The IPL mandarins in BCCI may not have been disturbed by the gloomy picture painted by the various TV rating agencies and surveys. But they will surely have to stand and take note of the gate receipts. The last two games at Wankhede Stadium have featured four of the best teams in the tournament, but you wouldn’t know that from the spectator turnout.
On Tuesday, the Royal Challengers Bangalore-Chennai Super Kings playoff witnessed a half-empty stadium which can seat about 33,000 spectators. But the BCCI officials could take still take comfort from the fact that it wasn’t a match featuring the home team; the Mumbai Indians. Everyone expected the stands to be jam-packed for the Mumbai Indians versus Kolkata Knight Riders clash on Wednesday, especially after their nail-biting encounter at Eden Gardens.
But the turn-out on Wednesday was no better. Barely half the stadium was filled with people who had turned up to watch the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Jacques Kallis, Lasith Malinga, Yusuf Pathan and Brett Lee slug it out in the eliminator – the winner of which will take on Bangalore in the second playoff on Friday.
The Board may not admit it, but spectator-fatigue is finally setting in and even though the next couple of games may be sell-outs, thanks to Chennai’s march in the competition, and the fact that they are yet to lose a game at home, the end of the tournament will surely leave IPL commissioner Chirayu Amin and his subordinates looking at ways to ensure they can revive the same enthusiasm that suspended IPL commissioner Lalit Modi had so masterfully managed to inspire in the first three editions.