it is very confusing to visualize who is playing for what. Too many business minds spoiled the sports. Too many politicians in BCCI, spoiled the organisation that promotes sports. There are guys in BCCI cadre has nothing to do with the sports, but they have a powerful voice. Sorry state of affair.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 19:33 GMT

    Low turnouts are the combination of High Ticket Rates and Too Much Cricket. Also facilities need to look after. I still remember watching India V S.Africa match at Wankhede when we were stuck on a same seat for almost 10 hours due to huge crowd. Ind V West Indies Test Series was fine. Was there need for 5 ODI's ??? Another option to attract crowd was to break the West Indies ODI series into 3 ODI and 2 T20 games. It would have definitely boosted the ticket sales.

  • POSTED BY bumsonseats on | November 2, 2011, 19:20 GMT

    you indian supporters should realise how lucky they are. in the uk we pay for example this summer per day against india beteen £40 - £50 for tests outside london and £80 - £90 for tickets in london. cricket lovers who can only watch cricket on sky have to pay £45.00 per month as live cricket is not alailable on free to view TV in the uk. and as a bonus pay for 4 days and get the last day free big deal eh. its expensive watching the # 1 test team. dpk

  • POSTED BY anshu.s on | November 2, 2011, 18:56 GMT

    I some how feel that too much quantity or overkill of cricket is not the only reason......i look at all the big Football leagues in Europe. your EPL,LA LIGA , BUNDESLIA all last nearly for 9 months, Tennis is played all round the year. all the American sports like NBA,NFL and MLB pack in so many matches in a season it's insane...point i am trying to make is That urban Indians especially the upper middle class has other distractions. We have to realise the uncomfortble truth that Cricket is played primarily by 10 countries and barring India,Pakistan n Sri Lanka it is 2nd or 3rd watched sports in other countries ..... So India like American sport leagues n European soccer leagues should go for a multi layerd structure i.e Make IPL a 50 -50 format also, have 20 teams play each other over a six month time frame.......Bcci should use there enormous clout and get 50-50 game to be played on a club level and have international teams play only the Test cricket n World cup

  • POSTED BY RohanMarkJay on | November 2, 2011, 18:39 GMT

    To add to what people have said here, we all know Indian cricket fans are the biggest fans of the this genteel sport. However the authorities must create cricket series especially Test cricket series that fans in India can relate to and get excited about. There is only one series which can generate this. That is a 5 match test series every two years with Pakistan. No doubt the Cricket will be superb, with Pakistan's high class bowlers battling India's high class batsman. This is what is going to bring the crowds back. People are going to get tired of meaningless series like the one just concluded. As someone said people in India have got lives outside of Cricket, despite being very passionate about the game. Also a Pakistan-India series every two years, will do wonders for the political relationship between the two countries. Which has been tense many times in the past. Cricket brings people together. Only the Indian Board have the power to initiate something like this.

  • POSTED BY Big_CricInfo_fan on | November 2, 2011, 17:17 GMT

    Most of the guys have already pointed out a good number of reasons for dampening the mood. Here goes another: First of all, Indians are sick and tired of watching non-stop India-SL matches the last year. Most of the matches played last year were against Sri Lanka (at home or away). The only thing that got them excited was the South African series because it gave them something new to watch (read bouncy tracks, fantastic pace bowling). And this summer it was the World Cup since it's at stake for a long period. And thereafter, the pre-series debate between India and England that one will trounce the other in England really ignited both the sides which kept the enthu going. And the series turned out to be an eye-sore for many who considered the likes of Dravid, Laxman, Sachin to hold fort and wronged their conception that Indian players are not just flat-track bullies. So if there is anything interesting to watch in the near future, that will be India-Aus series in Aus.

  • POSTED BY Rahulbose on | November 2, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    In ODIs the solution is simple for BCCI, play games in non-regular venues. Folks in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore might be bored with too much cricket but in the outside centers you will get huge crowds for any international game.

