Before every ODI of the ongoing three-match series between India and Australia, numerous social media posts directed towards the mess which unfolded outside the stadiums before the first two fixtures. People queued up before the sun was out and then waited hours to get hold of their tickets, even if booked online. Ticket buying, from a fan’s perspective, is a horrendous exercise in India and on most occasions the “complimentary quota” of the host associations comes to the rescue of people who have contacts. For the rest, it’s a nightmare.
With little over a week to go for the first game of the Indian Premier League, all franchises have rolled out comprehensive arrangements to make ticket-buying a seamless experience for the fans. The home teams pocket the revenue coming from the sale of the tickets and IPL’s return to home-and-away format allows the teams to rebuild the connect with the local fans which was lost when IPL was played inside the bubble environment. Unlike other nine teams, the exercise of filling up the stands is a mammoth one for defending champions Gujarat Titans. They have to fill-up the world’s largest stadium – the Narendra Modi Stadium with a capacity in excess of 1,30,000 - and ensure the exercise isn’t a tedious one for their fans.
ALSO READ | Gujarat Titans ‘Upset’ With David Miller Missing IPL 2023 Opener Against Chennai Super Kings
“Surprisingly, that’s not a worry at all. Our first game is already sold out. And this was sold out almost a week back. From that perspective, we are now focussing on subsequent games. The expectation is so high because of two reasons – a) we are the defending champions and b) this is the first time Gujarat Titans will be conducting its home games. Everything is coming along really well. It’s a huge exercise for sure but things are working out well and we are sure that what we showcase will be a different experience. An experience which we can be proud of and an experience which fans and supporters of Gujarat Titans can be proud of,” GT COO Colonel Arvinder Singh tells News18 CricketNext in an exclusive conversation.
Home delivery at nominal cost and parking slots
For Singh, it just wasn’t filling up the stands to ensure a roaring atmosphere for the defending champions at home but putting proper structures in place and setting benchmarks which both the franchise and the fans can be proud of. From ticket pre-registration to home delivery to facility of booking parking slots, GT had it all sorted well before the season got underway and are confident to roll out a seamless experience for the crowd.
“We have already put that structure in place and it’s not something which we started looking at a few days back. We have been working towards it for a few months and then eventually arrived at a solution which we thought is going to be something which is conducive to a good experience. And I am happy to share that’s how exactly its panned out. I am sure you wouldn’t have heard any noise about anything related to Gujarat Titans from this perspective.
ALSO READ | IPL 2023: Champions Gujarat Titans Bring 26 Partners on Board, 15 of Them New
“We went about it in a slightly systematic manner to the extent that we went with pre-registration and obviously people who did pre-register had an option, open window for themselves for a period of time before we opened it for the general public which really helped. It showed the kind of interest levels that actual general buyers had for our tickets. And the fact that home-delivery is available and then they can book their parking alongside and these small minor things has certainly helped. Almost 99% of the tickets sold online for the first game were opted for home delivery. The facility of getting tickets delivered to you at a nominal cost has worked well,” says Singh.
Champions are coming home
Defending champions Gujarat Titans, who won the title in their maiden season last year, will play their first game at home when they lock horns with the mighty Chennai Super Kings on March 31. Much before the fixture, Ahmedabad is all set to welcome Hardik & Co. Giant hoardings of the GT stars are placed all over the city – from the airport to busy junctures to shopping malls – and the buzz is right up there.
“Can you imagine Gujarat’s franchise is coming home and playing at home as the home team as defending champions. We never played a home match here, we just played the final here last year which we were very proud of. Now you are coming back as the home side and conducting your home games here. Expectations are mind blowing, absolutely out of the roof. So is the response. This is not something which has happened overnight. We have been working towards it since the last 6-8 months, ever since the last season ended because we know we have a task at hand. It’s a mammoth exercise and we have a standard that we have to achieve for ourselves. We want to benchmark how Gujarat Titans goes about things and something which fans and supporters can be proud of,” says Singh.
Get the latest Cricket News here