The price of passion!

15 April,2024 10:05 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  Srijanee Majumdar

Although often touted as cricket`s carnival, the IPL has inadvertently become synonymous with exorbitant ticket pricing, alienating a significant portion of cricket fans from experiencing the live-action firsthand

Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya during fielding against CSK on Sunday. Pic/AFP

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"Brother, the authorities have probably never met a person from the middle class, so they have no idea of how few of us attend cricket matches. I could afford prices at Wankhede in the 80s and early 90s with my pocket money. But my son now makes Rs 20,000 a month, he can barely afford to come into a Rs 15,000 game for that. Expensive tickets, followed by the additional costs (food and beverage)...they add up to make it a very expensive day out, brother (sic)," a distinct voice emerged as the murmur of the crowd swirled around while Mumbai Indians took the field for their sixth IPL game this year.

"Beshaq, bhaisaab! (undoubtedly, brother) Cricket was religiously followed in our house too. I used to watch cricket a lot in my youth but have not been to a game for years. Recently with the success of this Indian team, I considered attending matches, but the ticket prices have changed my mind. I would have liked to take my son out for matches more often to introduce him to the nuances of this game, but it is too expensive in an era when we are all cutting expenditure," remarked another.

The IPL, with its electrifying matches, star-studded line-ups, and unparalleled entertainment, stands as a behemoth in the arena of cricket. However, amid the euphoria of the T20 league season, a contentious issue looms large: the staggering ticket prices. This linguistic exploration delves deep into the phenomenon of exorbitant ticket pricing, unravelling its intricacies, implications, and societal reverberations.

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The genesis of the IPL can be traced back to its inception in 2008, envisioned as a revolutionary cricketing extravaganza, transcending boundaries and captivating audiences worldwide. Over the years, it has metamorphosed into a cultural phenomenon, blending cricket with elements of glamour and entertainment.

Although often touted as cricket's carnival, the IPL continues to alienate a significant portion of cricket fans from experiencing the live-action firsthand.

"40 saal se hun idhar. Gaane bajte hai, shor bahut hota hai, hum sunte sab hai lekin dekhe nahi kabhi. Hum toh mamooli logon mein se hai na, yehi kamayi pe chalti hai ghar. Mera natu bahut cricket ka shaukeen hai, bolta hai daddu le chalo mujhe match dekhna hai, Rohit Sharma ka bada fan hai woh. Lekin kya kare, hum jaiso ke liye kaha sochte hai sab (My shop has been here for four decades. The songs, cheers, chants, and sometimes even music or fireworks can be heard from here. But I've never seen what the inside of a stadium looks like. I come from a very humble background and I'm the sole earner. My grandson is very fond of cricket, he is very eager to come along. He is a big fan of Rohit Sharma. But it's not for us, we can't afford any of it)," Ramesh Katkar, a 48-year-old tea vendor outside the stadium, told Mid-Day while wiping away sweat with a towel hung around his shoulder.

Not just the IPL, but the reality of ticket pricing, as had been the case for the ODI World Cup last year too, often erects barriers that prevent lower-income groups from partaking in this cultural extravaganza. Had they been financially accessible to these demographics, cricket would have stood to broaden its fan base and foster a deeper sense of community engagement today.

Coming back to the IPL, its exorbitant ticket pricing is multifaceted, influenced by a myriad of factors ranging from demand-supply dynamics to commercial imperatives. The league, with its immense popularity and global viewership, commands a fervent fan base that spans across geographical boundaries. The sheer demand for its tickets, coupled with limited seating capacities at venues, creates a supply-demand imbalance, thereby inflating ticket prices to astronomical levels.

As a consequence, cricket aficionados, often regarded as the lifeblood of the sport, find themselves disillusioned by the prohibitive costs associated with attending matches. The dichotomy between the league's ethos of inclusivity and the reality of exclusionary ticket pricing only engenders a sense of discontentment among fans, thereby diluting its democratic appeal.

Price of passion, what else!

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