  • POSTED BY asif2311 on | November 2, 2011, 16:53 GMT

    i am shocked that sanjay do not mention ipl and cl t20 which constitutes over 100 meaningless matches in a year that players such as sachin and dhoni opt for which leave them jaded for the important international series and hence leads to below par indian teams and thereby low turnouts, I can bet my bottom dollar that the delhi test will have more than decent crowd this week

  • POSTED BY Angad11 on | November 2, 2011, 16:42 GMT

    I think the major issue is not exactly the price of the tickets but the facilities that we as spectators and fans receive for that price is ridiculous. I would not mind paying more for better facilities but why should i spend thousands for crappy facilities. NO WAY. Also, there are many stadiums in India so pls spread the locations across India. Mumbai, Chennai and Blore are not the only stadiums in India.

  • POSTED BY Pritt32 on | November 2, 2011, 16:10 GMT

    I am a passionate cricket fan, but do agree with the common consensus that too much cricket is being played in India and England. The recent one-day series showed poor turnouts in India. I accept test cricket attracts low turn-outs, but alarm bells will be ringing now as a result of weak turn outs in one day cricket. India is a cricket loving nation and I think fans are switching to other sports such as formula one. The recent Indian Grand Prix was a major success as it attracted large crowds. How can BCCI maintain interest levels? This presents a real challenge. India's over-exposure to cricket could lead to a huge injury list and weak performances. One could argue they are professionals and should not offer excuses. The ICCI should liaise with all members to offer a fair schedule in a calendar year. Cricket needs to change in order to maintain interst levels and reduce possible slump.

  • POSTED BY ForceChaos on | November 2, 2011, 15:39 GMT

    Just this year India has participating in the World Cup, IPL, WI Series, Champions Trophy, ENG Series Away, ENG Series @ Home. There is no break, its non-stop!! Iin all the sports that I know off is played seasonally - Baseball, American Football, Basketball, F1, Ice Hockey. Spectators look forward to it. Why can't we have the same thing in Cricket. Rather than a non stop cricket that played throughout the year have limited period of time in which it played. Results better prepared and rested team. Hungry viewers interested in what is being played.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 15:09 GMT

    Great comment Sanjay. Something small like a memento would do really well. I think admission to the test matches should be free or at a minimal cost (sometimes a minimal cost will bring more people in..even as small as 100 rs vs. it being free means people think they can go whenever to watch it). I think the West Indies will actually be very competitive, especially with Bishoo and Bravo - I picked them both to perform in the India series, and they both answered in the Bangla series already with a 100 and a 5 wicket haul respectively. Check it out here - http://thirdmancricket.com/?p=390

  • POSTED BY cricketcrazzychick on | November 2, 2011, 15:06 GMT

    Perfect thoughts.....many have of these been have been echoing since years now (for the tests)..then why have the administrators turned deaf?...4get tests...they havent done anything for Ranji!!!..kids should have a autograph session after the match...But the 1st thing definately should be 2 reduce costs...

  • POSTED BY zico123 on | November 2, 2011, 14:42 GMT

    ofcourse IPL and CL has already caused cricket overkill and viewer fatigue, get rid of those events international cricket will survive for ages in India.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 14:40 GMT

    Not very sure whether the administrators understand the importance of crowd coming to the ground. For an instance, the Hyderabad ODI between India Vs England the tickets sale was not advertised in any newspapers. I am an ardent fan of Cricket and would love to watch the game by visiting the gallery, but unfortunately, neither the tickets were available online or advertised the venue for the ticket sales. Not sure what Hyderabad Cricket Association was thinking ? Infact many of them when contacted HCA, they were informed that the tickets were sold. We were shocked to see the empty stands where I knew a lot of fans were outside the ground 'checking' for tickets. Though from second ODI the tickets were available on bccii.tv, I need to ask why was the first ODI not included in first place. Let administrators answer ...

