I was watching the India-England test match (well, more hearing while I worked than seeing, but anyway) when Michael Atherton asked on air why Indian stadia have seen sparse crowds of late. The discussion pointed out that this has been a trend in most cricket centers, with perhaps the effect being somewhat less in the larger metros such as Kolkata and Mumbai.
Allow me to put forward a possible reason. Poor administration. Watching cricket in India is not fun to the spectator, it’s more an ordeal. More and more people find it better and indeed easier to watch their cricket on the telly rather than turn up at the stadium!! The stadia are cramped with as many seats as possible, which, as you can imagine, results in not-very-comfy seating arrangements. The facilities are atrocious, unless you are seated in the VIP stands. The food facilites aren’t great. You’re not allowed to bring even water with you from the outside. And the ticket prices are humongous.
It has come to such a pass that Mr IS Bindra of the Punjab Cricket Association recently commented that the BBCI has been short-changing the public for all these years; now perhaps the public is starting to get it’s own back.
Yes, Mr Bindra, that is indeed the reason. I am from Kolkata, home of the Eden Gardens, and yet I have never made the effort to go buy a ticket at Eden Gardens. It’d be too expensive, and then not worth it.