Vantage point

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mukesh Ambani should ponder this

So over the weekend, I watched the IPL matches. And I noticed that most venues were packed with crowds, but Mohali was not. I was wondering if that was because as opposed to venues like Chinnaswamy and Wankhede, which are right in the heart of the city, Mohali is a bit inaccessible.

And if that is the case, will we see a half empty stadium when the Mumbai matches are held at the DY Patil Stadium in Nerul (New Bombay) as opposed to Wankhede. Wankhede is set to be renovated so this move is a necessary one. But thinking of it from a Bombayite perspective, it is easy for me to go to Wankhede in South Bombay. All locals from the Central and Western lines go there, and plus in the evenings I would be traveling against the rush hour traffic flow.

Nerul on the other hand is served by the Harbor line, which is low on capacity, train frequency and consequently really really high on crowds at all time. I can only shudder at the thought of how crowded it would be in rush hour traffic, which is the direction I would be traveling in if I were going from Bombay to New Bombay in the evening.

So once the matches move to Nerul, won't there definitely be a drop in the attendance leading to empty seats? Or is the population of New Bombay enough to fill all the seats? Maybe Mukesh Ambani plans to give free tickets to people working in the Dhirubhai Ambani Knowledge City in New Bombay. I know that gate collections probably make up a very small proportion of revenues, but I wonder if it would not have made more sense to install lights at Brabourne and play the matches there.

I just realized that since I left Bombay, lights have been installed at Brabourne for the finals of the 2006 Champions Trophy and for the India-Australia Twenty20 match last year. This shift to Nerul is then even more puzzling.