Recently, I had the privilege of attending the match between Pune Warriors and the Chennai Super Kings at the newly built Subrata Roy Stadium here in Pune.
Thought about sharing my experiences here.
So, a couple of friends and me decided to go for this match – which took place on the 14th of April, 8:00 pm.
We booked the tickets on BookMyShow and the only ones available by the time we booked it on around the 6th / 8th of April was the Rs. 1,500 ones.
So we got those.
On the day of the match, we drove 30 kms outside Pune to reach the stadium.
Yes, I live near the airport and the stadium is a good 30 kms from it!
I left home at 4:45 pm because a friend had advised me to leave earlier – and was parked at the parking only by 6:40.
It takes almost an hour to cover the final 2 kms as cars are backed up so long.
Once you are parked on some ground adjacent to the highway, you need to trek a good 2 – 2.5 kms (atleast) to reach the stadium.
Once we got there, we realised that we were in the North Stand and the Stadium gate opens at the South Stand. So we had to literally traverse all around to get to the North Stand.
This walking and getting to our seats took another hour and we were seated only at 7:40 pm – just in time for the toss.
However, the atmosphere at the stadium was electric and that is the only solace (apart from Pune winning) that day.
To cut a long story short, this was my first experience and I will probably not go back again – unless I have VIP seats and parking (which is inside the stadium – at a distance of 10m from the entrance!).
The following are problems, (I feel) that will eventually kill the live match watching experience in Pune atleast – unless something is drastically done about it by next year.
- The stadium is frikin’ out of the town – with no public transportation there.
You literally have to drive on a highway to get there and it takes a good 2 hours to get there. I know you cannot get the stadium inside town, but you could atleast have special buses or something run which ferry people back and forth from the stadium on match days!
- The parking is shit! Literally.
- By the time you walk from the parking to the stadium, you are exhausted. Forget about having the energy to cheer your team.
- Food inside the stadium is daylight robbery.
They will not allow you to take any beverage, water etc. A 200 ml glass of Pepsi which the chap was filling from a warm 2 ltr bottle and serving (not even fountain pepsi) was for 50 bucks. A Rs. 65 dominoes pan pizza – which again tasted like crap was being sold for Rs. 150. Go figure!
- The music, cheerleading, announcements actually stopped at 10 pm!
We were like – WTF? So for the entire Pune batting innings, there were no cheer leaders and no music.
- The crowd gets excited only when the camera is on them.
When you are watching this on TV, you feel that the entire crowd is energized throughout the game – but in reality, most of the crowd is dead for 95% of the match.
- There will inadvertently be a*holes who will spoil the entire experience for you.
There was a middle aged, man sitting behind us (with his family in tow) passing lewd comments and yelling in our ears. Really screwed up the experience for us.
- To get drinking water, you have to trek all the way outside your stand. Water is not allowed inside the stand so that they can sell you more pepsi (which is allowed inside). Go figure!
- Once the match gets over, and people start streaming out, there is not an inch of space to walk. I was actually expecting a stampeded to break out anytime. If things are not fixed, I am sure it will.
- The walk back to the car is a good 40 mins at 12 pm at night – which sucks!
- It takes another hour for you to get your car out of the parking to the main road – which sucks again – considering its already 1 am.
I reached my place only by 2 am at night for a match which got over by 11 pm INSIDE my own city!
However, if you are a die-hard cricket / Pune / IPL fan, you will probably enjoy yourself.
There are a couple of pros too:
- The stadium is fantastic!
- The atmosphere until 10 pm is electric – no amount of 50″ HD television can match and the view is breath taking.
However, all said and done, I will be catching the rest of the Pune matches from the comfort of my home with God given, high definition – where water is free and I can feed pepsi to an entire party of people for 50 bucks! And also go to bed by 11:15 for a match which ends at 11!
The video below captures the atmosphere – minutes before the start of the game. It was electric!