  • POSTED BY inswing on | November 2, 2011, 14:32 GMT

    Dhoni is most likely to break down next. With such heavy workload in all forms of cricket, it doesn't matter how fit you are. Any sensible board should implement the following: (1) At least a month of break after any two back-to-back series. (2) Nominal price (like Rs 10) for Test cricket - make it virtually free (3) Cheaper tickets for ODIs (4) Reasonably priced good food in the stadium, and clean toilets (5) Respectful treatment of spectators, no lathis, pushing or shoving. (6) Some other form of entertainment in the stadium, but not crazy loud music. This will put bums in seats guaranteed. Filled stadiums also translates to higher TV ratings.

  • POSTED BY aviroop1911 on | November 2, 2011, 14:09 GMT

    Even when there is some high profile Test series in India, the cricket administrators fail to capitalize on that. Rather they are least bothered about crowd strength in Test matches. It is very frustrating to see India and Australia face each other in front of 100-200 spectators in Nagpur and Mohali.But still Nagpur gets a high-profile Test match every now and then, thanks to the BCCIpresident.On day1 of the2010Nagpur Test against SA there were 2 people watching the match(including me),the other guy was the GREAT SACHIN FAN with the tri-colour painted all over him.The memorableTest match played at Mohali in Oct 2010 which India won by1 wicket thanks toVVS, was played in front of a few hundred spectators.I was there and the sort of behaviour I got from the volunteers and security was so pathetic that I vowed never to go there again. In contrast the Kolkata Test match againstSA which India had to win to hold on to their No.1 ranking was played before a packed house on each and every day.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | November 2, 2011, 13:15 GMT

    People in India are too busy to spend time watching Cricket "All the Time". There are few basic reasons for reduced crowds at the stadiuma: 1. Cricket Fatigue 2. High gate Fee 3. Safety concerns 4. Affordability of time & Money 5. Ease of accessibility of the game on TV/PC 6. Poor facilities in the stadium.Why should the Fans pay Rs.10,000/day in addition to the cost of food, travel/parking & inconvinience suffered in getting there & back? Cricket is no longer a pastime when the costs involved just ot watch a game are so high. I would much rather watch it in the comfort of home on TV. Doing it once in a while is OK. But can one keep on with it when there are so many games in an on going basis. Tendulkar X-factor may attract a few more but the fact remains that the gate fee has to go down drastically to be afforadable by common man/woman.The greed for money making has to stop. BCCI has made a $39 million profit this year.Aren't state Boards trying to match this thru' high Gate Fee?.

  • POSTED BY dravid_rules on | November 2, 2011, 13:15 GMT

    My suggestion for increasing audience participation for Tests is to take a route diametrically opposite to the route which is suggested by many. I would suggest that Tests be played in locales which have not hosted Tests. In the good old days, there used to be two issues with this. 1. Lack of seating and crowds to fill those seats. 2. Infrastructural issues. Now, with the lack of interest at all the major centers for Test cricket (Mumbai, Delhi, Madras, Calcutta, Bangalore, Mohali, etc.), the first issue has become a non-issue. So, a short-list of centers where the second issue can quickly be addressed should be drawn up and Tests (especially, against lower ranked teams like WI and NZ) should be awarded to those centers.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 12:51 GMT

    India have been playing non-stop throughout this year. India were playing in South Africa at the start of the year, then there was the World Cup (lasting almost 2 months), the IPL, the tour to the West Indies, the tour to England, the Champions League and these recently concluded pointless ODIs with England. Before the tour to South Africa, India were playing at home to Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. I've probably missed other matches but that's hardly surprising. It adds up to over 12 months of non-stop cricket. The scheduling is insane. People in the game need to remember that there is life outside of cricket, no one can cope with playing or watching 12 months non-stop cricket and if this continues there will be more and more half-empty stadiums and cricket will be regarded as no more than a schedule filler for satellite television.

