Where have all the tickets gone? Cricket fans in a tizzy as men's ODI World Cup approaches

Rohit Sharma will lead India while Babar Azam will lead Pakistan in the upcoming men's Cricket World Cup.
Rohit Sharma will lead India while Babar Azam will lead Pakistan in the upcoming men's Cricket World Cup.


  • Millions of cricket fans are venting their fury on social media, most cursing the ticketing platform for the mismanagement

NEW DELHI , MUMBAI : For Rahul Sharma, 40, an ardent Indian cricket fan living in Singapore, the eager excitement of watching Team India’s performance at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 in his home country has slowly turned into frustration.

Despite having booked flights to India for himself and his family months in advance, his quest to secure tickets, especially for the coveted India matches from BookMyShow, the Indian cricket board’s official ticketing partner, has been fruitless. All he has managed to pick up so far: Tickets for two non-India matches, leaving him still in pursuit of prized India match tickets.

“I have been logging in on BookMyShow everyday for the last week and a half. Yesterday, when they announced the availability of tickets starting at 8pm, I logged in 30 minutes ahead of time and clicked on the ‘book’ button on the dot, but it put me on a two-hour waiting window. And now, it says all tickets are sold out. This is frustrating," he said.

Sharma is one among many cricket fans from around the globe who want to watch their favourite team playing in the 50-over world cup but are unable to secure tickets online.

“I used four different devices in parallel," said Pawan Singh, a Delhi-based engineer working with a multinational company. He, along with his friends, was looking to buy five tickets for the Dharamsala match between India and New Zealand on 22 October. “All my friends were also trying in parallel. None of us got tickets. It’s not possible that matches will sell out within minutes. There seems to be a backdoor for people who have connections. But what about people like us?" he asked.

Millions of cricket fans are venting their fury on social media, most cursing the ticketing platform for the mismanagement. However, two officials in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have a different story to tell.

“It’s total chaos inside BCCI. Earlier, it was decided that at least 30% of tickets would be sold online. But, in reality, less than 10% of tickets are made available to BookMyShow," said one of the officials on condition of anonymity.

The second official confirmed that for the most-anticipated clash—the India vs. Pakistan match on 14 October—less than 15,000 tickets were available online. The Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad has a seating capacity of 132,000. For India-Australia (Chennai), India-Afghanistan (New Delhi) and India-Bangladesh (Pune) matches, less than 10,000 tickets were on sale.

In fact, former cricketer Venkatesh Prasad posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday, “I urge the BCCI to have more transparency in the World Cup ticketing system and not take fans for granted. Definitely, in a stadium like Ahmedabad, for an #IndvsPak clash, more than the sold 8,500 tickets need to be available when the capacity is one lakh+. Likewise, for all other matches, a larger chunk needs to be for the fans. It will be more fulfilling if the diehard fan is kept happy and not deprived of this opportunity instead of reserving a large chunk for corporates and members."

To be sure, BCCI has to allot some tickets to the International Cricket Council and some to state cricket associations. Usually, some tickets are also sold offline. However, this time, there is no transparency on the allotments and offline allocation.

An email query sent to BCCI remained unanswered till press time, while the ICC spokesperson declined to comment, stating that the ticketing sits fully with the host nation.

As of now, tickets for big world cup matches, to be held across multiple cities, are practically unavailable and are reported as sold out on the online ticketing platform. The situation is such that people are ready to shell out 2-3X of the ticket price to buy them in black.

Even Mastercard Inc., which has partnered with ICC and offering limited tickets in pre-sale, hasn’t got many tickets, which caused the payments company to face the ire of its customers. The company did not respond to a detailed questionnaire sent by Mint till press time.

BookMyShow representatives declined to comment. However, in its post on X, the firm wrote last week: “The love for cricket in our country has always been unparalleled, and it has been no different these past few days as several million fans logged onto BookMyShow, all at once, to get their hands on limited tickets for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. We understand that not all fans had an easy time, experiencing queues and eventually heartbreak in their attempt to book tickets. In a country like India, which is deeply passionate about cricket, the demand is always massive as scores of fans try to book tickets, with queues naturally tending to be long. While it is always a race against time to get access to this cricketing extravaganza, we are striving to be able to give you a fighting chance to get access to the tickets."

Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.


Switch to the Mint app for fast and personalized news - Get App