Metrolife: IPL free passes sold for Rs 7,000

One more match to go in Bengaluru; sale of complimentary tickets points to insider involvement

Small groups were active selling tickets, and the police went after them on Tuesday.
Highlights: 
Metrolife expose leads to better vigil, but the black market around the cricket stadium is still active in the shadows

The IPL ticket racket, which flourished openly and was exposed by Metrolife on April 27, moved into the shadows on Tuesday.

Police security around Chinnaswamy stadium was tighter for the match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians, and not many touts were in sight near the gates facing Cubbon Park.

While the ticket counters and online portals said tickets for the match were sold out, touts were busy on the northern side of the stadium, selling tickets of many denominations, besides passes marked ‘not for sale.’

The black market has thrived ahead of every match at the stadium. Bengaluru has hosted six matches so far, with one more to go.

The touts made a big killing on April 25, when Royal Challengers Bangalore played Chennai Super Kings. Many fans had come from Tamil Nadu to watch the match, especially since IPL matches in Chennai were cancelled because of demonstrations in connection with the Cauvery water dispute.

The touts operated more discreetly on Tuesday (May 1), between the Cubbon Park Metro station and Cubbon Road.

Lower denomination tickets of Rs 800 and Rs 1,750, were up for sale on Tuesday, a holiday for May Day, as also complimentary passes with a face value of Rs 750. The black rates were between Rs 3,000 and Rs 7,000. A tout offered to sell this reporter five complimentary passes (Rs 750 stand) for Rs 7,000 each. When the reporter said the premium was too high, the tout said demand was high, and he would run out of tickets soon.

A second group was selling Rs 1,750 tickets for Rs 5,000 each. When this reporter sought two tickets, the tout promptly handed over the tickets and said, “The rates are not negotiable.” He was quick to add, “Do you want more? I can arrange for two more at the same rate.”

If the touts were making quick money, cricket fans willing to pay a ransom too. “I managed to buy a Rs 1,750 ticket for Rs 3,000. I am looking around for another,” a fan said.

Not that there was any dearth of tickets. A tout selling complimentary passes was saying, “Buy this. It comes with free food, drinks, and a Dominos pizza.” And a fan promptly succumbed to the sales pitch. Surprisingly, tickets were being sold even two hours after the match began. Some people walking out halfway through the match sold their tickets to those waiting outside.

Fans outside were willing to pay between Rs 500 and Rs 1,500 for a ticket. A woman walking out of the match was approached by a man who offered to buy her ticket for Rs 1,000.

“I was alone and too shocked to react,” she said, as she exited from Gate 15.

 

Rs 5 crore - Official revenue from each IPL match played in Bengaluru. Mafia makes a five- to ten-fold profit on tickets.  

 

Shooed away

An IPL fan, who had just bought a Rs 750 complimentary ticket in black, rushed towards the entrance meant exclusively for KSCA members. A senior KSCA official stopped the fan, tore up his ticket and asked him to leave immediately. “Almost all complimentary tickets are sold. This is a sad truth and it happens during every IPL match,” he told this reporter, who witnessed the scene.

 

Rs 35,000 ‘tickets’ mostly VIP passes

A good 10 percent of all IPL tickets are given away as free passes. The stadium seats about 35,000 spectators, and that means at least 3,500 complimentary tickets.

Corporate sponsors, members of the Board of Cricket Control in India and Karnataka State Cricket Association, municipal officials and police corner a lion’s share of these free passes. A senior IPL executive said, “For the P2 stand (Rs 35,000 a ticket), only 150 tickets are sold. The rest are given away as complimentary passes.”

 

The maximum number of complimentary passes are issued for the P3 stand, where tickets are priced at Rs 750. “Once we hand over the tickets, we don’t keep track of what happens to them or who it is given to. Our job ends when we give away the complimentary tickets,” he says.

 

KSCA ‘unaware’

A spokesman says KSCA is unaware of the racket thriving outside the stadium. 

“The police should take strict action against those selling tickets in black. If they are able to identify touts selling complimentary passes, we will also be able to act against them. We would like to know who is behind the racket. If those selling free passes around the stadium are identified, we will file a police complaint and ensure passes are not given to them again,” he told Metrolife.

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Metrolife: IPL free passes sold for Rs 7,000

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