  • POSTED BY orangtan on | November 2, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    The writing's on the wall, the Test match is anachronistic in this day and age and even the ODIs are too long. Sadly , it is the T20s and , heaven forbid, Hongkong Sixes, which will hold sway for the next decade before cricket rides away into the sunset.

  • POSTED BY S.Jagernath on | November 2, 2011, 12:10 GMT

    Indian pitches being flat creates formulaic cricket,England are not a good touring side So this tour was not really that interesting Many spoke of this being revenge,but what were India trying to avenge? India lost 4-0 in the test series,India can only avenge that loss with a firm test series win against England in England The Indian players that played were also boring,Suresh Raina's slogs got boring a while ago,Ajinkya Rahane really needs to play his way,which is getting in and relying on his cover & on drives,his shot through & over the slips is boring & makes that 91 seem unimpressive Varun Aaron might the ruthless quick bowler India has always lacked,just lacks some accuracy Yadav lacks an away ball to right handers & he might suffer against good batting teams Indian cricket watchers must find it expensive with having to follow their IPL team,Regional first class team & their national side,can't blame them for being penny-wise,it was Diwali after all!

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 12:09 GMT

    An excellent article, but you could have stopped as soon as you said there was too much cricket. It's so obviously true that it would be one of the first things commented on by a visiting alien. I wrote the following on another blog on Cricinfo the other day, but I'll repeat myself anyway. The ICC needs to standardise tours. Each team plays each other test nation home and away over a 4 year cycle. A 4 week World Cup every 4 years, a 3 week World T20 Cup every 2 years and a window for the IPL. And a tour should always consist of 4 tests, 5 ODIs and a Twenty20, plus occasional games against the likes of Ireland and the Netherlands. It's not difficult, and if means there is less money about, so be it. It's not like cricket is an impoverished game is it? I love cricket dearly, but there is too much of it and it's getting to the point where it's impossible to get excited about a forthcoming series as there's never more than 5 seconds between series.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    Just to add to what many people have already been saying here - BCCI has been scandalously taking the Indian fans for granted for very many years. The facilities at the major stadiums are a disgrace - why should supporters pay to sit and watch cricket in stands with no or inadequate cover against the Indian sun, ridiculous security measures that prevent people from bringing their own water and food in, filthy and inadequate toilets, poor or non-existent transport links? Add all this to the numerous pointless ODIs and T20s, and you have a toxic mix.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 11:50 GMT

    simple remedy.. kill the unwanted onedayers.. have tests and t20 competitions.. tests for bombay, calcutta, madras, bangalore and delhi.. t20 for all other cities.. this is the only way.. if you keep giving tests to other cities, you are going to end up spectatorless.. man the whole shame was when sachin created the 12000 record in mohali when there were just a buch of school kids to cheer him on.. i mean in a country where cricket is religion, you need to have some plan!!

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 11:33 GMT

    We need to make tickets affordable for people to watch. Some stadiums (Bangalore, Hyderabad, etc) are in a bad shape. I used to be a regular for the Bangalore games but decided not to go anymore because of poor facilities in the stadium.

    At some point, BCCI should offer discounted tickets to students/sports clubs to encourage participation. Most of the games in the recently concluded Ind-Eng series were played on a weekday. This defies all logic because the folks who can afford these tickets are certainly from the MNCs and most of the people work till 7PM. So, you are almost resigning to the fact that people would go home and watch the second half on their television sets.

    Encourage families to come and watch together. organize events for school children during various breaks.

  • POSTED BY NatMGun on | November 2, 2011, 11:20 GMT

    IT IS A COMBINATION OF SPECTATOR FATIGUE, TERRIBLE FACILITIES (as compared to many grounds around the world) and RIDICULOUS TICKET PRICES (for the facilities provided!). If the BCCI kills the golden goose (us, the fans) it wont have any golden eggs to look forward to!! (including TV rights and money!!!)

