?The battle for tickets to cricket hero Sachin Tendulkar’s last Test match shifted from ground to cyberspace on Monday morning after the official ticketing website crashed amid surging demand that its owners said could break visitor records for sites selling tickets to the Olympic Games.
KyaZoonga.com clocked in 19 million visitors within a few hours of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) appointing it ticketing partner to a “historic occasion of the final Test match of our local cricket legend and global icon Sachin Tendulkar”.
Tickets are in massive demand because the 14-18 November match at Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium will be Sachin’s 200th Test and his last capping a 24-year career at the top of the sport.
MCA secretaries P.V. Shetty and Nitin Dalal said in a joint statement:KyaZoonga.com’s “service delivery over the last several matches including the, International Cricket Council CWC (Cricket World Cup) 2011 hosted by Mumbai, make them the natural choice to deliver our objectives to fans.
“We look forward to a full house.”
However, only a little “over 3,000 tickets” were made available for sale online, according to a person familiar with the development, priced at Rs.500,Rs.1,000 and Rs.2,500, leading to a mad scramble for the website. The stadium can seat 32,000 viewers.
“We’ve had over 19 million hits in the first few hours. This is unprecedented. The site hasn’t crashed, it may take some time to load, but we are clocking in transactions,” said Neetu Bhatia, chairman and chief executive officer ofKyaZoonga.com, adding that traffic for these tickets was even higher than that for the 2011 Cricket World Cup finals.
“If the momentum continues, then there is a good chance that the site will cross visitor records that have been set by sites offering ticket sales to the Olympics.”
MCA has been flooded with requests for tickets and passes ever since the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) allotted the match to Mumbai in October, said an MCA official in an earlier interview.
“We get at least 50 calls a day and also have over 200 emails from all over the world asking for tickets,” he added, not wanting to be named.
Eklavya Gupte, one of the lucky few who got hold of a pass to the match—the series pits India against the West Indies—thanks to an uncle who is a member of the MCA’s Garware Club, posted a picture on Twitter of the coveted pass.
Since its renovation in 2011, Wankhede stadium’s capacity has come down from around 39,000 to 32,000 seats, thanks to ergonomic bucket seats and a new stadium design that leaves space for the sea breeze to blow through the grounds.
Of these, about 6,000 seats are reserved for members of the Garware Club; 6,000 for five gymkhanas—Bombay, Hindu, Islam, Parsee, Catholic—6,000 for the over 300 MCA club members; some 2,000 for BCCI; 3,000 other complimentary tickets; and another 3,000 for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, police, ward officers and other government agencies, besides friends, families and sponsors.
This leaves upto 6,000 tickets—at best—for the public.
Wankhede’s financial loss will be Star Sports’ gain—the official broadcaster for the match is expecting a 50% jump in advertising rates owing to anticipated massive viewership.
The channel has secured sponsorships from brands such as Airtel, Exide,ITC, Bharti AXA, Pernod Ricard, Racold and Perfetti as sponsors, in addition to multiple spot-buyers, said a spokesperson for Star India. The website starsports.com will also live stream the match, offering it for a price.