Furious cricket enthusiasts on Sunday joined Safir Anand, a noted lawyer who has been complaining about the mismanagement in ticket sales for the ongoing Cricket World Cup, after the high profile match between India and Australia witnessed thin attendance despite no tickets available.
"I have seen world cup matches across the world. You have ballots and once you choose matches you can get tickets to one or more matches. Even in Wimbledon, the ballot is open for a few days and then a draw of lots is done," Anand said.
He called the ticket system for the ongoing tournament as "flawed", according to a media report by ET. "It needed you to rely on a portal that kept crashing out on day one. Didn't show any accurate info on waiting and even if you logged in and saw seats, it created problems in picking them," he said.
Furthermore, he said World Cup seats are randomly opened as if cricket lovers should remain logged in for the whole day. "Giving tickets 1-3 hours before a match assumes hotels, airlines, trains, etc. are sorted."
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been facing flak for its handling of ticket sales amid low attendance from the beginning of the tournament.
"My ticket-buying experience was harrowing, and after seeing empty seats in India's opening game, it is bewildering as to where the tickets disappeared," said Mumbai-based marketing professional Sachin Gupta, who couldn't book tickets for any of the India matches. "It is high time that ticketing for such high-profile events is done transparently," he said.
Such poor spectator turnout has shocked cricket fans globally as India, famous for its cricket-crazy population, is hosting the event after 12 years. Fans have also called into question the cricket board's event management skills.
Users on social media posted images of empty seats during both India versus Australia game in Chepauk stadium and England versus New Zealand in Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi stadium.
Fans have been complaining about non-availability of match tickets from beginning of the sales in the last week of August. As a result, BCCI had to release 400,000 additional tickets for the World Cup amid heavy demand from fans and limited availability of tickets.
"There is no transparency over the distribution of tickets," a former BCCI official requesting anonymity told ET. "Ideally, BCCI could have planned this better. If you look at other international sporting events, match tickets go on sale well in advance. This gives fans enough time to plan their travel and make their hotel and flight bookings."