  • POSTED BY RBSW on | November 2, 2011, 10:54 GMT

    Think we all agree that as there is so much cricket being played now the game is struggling to attract sufficient fans. Think for a minute about what is is that attracts fans. Sports fans want to experience continual excitement and tension throughout a game/race (not just in the closing stages). This is the energy and atmosphere that sports fans crave. To achieve this the sports fan must be able to see who is winning the race (ie. A spectator friendly format) - not a race against the clock which is unfortunately how we currently play limited overs cricket. A new format successfully trialled by MCC called 5IVES Cricket may be the answer for limited overs cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 10:39 GMT

    I really doubt whether our cricket administrators are far-sighted enough to be even worried about disappearing crowds. And believe me if they continue in this arrogant manner then those days are also not far away when even the IPL would be played in front of empty stands. Sanjay has pointed out that Australia and England still continue to attract good crowds to the stadium. The major reason here of course is the balanced cricketing calendar. For example majority of the international cricket takes place during summer only, from end-november to end-February in Australia and from end-May to mid-september in England. I agree with another observation that bilateral ODI series is less interesting than a multi-team tournament. Efforts should not only be directed towards encouraging people to come to stadiums for international cricket but also for Ranji games. Free tickets, better facilities at the stadium, a balanced cricketing calendars etc are some of the suggested measures.

  • POSTED BY HK_Sachin on | November 2, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    Stadium seats ... leading indicator for TV Watchers!

    Marketing - marketing marketing ...

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 10:08 GMT

    I swear. The prices for the Mumbai test is cheap. But all the days are working days. I have been watching all 5 days of a test since long but then there always used to be a sunday in between. This time it may be difficult

  • POSTED BY Lordraver on | November 2, 2011, 10:08 GMT

    Very well written. Hope the administrators of cricket reading this. Other ways to get the crowds in is to improve the basic ameneties in the stadiums, especially in India. More comfortable seats, cleaner toilets and allowing the viewers to bring in their own food and water. Security at the grounds has unfortunately become necessary but it can be handled with more tact and friendliness. The BCCI can offer free seats to the cricket teams of various schools (another way of filling up the Test grounds) but it will not be much fun if you end up dying of hunger and thirst.

  • POSTED BY Y2SJ on | November 2, 2011, 9:51 GMT

    I avoid stadiums because of high ticket price and inadequate facilities. If the restrooms are clean, seating is better, food/water is sold at reasonable rate, I am sure the crowds will come.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    I think one more aspect which needs to be looked into is the 'viewer's comfort' when they go to watch a match.

    Most of the stadiums (even the newly built) lack a basic requirement as essential as a sun-roof. Not to mention long queues, poorly maintained steats, expensive food counters, poor crowd management and fear of terrorist attacks.

    Second issue is price of tickets. In most of the matches (at least in Delhi) more than 50% seats go on free passes and for rest of the seats we pay very high price. Most absentees belong to the group who get free passes from backdoor and do not bother to show up on the day.

    As far as F1 goes, i (and i think most of us) too was there for the single reason that never in my life i saw a F1 race before and more then excitement it was curosity which took me to the event. I don't think i will be able to motivate myself to go for next F1 GP in greater noida.

    I would definately perfer to enjoy the match in an AC room, HDTV and chilled beer.

  • POSTED BY ankit_66 on | November 2, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    this is all bcoz of various reasons..just recently INDIA TOURED ENGLAND..return tour by ENGLAND was bit dampening..Plus,,STADIUMS In India specially like KOTLA r all waste owing infrastructural facilities for audiences in ground..Costly breads,water glasses,,these cannot bring crowd in stands... high Priced tickets add icing to d cake...so sum up

