After costs were increased by a factor of 40 and matches were played in nearly empty venues, Sri Lanka Cricket said on Sunday that they will reduce ticket prices for the Asia Cup by up to 95 percent.
Historically, one-day international match tickets in crisis-stricken Sri Lanka have typically been priced at roughly 250 rupees ($0.78) each.
This was increased to 10,000 rupees for the Asia Cup, which is being organized by the Pakistan Cricket Board despite taking place in Sri Lanka for the most part. As a result, cricket fans in the island nation have stayed away in droves to avoid paying the exorbitant price.
The R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo has a capacity of 35,000, but only about 7,000 Sri Lankan fans showed up to watch their team play Bangladesh in the Super Four on Saturday. As a result, the Sri Lankans had to deal with the embarrassing sight of rows and rows of empty seats in the stadium.
Sri Lanka Cricket announced on Sunday a price decrease of up to 95 percent for all of the remaining Super Four games. This includes the headline battle between arch-rivals India and Pakistan, for which tickets can now be purchased for as little as 500 rupees.
The exorbitant price increases enraged the loyal customer base.
Food, fuel, and medicine were in limited supply in Sri Lanka for several months in the previous year as a result of a foreign exchange crunch. This led to widespread demonstrations that ultimately led to the removal of the country’s president.
As a warmup for the 2017 One-Day International World Cup, the 50-over Asia Cup is now being played in Sri Lanka instead of Pakistan. This is because India declined to travel to Pakistan because of the ongoing political unrest there.
“Pakistan have kept the ticket pricing too high and that has kept fans away from the stadiums,” a local Sri Lankan official told AFP on the condition of anonymity. “Pakistan have kept the ticket pricing too high.”
“Ticket costs… are way beyond the reach of a common man,” he added. “A common man can’t afford them.”
“This is very strange. We attempted to reason with the PCB; but, they had their own motives, possibly due to the fact that they had lost money.
The PCB did not provide an instant response to questions or requests for comment from the AFP.
Sunday’s match between India and Pakistan, for which grandstand seats cost a staggering 64,000 rupees (about $200), was played before a crowd of only a few dozen spectators at most.
And the audience was not amused.
“This is not to our advantage. Supun Vijayarathnam, a tea vendor outside the Colombo stadium, told AFP, “We love cricket but cannot pay so much to watch a match.”
“I have paid anything between 100 and 200 rupees to attend a match here, and I have done so numerous times. But I’ll have to settle for seeing it on TV this time, which means I’ll only have to deal with the ambient noise.
Following the cancellation of their first match in Pallekele due to inclement weather, fans from both India and Pakistan made the trip to watch the highly anticipated rematch.
We shelled out 16,000 Sri Lankan rupees for the privilege of playing this game. “We had to pay 15,000 rupees in Kandy as well, where we went,” Arun Kumar Yadav, a resident of the city of Lucknow in northern India, said AFP. “We were also there in Kandy.”
The 35-year-old customer continued, “Since the last time we were here, the prices have significantly increased.” “However, it’s the passion for the game of cricket.”
Despite the fact that the game was a huge success, there were less fans and less of a vibe surrounding it, according to a street vendor selling India and Pakistan shirts and flags.