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Bandh, ticket pricing keep crowds away

Everytime Kochi Tuskers have played here, the home fans have turned out in large numbers. But on Saturday afternoon, it wore a deserted look because of a Kerala bandh the previous day. Debjeet Kundu reports.

cricket Updated: May 01, 2011 00:29 IST
Debjeet Kundu

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi has a capacity of over 60,000. Everytime Kochi Tuskers have played here, the home fans have turned out in large numbers. But on Saturday afternoon, it wore a deserted look because of a Kerala bandh the previous day.

“The bandh has affected our ticket sales badly,” said Kerala Cricket Association official Krishna Prasad. “We've a turnout as low as 10,000, apart from the complimentary ones.”

Even though Saturday's poor turnout can be blamed on the bandh, not all’s not well with ticket sales. The first tier in the stadium has colourful chairs and is naturally higher-priced. But the other two levels, which are the general stands, are a concern. “The tickets for these two stands come for Rs 300 and Tuskers face attendance woes Rs 500,” says an association official.

“But they offer almost similar view and are linked to each other, so different pricing doesn't make sense.” “The franchise has little idea about handling pricing and sales.” Apparently, consensus has eluded a proposal to merge the two stands and fix the ticket price at Rs 250.

The franchise is also at loggerheads with the municipal corporation. The franchise claim the corporate boxes over the south block of the stadium are ‘complimentary’ and hence pricing should be at their discretion. So, while the official price is Rs 49, the municipality has valued it as Rs 15,000 and wants higher taxes.

“Why should we pay so much tax for something that’s priced Rs 49, or rather complimentary?” asks a Tuskers Kerala insider.