    1. TOO MUCH OF CRICKET 2. HIGH PRICED TICKETS 3. LACK OF GOOD FACILITIES ON GROUND.

  • POSTED BY King_07 on | November 2, 2011, 8:22 GMT

    First the Indian cricket administrators have to stop arranging the bilateral series concept. They need to replace the bilateral series with triangular or quadrangular tournaments. For example, the BCCI could have replaced the IND-ENG series with IND-END-WI triangular tournament. The real test lies in tri series, where in bilateral we can make a comeback after losing couple of matches but if a team loses couple of matches in tri series they are out. In the late 90's we as fans used to see lot of tournaments but it in last decade it was replaced by the boring bilateral concept (Only to make money). It's a shame that tri series concept losing its shine. I think ICC needs to take a serious look in and try to organize lot of tournaments.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 7:52 GMT

    I was waiting for this article of your concerning the crowd after reading that tweet of yours. The crowd does buckle up after few hours..but its not one day am concerned about, its the test matches...it would be just fabulous to see a humongous crowd forming up to see a Test match (just as we saw in England).

  • POSTED BY sschivate on | November 2, 2011, 5:44 GMT

    The itinerary is downright stupid... the first test starts on Sun, second test on Mon, and third test on Tue. A working person like me can only spare weekends to watch cricket match. How am I supposed to take days off from work to go watch the match in the stadium? BCCI has always taken the Indian cricket fans for granted, and hence it never bothers to plan matches on weekends. IND - ENG ODI series had only one match on the weekend!!

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    Another reason for low turn around is the absence of Sachin, Shewag and Yuvi

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 4:40 GMT

    I have said these countless times. Will not mind repeating it once again: Play the Tests only in the Traditional Test venues like Chepauk, Bangalore, Eden Gardens, Brabourne, Kotla and Kanpur(or try scheduling one at Mysore- it staged a jampacked Ranji trophy final few years ago). Start the matches on a Thursday or a Friday so that weekend action is assured. Slash the prices by 50% and give further concessions to students. Is this too much to ask from the BCCI ?

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 4:37 GMT

    When you price tickets higher, you are catering to a class who is looking for an experience and BCCI needs to focus on that. One of the IPLs, one couldnt take water bottles in for "security reasons" and they were only selling soft drink by the glass. Such rip offs end up as dampners.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    i dont it jst fatigue.....it is not.....in my obsrvation its the absence of sachin n the gloominess that happened after the tour of india to england.........i m too sure that the crowd vl increase after the 5-0 clean sweep of india in england.........

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 4:13 GMT

    The problem is that the organizers consider the Indian Viewership as granted, to fill up the stadiums and maintain the TRPs. In every other sport or business, the customer or viewer preferences are considered at the least in any of the business decisions which i think is not the case with cricket in india.Ofcourse, the population and madness for the game should be enough to sustain the cramped schedule, but with changing times, the mediocre games and expected result series are fading out of interest.Proper planning that of serving the loyal viewers better should be the agenda instead of catering to bringing spectators from other walks of life into the game by using T20 and cramping up schedules.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 4:12 GMT

    nice article Sanjay, as always, hit the nail right on the head. My thoughts about the present state of cricket have, more or less, been on similar lines with most of what you have written down. With hectic lifestyle of present day, the 5-day or even 1-day format of cricket has become its main scourge as organizers around the world fail to bring in the crowd to stadiums. Nevertheless, volume of cricket is the major issue in audience fatigue. I, for myself, have missed watching IPL-4 and India's tour of WI after CWC'11. Last I watched was India's tour of England (test matches only). Now planning to watch India's tour of Australia. Just like some of the senior Indian players, audience will have to pick and choose between what to watch and what to miss and this is needed to avoid losing interest in the game altogether. Also with quantity of the games increasing, standard of international cricket has fallen down considerably. All this points to a bigger issue altogether.

