x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Big-race ticketing will be 'seamless'

The Indian Grand Prix is likely to lose face over ticketing issues, according to reports.

The inaugural Indian Grand Prix on October 30 will face none of the ticketing fiascos that have blighted recent major sporting events in the country, the head of ticketing for the race said yesterday.

Organisers of last year's Delhi Commonwealth Games were left red-faced when empty galleries greeted athletes at most of the venues while fans were turned away from box offices.

Then, during the cricket World Cup, a massive gap between demand and supply resulted in the ticket website crashing while baton-wielding police charged ticket-seeking fans in Bangalore, Nagpur and Ahmedabad.

A focus on technology and good customer support will ensure the Indian Grand Prix is not blighted by ticketing problems, said Ashish Hemrajani, the founder and chief executive of Bigtree Entertainment, the holding company for the race's official ticketing partner.

"You'd never face that kind of problem here," Hemrajani said.

"That's really our strength - excellent customer support, a robust system and the focus on technology.

"In the Indian Premier League (IPL) we do it for Mumbai, Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan. Even in IPL, there was tremendous rush but nothing went wrong. We are used to handling it. Our system works seamlessly."

Hemrajani said tickets and three-day passes priced from 3,000 to 50,000 rupees (Dh246 to Dh 4,094), will go on sale next month once he gets the go-ahead from race promoters.

With Narain Karthikeyan, the Indian driver, on the grid and a team (Force India) bearing the country's name, Hemrajani expects every ticket to sell.

"There is a lot of media hype around the race," he said. "Of course, it helps to have Indian drivers and team out there."