New Delhi: The Indian Premier League (IPL) in South Africa has got the best possible start as tickets for the opening day extravaganza have been sold out within two hours.
IPL Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi told CNN-IBN that the unprecedented rush for tickets will result in a full house at Newlands, Cape Town on April 18.
"We are expecting a full house in Cape Town," Modi told CNN-IBN on Friday. "From all the indications we had about slow sales and that it would take a few weeks to get the sales up, I'm happy to report that we went on radio to break the campaign with the sale starting this morning and the tickets were sold out within two hours."
NEW VENUE: IPL Chairman Lalit Modi (C) at a news conference in Johannesburg on March 24.
Modi said the IPL has a good opportunity to build a global fan base with the second edition in South Africa.
"I think the whole idea is of displaying the flavour of India all throughout the tournament," he said. "We have a lot of entertainment and great cricket around, and the way we are selling it to the people of South Africa, they should come and embrace the teams. It's a part of their life like you would support any other football team and make the teams known all across the world. We want to make sure that the stadiums are full and that's our only objective right now, which is to build a fan base."
Modi added that people from around the world have already signed up for the event. "We have had a good response. Kingfisher Airlines started its flights to Cape Town and there are some other airlines who are bringing in packages. We have had a few thousand tickets sold to Indian fans. In reality, we have had some 600-700 confirmed bookings, with a few hundred coming out of England itself. About 400 bookings have been confirmed from the Middle East and some people from Australia are also coming in."
An extravagant opening ceremony will kick in cricket's biggest carnival, followed by a double header. Chennai Super Kings take on the Mumbai Indians in the opening game, followed by defending champions Rajasthan Royals taking on the Bangalore Royal Challengers.