  • POSTED BY Romenevans on | November 2, 2011, 3:53 GMT

    As a youth of this country i'm a passionate TEST and ODI cricket follower, but IPL and CLT20 mess is such a turn off that IPL days almost sounds like a Indian television "Daily Soap" that seems and sounds like "Don't forget to watch IPL everyday Monday to Sunday at 8 PM" i mean its such a big overdose of cricket which is surely showing its side-effects now. Chennai people worship their CSK team and in recent CLT20 matches, stadiums were empty even when CSK was playing in Chennai. That sums it up nicely.BCCI should immediately do something about IPL and CLT20 or else it won't take long to turn Cricket Into 2nd Hockey of india.

  • POSTED BY shrikanthk on | November 2, 2011, 3:25 GMT

    It's amazing how people crib about grounds not being "choc-a-bloc" for Test matches. It's an unreasonable expectation. What one should be concerned with is the "Number of unique individuals who attended the game over 5 days". A test match is a bit like an ongoing fair with different set of people watching each day's play. To maximise the number of people attending a test match over 5 days, one should ideally sell tickets for each session separately. For eg : 1st session 1st day - Rs.200, 2nd session 1st day - Rs 300, 3rd session 1st day - Rs.500 etc, Whole of 1st day - Rs700 etc.

    Tests still have a LOT to offer in terms of value to boards and broadcasters alike. They fill up airtime over 5 days - a manna for broadcasters who don't have anything else to show generally. A single test match on a big ground can attract potentially over 200,000 spectators over 5 days if marketed right (Eg : MCG Boxing day test) - that's the sort of figure no ODI/T20 can rival!

  • POSTED BY InsideHedge on | November 2, 2011, 3:17 GMT

    On a separate note, F1 is just a fad. For several years, I've heard Indian youth, esp. females claim they are F1 fans. With all due respect, I don't think they have a clue. Further, for a member of the public to truly love a sport, for the sport to be in one's blood, you have to be able to participate. Good luck getting into any kind of car in India, and racing it around a public road, let alone a track. The F1 organisers should be congratulated for pricing tickets in such a way that they generated 95K fans, something BCCI can research.

  • POSTED BY InsideHedge on | November 2, 2011, 3:10 GMT

    I was at the Oval Test a few months ago, just 9 runs away from history. Alas, it was not to be. A considerable amount of dedication, and not a small sum, was spent on making the effort to be there on the 5th day. I hope the locals at Kotla realise how fortunate they are, let's hope they show up in numbers and fill the stadium. Often, we complain that Tests should be staged in the Indian metros where there is a better appreciation, here's the chance. Good article, Sanjay....I like the Moroccan story, smart organisers. The BCCI get a lot of flak, their PR is awful as they fail to communicate. Sanjay is right, now is the time to communicate with the fans.

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  • POSTED BY InsideHedge on | November 2, 2011, 3:10 GMT

    I was at the Oval Test a few months ago, just 9 runs away from history. Alas, it was not to be. A considerable amount of dedication, and not a small sum, was spent on making the effort to be there on the 5th day. I hope the locals at Kotla realise how fortunate they are, let's hope they show up in numbers and fill the stadium. Often, we complain that Tests should be staged in the Indian metros where there is a better appreciation, here's the chance. Good article, Sanjay....I like the Moroccan story, smart organisers. The BCCI get a lot of flak, their PR is awful as they fail to communicate. Sanjay is right, now is the time to communicate with the fans.

  • POSTED BY InsideHedge on | November 2, 2011, 3:17 GMT

    On a separate note, F1 is just a fad. For several years, I've heard Indian youth, esp. females claim they are F1 fans. With all due respect, I don't think they have a clue. Further, for a member of the public to truly love a sport, for the sport to be in one's blood, you have to be able to participate. Good luck getting into any kind of car in India, and racing it around a public road, let alone a track. The F1 organisers should be congratulated for pricing tickets in such a way that they generated 95K fans, something BCCI can research.

