The IPL may not be the TV spectacle it used to be but the Season 5 of slam-bang cricket is playing to packed stands.
So, what's different this time? Tickets - fewer passes and 'realistic' pricing. Half way through the tournament, franchisees appear to be on top of their game as far as tickets go.
"We've slashed the cost of marquee tickets by Rs 7,000 for weekdays and Rs 5,000 for weekend games played at the Ferozshah Kotla," said an official of GMR, which owns the Delhi Daredevils, requesting anonymity.Last season, the ticket was sold at a flat price Rs 25,000.
"You need to pay just Rs 200-Rs 500 for a celebrity surrounded live event," said Shruti Dargan, 24, who was at the Kotla as Delhi Daredevils took on Mumbai Indians on April 27.
Also, unlike previous seasons, there are more tickets for fans. Team owners were giving 15% of the capacity seats as complimentary tickets, down from 20% in the previous seasons, said IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla.
Franchisees' gate receipts - a key source of revenue - have surged.
"Ask for free passes or tickets and our answer is 'no'. Even IPL members are obliged to buy tickets," said Hemant Dua, head, marketing, Delhi Daredevils.
Delhi and Mumbai Indians each earned more that Rs 40 crore in ticket sales in the first 16 days, said a source, who did not wish to be identified.
Almost all home games of Pune Warriors have been a sell-out. "We're happy how the sales have gone. It's a major motivator," said Abhijit Sarkar, director, Sahara Adventure Sports that owns Pune Warriors.
Ticket sales were up 15% compared to last season, said Ashish Hemrajani, CEO, Bookmyshow.com, ticketing partner of IPL. "For evening matches, stadiums have 95% occupancy," he said.