Saturday, January 5, 2008

Chennai Open - So Far, No Matter How Close !

If you were planning to catch a match at the Chennai Open any time before this year, you just had to walk into the stadium on the day of the match, and you could get any number of tickets. At least the tickets for the opening days were pretty easy to get cos' the number of true tennis fans was not so high, and the rich faking Chennai crowd ( posers!! ) and the 'just curious' fan did not bother about the tournament till the last two days, so there used to be this demand for tickets on the last day alone, but then this year it has been a different story altogether.

The organizers say they are very happy with the ticket demand this year, and are laughing all the way to their banks, cos' this is the first year since 1998 when all the season tickets were sold out, in 1988 the Chennai Open then known as 'Gold Flake Open' sold out its full capacity with two Wimbledon champions Boris Becker and Patrick Rafter participating. But, in 2000 and 2001, the top seeds Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Magnus Norman respectively, exited in the very first round to leave the stands almost empty for the rest of the tournament. The interest in the event was revived a bit with the organizers roping in top players like Carlos Moya, David Nalbandian, Thai star Paradorn Srichapan in subsequent years. Also Rafael Nadal ( the current World No. 2) has been a regular here for the past two years .

With 4 players from the top 20 in the world like Nadal, Carlos Moya, Marcos Baghdatis, Mikhail Youzhny and defending champion Xavier Malisse and a total of 16 players from the top 100 taking part in the 13th edition of the event this year, this is by far the best edition ever, at least on paper, but fan satisfaction has reached an all time low with non-availability of tickets at the counters, this is because of the management's decision to sell tickets in advance for all matches. With all the hype surrounding the event this year, all the season passes( sold at 1500 a piece) were grabbed by the tennis fans who could afford them, the rest went to the event sponsors(regardless of whether they were going to be used or not). All the other single day tickets was fully bought by the mob of black marketeers who've set up business outside the stadium.

The going rate for a ticket worth 100 bucks is 500 right now on the fifth day, and should go up to at least 1000 bucks per ticket for the last two days. So if you are planning to attend the last two days be prepared to shell out 2000 bucks, but then you could've saved money if you had the foresight to buy season passes in the beginning, most the the season passes were bought by people who just wanted a assured seat for the last two days, and they have no intentions of attending the first few days. Also the passes that went out to the sponsors were mostly not used at all.

So with fans waiting outside the stadium looking at ' All tickets sold out' announcements, most of the seats inside were empty, all this because the organizers didn't want to risk losing money by holding a percentage of tickets till the match day.

Image Courtesy: The Hindu

This years edition might be the best so far in the history of the event and might even promise quality action from its 'awesome' star line up. But it will surely be remembered as the year when the organizers 'screwed up'. Hopefully next year we'll have a better system of of ticket sales, now that the organizers have seen the kind of demand in Chennai, they should keep counters open till match day and make sure the middle class Chennai fan does not return home disappointed. They could probably come up with some arrangement with the sponsor passes and the season ticket holders to confirm their presence on match day, and they could maybe sell the unoccupied seats, that way they'll be selling a seat twice, and probably they could donate that money for a cause.

I'll be hoping to be able to catch a match at regular prices at least next year.

Useful Links:

Complete Stats from all editions of Chennai Open: Chennai Open Dossier.
Chennai Open on Wikipedia.


Krishna Prasad said...

hey should be Rs.2010 including parking...he he he...

vijay said...

yes,and a announcement to all those who are planning to get tickets in current,your tickets are not assured,so don't park your vehicles in advance and loose 10 bucks in case you would have to return ticketless...instead ,stay within close range of stadium(away from traffic polisers site),confirm your tics and then proceed to the parking lot...also don't park your vehicles just where ever it is free,you could be fined ...

*Sajith* said...

i also heard about this hike in ticket prices, only when my friend was about to buy one.. i told him to read this blog before taking the next step.. ;)

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