  • POSTED BY shrikanthk on | November 2, 2011, 3:25 GMT

    It's amazing how people crib about grounds not being "choc-a-bloc" for Test matches. It's an unreasonable expectation. What one should be concerned with is the "Number of unique individuals who attended the game over 5 days". A test match is a bit like an ongoing fair with different set of people watching each day's play. To maximise the number of people attending a test match over 5 days, one should ideally sell tickets for each session separately. For eg : 1st session 1st day - Rs.200, 2nd session 1st day - Rs 300, 3rd session 1st day - Rs.500 etc, Whole of 1st day - Rs700 etc.

    Tests still have a LOT to offer in terms of value to boards and broadcasters alike. They fill up airtime over 5 days - a manna for broadcasters who don't have anything else to show generally. A single test match on a big ground can attract potentially over 200,000 spectators over 5 days if marketed right (Eg : MCG Boxing day test) - that's the sort of figure no ODI/T20 can rival!

  • POSTED BY Romenevans on | November 2, 2011, 3:53 GMT

    As a youth of this country i'm a passionate TEST and ODI cricket follower, but IPL and CLT20 mess is such a turn off that IPL days almost sounds like a Indian television "Daily Soap" that seems and sounds like "Don't forget to watch IPL everyday Monday to Sunday at 8 PM" i mean its such a big overdose of cricket which is surely showing its side-effects now. Chennai people worship their CSK team and in recent CLT20 matches, stadiums were empty even when CSK was playing in Chennai. That sums it up nicely.BCCI should immediately do something about IPL and CLT20 or else it won't take long to turn Cricket Into 2nd Hockey of india.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 4:12 GMT

    nice article Sanjay, as always, hit the nail right on the head. My thoughts about the present state of cricket have, more or less, been on similar lines with most of what you have written down. With hectic lifestyle of present day, the 5-day or even 1-day format of cricket has become its main scourge as organizers around the world fail to bring in the crowd to stadiums. Nevertheless, volume of cricket is the major issue in audience fatigue. I, for myself, have missed watching IPL-4 and India's tour of WI after CWC'11. Last I watched was India's tour of England (test matches only). Now planning to watch India's tour of Australia. Just like some of the senior Indian players, audience will have to pick and choose between what to watch and what to miss and this is needed to avoid losing interest in the game altogether. Also with quantity of the games increasing, standard of international cricket has fallen down considerably. All this points to a bigger issue altogether.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 4:13 GMT

    The problem is that the organizers consider the Indian Viewership as granted, to fill up the stadiums and maintain the TRPs. In every other sport or business, the customer or viewer preferences are considered at the least in any of the business decisions which i think is not the case with cricket in india.Ofcourse, the population and madness for the game should be enough to sustain the cramped schedule, but with changing times, the mediocre games and expected result series are fading out of interest.Proper planning that of serving the loyal viewers better should be the agenda instead of catering to bringing spectators from other walks of life into the game by using T20 and cramping up schedules.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 4:14 GMT

    i dont it jst fatigue.....it is not.....in my obsrvation its the absence of sachin n the gloominess that happened after the tour of india to england.........i m too sure that the crowd vl increase after the 5-0 clean sweep of india in england.........

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 4:37 GMT

    When you price tickets higher, you are catering to a class who is looking for an experience and BCCI needs to focus on that. One of the IPLs, one couldnt take water bottles in for "security reasons" and they were only selling soft drink by the glass. Such rip offs end up as dampners.

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 4:40 GMT

    I have said these countless times. Will not mind repeating it once again: Play the Tests only in the Traditional Test venues like Chepauk, Bangalore, Eden Gardens, Brabourne, Kotla and Kanpur(or try scheduling one at Mysore- it staged a jampacked Ranji trophy final few years ago). Start the matches on a Thursday or a Friday so that weekend action is assured. Slash the prices by 50% and give further concessions to students. Is this too much to ask from the BCCI ?

  • POSTED BY on | November 2, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    Another reason for low turn around is the absence of Sachin, Shewag and Yuvi