Theatre chains look to cash in on India-Pak T20 World Cup match on Sunday

Leading multiplex chains INOX Leisure Ltd and PVR Cinemas will screen all matches to be played by India at the World Cup 2022 in their cinema halls across the country.
Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | AP)
Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | AP)

MUMBAI/ DELHI: It's the perfect marriage of cinema and cricket, the two 'religions' of the country, that will play out on the big screens on Sunday as India take on arch-rivals Pakistan in their ICC T20 World Cup opener.

While some lucky ones will witness the rivalry play on the field at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), many will watch the match on their TV and smartphone screens.

Other cricket fans will be glued to comfortable seats at the theatres where they will see the events unfold on the 70mm screen.

Leading multiplex chains INOX Leisure Ltd and PVR Cinemas will screen all matches to be played by India at the World Cup 2022 in their cinema halls across the country, starting with the marquee clash between the Men in Blue, headed by Rohit Sharma, and the Babar Azam-led Men in Green Sunday.

Following an agreement with the International Cricket Council (ICC) in this regard, INOX Leisure had last week said it will showcase all group matches to be played by Team India, followed by the semi-finals and the final match.

While screening of cricket matches is "not a new trend", it is a highly profitable venture, said Rajender Singh Jyala, chief programming officer, INOX Leisure Ltd.

India versus Pakistan cricket matches are a big draw every time and the scenario is no different for Sunday's match, he said.

The shows at cinema halls are "houseful", pretty much like the sell-out Super 12 clash of the T20 World Cup to be played at the MCG.

"In the past, we have shown cricket and football matches. It is scheduled by the ICC or FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) or whenever they have tournaments."

"Like, a month ago we had Asia cup matches being screened, before that we had the last World Cup two-three years ago. In a business sense, that particular event is profitable as the show is houseful," Jyala told PTI.

PVR Cinemas, another prominent film theatre company, will screen all matches played by India as well as semi-finals and the final of the tournament.

Sunday's game will be streamed live in 100 screens across 45 cities in India.

Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, JMD, PVR Ltd, said the match screening is part of the multiplex chain's strategy of serving diverse content to customers.

"PVR has always had a diversified content strategy.

We are constantly looking at ways in which we can expand our content offerings, exhibition of tomorrow's game is a step in the same direction," Bijli told PTI.

Without revealing the official figures, Bijli said the pre-sales of the match showcase have been "strong".

"We are now looking forward to an exciting game!" he added.

According to Jyala, the cricket match will be screened in 90 INOX screens across India, except southern states of Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and other places.

"An India and Pakistan cricket match generates curiosity and whenever we open for advance booking, the tickets are sold out soon, whether it is World Cup or Asia Cup. Besides India versus Pakistan, the big matches against Australia, South Africa, and England also get good traction," he said.

Jyala also informed the ticket prices for Sunday's match differ from location to location, starting from Rs 250 to Rs 500 for the live telecast, to be screened between 1.30 pm and 6 pm.

Asked if the match's screening will affect film shows, Jyala said the company has enough screens to host both without disturbing the regular movie-going experience.

Earlier this year in March, INOX Leisure and PVR had announced a merger to create the country's largest multiplex chain.

Last year, both PVR Cinemas and INOX Leisure Ltd had entered into a collaboration with the ICC to live screen all India games, along with the semi-finals and finals of the T20 World Cup (2021).

Back in 2010, many multiplex operators including PVR and INOX as well as single screen theatres had 3D screenings of four pre-final matches in theatres across India during the third season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

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