Many cinema halls around the country have decided to create a stadium-like atmosphere by screening live the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.
The matches, from March 12 to April 25, will be played in India after being held in South Africa the last time. The matches will be screened in multiplexes as well as on single screens.
‘It is a new and exciting offer. Usually the traditional method is to show films in theatres, so this is something innovative,’ UFO Moviez India CEO Rajesh Mishra told IANS.
UFO Moviesz is a digital satellite cinema network that will facilitate the live showcase of matches in cinema halls.
Mishra revealed that many multiplexes warmed up to this initiative because not many big budget films are releasing during the period of the IPL.
‘IPL has become a strong property. On top of that, no big budget film is releasing during this period. So, screening matches will be beneficial for the halls because no major film shows will be affected and they (theatres) will have something to fall back upon for sustenance,’ he added.
Amit Awasthi, manager (programming and operations) of Spice Cinemas, told IANS: ‘We have eight screens and no big films are releasing during the IPL. So we thought it will be good to experiment and see the response by screening the matches.’
Industry sources say there will be benefits of watching cricket matches in cinema halls.
It will be a high definition live event, there will be uninterrupted advertisement-free viewing, 33 percent more image as well as the stadium atmosphere.
Around 800 screens around India, including close to 65 in Delhi and surrounding areas, are expected to screen the matches.
Multiplexes like Cinemax, INOX, Fame and PVR among others gearing up for this new offering.
As far as the ticket prices are concerned, halls have decided to keep them equivalent to movie ticket prices.
‘We are not increasing the ticket prices. People would have to pay what they pay for films,’ said Yogesh Raizada, corporate head (cinemas) of Wave Cinemas.
‘We are planning corporate and marketing tie-ups to increase our profits. We won’t put any pressure on ticket prices,’ he added.
‘We will decide something between Rs.400-500 for the tickets,’ said Rohan Doshi, in-charge of bulk bookings, Cinemax.
So are they expecting a good response?
‘Its an experiment. We don’t know what to expect but I’m sure we won’t suffer losses even if we don’t make heavy profits,’ said Awasthi.
Cricket fans are excited too.
‘We now experience the feel of a stadium without being in the stadium. I am planning a bulk booking for all my friends so that we can watch the matches together,’ said Shantanu Roy, a banker.