Many multiplexes and single-screen theatres in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) have stopped screening Indian Premier League (IPL) matches. The reason? Abysmally low occupancy.
Far from the carnival-like atmosphere, the average occupancy during the IPL matches in Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad has hovered around a meagre 20 per cent.
“We have stopped the screening of IPL matches on Friday last. We had 8-10 per cent occupancy,” said Vishal Bhardwaj, manager of Big Cinema at Great India Place Mall, Noida.
The multiplex even tried to lure cricket-enthusiasts by reducing the ticket price from Rs 150 to Rs 75, but to no avail. “The occupancy was still less than 15 per cent. But we plan to screen the semi-final and final matches,” says Bhardwaj.
Many theatres in Ghaziabad, too, have followed suit. “We have stopped screening for now. Our average occupancy was about 20 per cent,” says Ajay Verma, general manager, Star X Cinemas, Ghaziabad. “In the coming years, however, the concept (of watching cricket at theatres) will surely become popular,” he adds.
Delhi multiplexes have also bore the brunt of IPL ‘disaster’. “We have stopped showing IPL matches at our Vasant Kunj cinema because our average occupancy was as low as 20 per cent, though we are still showing them in our other cinemas in Gurgaon and Delhi,” says Amit Shah, chief manager, programming, DT Cinemas.
So is the case with many single-screen theatres in the Capital. “On day one the occupancy was about 40 per cent, but within a week it came down to as low as low as 5 per cent… I think IPL is not as popular as it has been made out to be,” says its manager. “This idea will work well during world cup matches.”