“My parents want to watch India vs Pakistan, but I am very hesitant.” He is India’s cricketer, no less than an IPL star. His words underscore how much Watching matches as a spectator in Indian stadiums is a struggle, Even the privileged are not immune to this struggle.
While the BCCI has said that it is working to ensure better fan experience at the World Cup, ensuring hassle-free travel and accommodation does not come under its purview. As said, the board has not made things easy by delaying the announcement of the schedule and ticket sales rescheduling of many matches In which India vs Pakistan is also included.
So the paying fan is suffering. For example, those who want to travel to Ahmedabad to watch India play Pakistan have already experienced a logistical nightmare. And it has only just begun.
Tickets for the game won’t go on sale until September 3, and even in the unlikely scenario that fans are somehow able to acquire them through an online lottery, there is a matter of collecting physical tickets, and demand. There has been a rise in hotels in the city which is threatening to hit their pockets hard.
The average hotel tariff in the city has increased by almost 15 times. A hotel that charges Rs 4000 per night on an average is going for upwards of Rs 60,000 per night on twin-sharing basis on Booking.com.
Those looking for star hotels will have to shell out more than they would probably pay for business-class flight travel to Europe, with packages for a two-night stay costing more than Rs 350,000. But, in some cases, even money power is unlikely to help as star hotels outside the designated hotels for the teams have been booked by the BCCI for its sponsors and association partners.
This led to fans with valid booking confirmations being unconditionally asked to look elsewhere or, “after several rounds of going back and forth”, being offered a refund or credit shell to reserve their booking for a later date .
Fans do not have the option of bypassing the accommodation requirements in the city as the BCCI has made it clear that physical tickets will need to be collected at outlets across the city a day before the match. So you have to be there. The Gujarat Cricket Association faced chaotic scenes during the IPL final after fans were forced to collect tickets at the venue a day before the game, leading to long queues outside the stadium.
Major sporting events have found ways to avoid scenes like this. For example, at the Football World Cup in Qatar, fans purchasing tickets online can download the official tournament app to validate the QR code, making entry and exit a seamless process.
Mumbai-based sports-management professional Sanchit Desai says, “For the India vs Pakistan game, we had hotel and train reservations for October 14 as we went by the initial speculations.” “But once the rumors of changing the date surfaced, we did another round of bookings for October 13 [a day before the rescheduled date] Without canceling our earlier reservation. Now, our hotel reservation for October 15th [the original match date] There is a hold, but for rebooking from October 13, we are being charged almost four-five times the average price.
“So we don’t know what we are going to do for our hotel. We are in touch with a friend who stays locally, but in case we don’t get tickets, we plan to travel to Ahmedabad and enjoy Garba nights.” are planning. [a dance festival] And experience the atmosphere of the city on Navratri.”
Robin SK, a Chennai-based tech entrepreneur, is now rethinking his plans as well. “One way change in date of my flights today is costing Rs 10,000 [this amount is dynamic and could go higher as the travel date nears],” he says, “I plan to wait for match tickets. If I get them, I’ll pay extra for flights and hotels.”
Rising hotel fares have forced Gujaratis settled abroad, especially those who make annual health check-up visits to India, to plan a unique solution to hotel conditions. Inquiries have been received for master health check-ups and scans with an overnight stay at several top hospitals in the city.
Dr. Paras Shah, surgeon, Sannidhya Multispeciality Hospital, said, “I received inquiries from my classmates settled abroad for a complete health check-up along with the migration package dated October 14.” Radio City FM, Ahmedabad. “Initially, we were locked in two rooms, normally we ensure such a facility especially for people coming from abroad. But within a week, I became suspicious as we received seven-day calls with similar requests. Eight calls were received. Then we came to know that it was a coincidence, and they were also trying to book tickets for the India-Pakistan World Cup game.”
The increase in demand has now forced private home owners in Ahmedabad to try to make money. A typical listing for a two-bedroom apartment that can accommodate up to eight guests at Motera, advertised under “India vs Pakistan, World Cup special” costs INR 100,000 per night, while individual rooms on a single-occupancy basis cost INR 10,000 Are listed at Rs.per night.
The Hotel Association of India (HAI), a body that represents the hotel and tourism industry, has downplayed the rise in demand versus supply situation, saying hotels are completely within their rights to raise prices. They faced a “zero revenue” situation during the period of the pandemic, especially in factoring.
“HAI has no role in the commercial or business decisions of its members. Prices are driven by market forces,” says Charulata Sukhija, assistant general secretary of HAI. “The HAI is highlighting the need to create additional hotel rooms in the country and the policy interventions needed to increase hotel capacities.”
Leaving all these issues aside, imagine for a moment that you are a Pakistani fan who wants to come to India to watch the match. It is a difficult journey to make at the best of times, given the geopolitical climate, but it has been possible in the past. Government of India during the 2011 World Cup Visa issued for Pakistani fans Going to Mohali to watch the India-Pakistan semi-final. This time there is no clarity from the BCCI or the Ministry of External Affairs on the process.
In May, Ahmedabad witnessed a similar scramble for last-minute flights and accommodation after torrential rains pushed the IPL final to its reserve day. Within minutes of the last transfer from Sunday to Monday, one-way out-of-town fares went up in all major sectors.
For example, an Ahmedabad-Bengaluru one-way ticket costs around Rs 23,000, more than double the average return fare in the sector, while hotels have hiked tariffs by over 50% to respond to the unprecedented demand. This time too, apart from the hotels booked by BCCI and ICC, many other hotels are already booked by tour groups, which has led to a hike in the prices.
Prior to the official announcement of the India-Pakistan rescheduling, India Army, one of the ICC-registered fan groups, warned its patrons against pre-booking hotels and flights based on unconfirmed reports of the match date.
“The general feeling is, ‘Why does this happen in India?’ Last minute changes in 2011 spoiled the experience, says Bharat Army founder Rakesh Patel recently told ESPNcricinfo, “Many people were booked for Kolkata for India vs England but were changed at the last minute to Bengaluru. In 2016 [T20 World Cup]We had booked around 400-450 people to go to Dharamshala for India vs Pakistan but the game was shifted to Kolkata.
“Now in 2023, we are in a situation where we have issues with the tournament. The general feeling is: it doesn’t happen anywhere else, so why do it in our country? We have tied up with travel companies, hotels , etc. don’t allow us to take late cancellations or changes into account. Managing 1000’s of people and making late changes – some want to change, some don’t – creates a lot of confusion.
“Ultimately the stakeholders who suffer the most are the fans. It is recognized that fans are the lowest common denominator in this situation, but we also know that come tournament time, stadiums will be full [for the India games],