With plenty of money riding on the tournament, the Indian Premier League’s third season kicked off on Friday with the organisers walking a wedge between getting the stadia full on the one hand, while trying to make the most out of large-screen live shows of the Twenty20 cricket matches in movie halls.
The simple formula for the first tie at Navi Mumbai’s D.Y. Patil Stadium between the Deccan Chargers and Kolkata Knight Riders was to allow big-screen viewing only after making sure that the main ground had a house-full sign on it. Naturally, because tickets for the match were priced between Rs. 1,000 and Rs 3,000 each.
This is notably a deviation from the the IPL management’s agreement with rights-holder UFO Moviez that there would be no broadcast of the IPL 3 matches at movie screens in the city where a match is played. The IPL management gave UFO permission just before 4 pm to go ahead and broadcast the first match in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai halls.
A spokesperson for UFO Moviez said the Patil stadium was sold out and hence the opportunity to show the first match on movie screens should not be missed. Significantly, this permission does not automatically apply for all other matches in IPL 3.
Fame, Cinemax and Inox multiplex cinema companies were contacted late. As many as 55 screens in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai have permission to screen IPL games.
“The response from smaller towns, especially, is excellent,” the spokesperson said.
Tickets are priced in the usual movie hall range of Rs. 170 to 200. Day One was booked for 630 screens and 20 more were expected.