The Bangladesh Cricket Board on Thursday changed the timing of the Bangladesh Premier League matches in a bid to woo the spectators to the stadium to enjoy the matches live.
Cricket fans so far gave the tournament a lukewarm response as they mostly preferred to watch the matches sitting in the comfort of home, which already left Chittagong Vikings skipper Mushfiqur Rahim expressing his frustration.
Under the new timing the first match of the day will start at 1:30pm instead of 12:30pm from now onwards while the second match will start at 6:30pm in place of 5:20pm.
The matches of Friday, however, will start at 2:00pm and 7:00pm respectively as per the previous schedule.
‘We have changed the time schedule for the benefit of the spectators,’ BPL governing council acting chairman Sheikh Sohel told New Age. ‘When the matches start at 12:30pm, it becomes too early for the spectators.
‘In the previous editions, the last match finished at 11:00 or 11:30pm and we saw no difficulties for the fans to go back home. I think in the time when the matches will end it will make problem for them also,’ he added.
Sohel played down the suggestion that the distribution of huge number of complimentary tickets to different stake holders denying the genuine sports lovers had contributed to the empty gallery in BPL.
The BCB official claimed that the recently-concluded parliamentary election had rather affected the tournament as they could not run promotional activities for the tournament adequately.
‘Actually the tournament was mostly affected by election. Everyone was busy with the election and only a few days after the election the BPL got underway, so it lacked the spectators in the gallery.
‘Match timing was also an issue. The office and school going people could not make it to the stadium for the timing. Now we have changed the timing and hope that the cricket crazy fans will come,’ he added.
Sohel admitted that the prices of tickets are higher than international matches but added that they had little option to make it cheap as two matches in a day raised their cost.
‘People have to work in two shifts during BPL time. So our expenses become double in that time. That’s why we don’t have way to reduce the ticket price,’ Sohel said.
Rangpur Riders chief executive officer, Ishtiaq Sadek welcomed BCB’s decision of changing the match timing, which he believed would bring more number of fans.
‘It’s definitely a good decision. Previously the matches started in an odd time, though now the many matches will be affected by dew,’ he said, hoping that fans will start coming from the second phase in Sylhet.
‘I hope to see good number of crowd from Sylhet. Due to election, people did not know much about the tournament but after the Sylhet phase, I think there will be a lot of spectators in Mirpur also,’ he said.
The Rangpur official denied that franchises were wasting too many complementary tickets.
‘We, the franchises got a very few number of tickets. Its 120 tickets per match with 20 grand stand tickets. Last year we had to spend about Tk one core and 20 lakh to bring our supporters to the ground,’ he added.
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