BANGALORE: We eat, sleep and breathe cricket throughout the year. So, it comes as no surprise that this sport is almost a religion in our country. With Indian Premier League-5 (IPL) fever spreading and gripping the already cricket crazy city, restaurants and pubs have geared up to provide the ultimate ‘cricketainment ‘ for Bangaloreans. In the earlier versions, the IPL frenzy had faded a little bit and the fans had toned down their hysterics but this season, there is a marked change, with the fans returning to the stands and clamouring for more.
Once the pub city used to witness huge crowds in the downturn areas where fans thronged the city clubs and pubs in M G Road, Brigade Road and other places but today, the scenario has completely changed. Owing to ticket price hikes, heavy traffic snarls and the recent ‘overdose of cricket’, most pubs and clubs in Bangalore have seen a steep decline in customer footfall.
While some clubs have installed big screens and sound systems for the IPL matches, there has been little action in most of the clubs in Bangalore. “We haven’t done anything specific for IPL this year. In fact, the last match felt like a regular Saturday here. Once the semi-finals start, we are hoping to purchase the license to screen the IPL matches at The Bierre Club,” said Vishal, Director-Operations, The Bierre Club.
With Bangalore being one of the most expensive cities in the country, people would rather not spend a lot of money on clubs. “Over the past couple of months, the price of food, beer and fuel has drastically increased . Last year, we spent lot of time in restaurants and clubs that were screening the IPL matches. However, this year I would rather throw a party at home than head out amidst the ‘traffic chaos’,” said Mohan Verma, a professional.
When City Express took a closer look at some of the other clubs, it looked as if the IPL magic is yet to catch up. Indiranagar Club has installed a giant screen for the members, but no special menu yet to ring in the cricket carnival.
“May be there is so much cricket being played these days, IPL has become just another match. But, due to its good branding and well-packaged entertainment, it still has the magic for holding the attention of the fans and viewers. In that sense, going to the club with the family to unwind and watching bowlers getting belted all over is a treat,” says Uday, a businessman and Indiranagar Club member.
The East Cultural Association (ECA) plans to step up the IPL tempo only during the last stages of the match. “We are planning to have special plans in place during the Semi-final and final matches. As of now, there’s nothing spectacular that we have planned,” an ECA office-bearer said.