Home > Features >

BCCI & its state units give a damn for spectator comfort at stadiums; should learn lessons from Manchester City

BCCI & its state units give a damn for spectator comfort at stadiums; should learn lessons from Manchester City

Watching cricket matches on the ground of Australia, South Africa and England are pleasurable experiences. Here fans enjoy the carnival atmosphere during Day Three of the Second Test Match between Australia and South Africa at Adelaide Oval in November 2012 © Getty Images

By Aditya Shamlal

Ever since as I a young boy when I went to Ferozshah Kotla to watch cricket or the RK Khanna Stadium to watch tennis, the lack of good food always puzzled me. When one is young, the magic of being able to watch one’s heroes live negates the hunger, the cold, the heat, the horrible seating etc. that a majority of the people in Indian stadiums have to deal with.

Anybody who has seen – in person or on television – grounds in England, South Africa, and Australia would see large grass banks with people barbecuing, guzzling beer and having a gala time. Looking at these scenes makes one wonder why we in India are treated the way we are by our cricket administrators.

Every town in India aspiring towards growth has a world-class cricket stadium, with world class facilities for players – the latest being the fabulous venue of the first India-England One-Day International (ODI) at Rajkot where the media box resembles the iconic spaceship at Lord’s.

The cash-rich Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has done a lot for the comfort of the players, but very little for the fan who played a huge role in filling its coffers. I remember going to the Kotla in 1999. There were no comfortable seats for spectators to watch the match for 7-8 hours; just concrete slabs, dirt banks with plastic chairs which were either broken or rickety. The food was pathetic, with day old aloo patties and veg burgers available as snacks and rajma/curry rice available for lunch from local caterers.
 
Those plastic chairs and concrete slabs at Kotla have given way to proper, fixed seating, and the local caterer has given way to Dominos. But are the grounds anywhere close to world-class facilities for the fans who spend hours in line, freezing in the cold of the North or baking in the Southern heat to get into the stadium?

Take for example the recent news about Manchester City signing on with Fabulous Fan Fare to provide in-stadium catering to its fans, during the next season of the Premier League. Fabulous Fan Fare is a joint venture between Fabulous Foods (a company owned by Jamie Oliver, a famous TV Chef in the United Kingdom) and Legends Hospitality, well known for its catering work at Yankee Stadium and New York and the Cowboys Stadium at Dallas. The aim of this deal is to provide world-class and tasty food for all the fans who visit Etihad Stadium to watch Manchester City to play football.

Given the current business model of Indian cricket, where television essentially pays for cricket, the fan in the stadium – and you have to be a real die-hard cricket fan to go to stadiums nowadays – is short-changed. The lines stretch on for miles and miles, the security pretty much harasses you five times before you get anywhere close to the cricketing action. The cricket thereafter has to be watched from behind a wire mesh or cage, unless off course you can afford the corporate box tickets. With sports bodies and franchises the world over, trying harder to bring fans to stadiums, it is quite astounding how our state cricket boards and the BCCI take no initiative whatsoever to make live cricket watching in India easier and enjoyable experience.

This is one of the major reasons for negligible attendance for Test matches in India. The BCCI and the state associations should stick to their core strengths of marketing Indian cricket, and managing the teams, and outsource or partner with bodies that specialises in in-stadia hospitality and facilities. This will allow the BCCI and the state associations to make their stadiums fan-friendly and give Indian cricket fans the best-possible deal.

With stadium facilities for fans still nowhere close to international standards, it is unreasonable to expect people, even those who have the time, to sacrifice eight hours of the day to sit in oppressive conditions and get no comfort in return. Unless the BCCI take some initiative and get state boards to improve the conditions for fans in the stadiums, more people will stay away from the grounds and follow matches on television or the internet itself. It goes without saying that empty stadiums look bad on television.

(Aditya Shamlal, a graduate from National Law School of India, Bangalore, worked with one of India’s leading corporate law firms in Delhi and moved as Senior Consultant at Gamechanger in October 2012. The above post has been reproduced with permission from Gamechanger)

 
 

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

More

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 10, 2014  at Dubai

Australia won by 5 wkts

Photos

India vs West Indies 4th ODI at Dharamsala

Videos

AB de Villiers speaks ahead of New Zealand ODIs

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: 5 memorable matches

Yasir Shah: The new spinning sensation for Pakistan

Virat Kohli takes wicket with the first (0th?) ball of his T20I career

Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography — a litany of complaints with a few redeeming patches

Banning West Indian players in IPL can affect the ‘Brand value’ of the event – Will BCCI take this gamble?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 BCCI India India vs West Indies India vs West Indies 2014 New Zealand Pakistan Salaam Cricket South Africa West Indies West Indies cancel India tour 2014 West Indies tour of India 2014 West Indies vs India West Indies vs India 2014

IPL success embodies emergence of sports as global industry, says India’s representative at UN

Live Cricket Score: New Zealand vs South Africa, 1st ODI at Mount Maunganui

Live Scorecard: New Zealand vs South Africa, 1st ODI at Mount Maunganui

Kevin Pietersen is probably the best cricketer I have played with: Eoin Morgan

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: SLC defend decision to tour

James Neesham can provide more impetus to New Zealand’s weakened batting up the order

Virender Sehwag turns 36: Five most memorable innings of the Nawab of Najafgarh

New Zealand begin ICC World Cup 2015 preparations with 15 ODIs in store

Virender Sehwag paid birthday tribute to by Sophos Antivirus

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: 5 memorable matches

Fan of the Day

Gautam Singh

Gautam Singh

474 Posts | 5 Fans

Video Highlights Mohammed Yousuf drops catch after watching a girl in bikini

सेक्स टिप # 13: महिलाओं में कामेच्छा (low libido) की समस्या

आपकी दिवाली खुशनुमा, सुरक्षित और शुभ हो

iOS 8.1 update now available bringing Camera Roll, SMS Relay, iCloud Photo library among others

Movies to watch this week: Happy New Year!

Narendra Modi personified Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva of popularity at Madison Square Garden

IBM to pay $1.5 billion to GlobalFoundries to buy its chip division

Bigg Boss 8 highlights: RJ Pritam solves inmates problems while Ali Quli Mirza creates more on Day 29!

Dasvandh Network’s appeal to help reach goal of $80,000 to help Sikh cause in North America

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here