As the country gears up for the second season of the Indian Grand Prix, Jaypee Sports International (JPSI), organisers and owners of the Greater Noida’s Buddh International Circuit (BIC), expect 70,000-75,000 viewers to watch the race on Sunday.

This will be lower than last year, when an estimated 95,000 viewers watched the race but the organisers say it is in line with their expectations.

Celebrities to attend

Among them will be corporate honchos such as Richard Branson and celebrities such as Sachin Tendulkar, Hrithik Roshan and Sonakshi Sinha besides the Bollywood singer Shaan, who will sing the National Anthem.

According to estimates, nearly 65,000 tickets were sold by the beginning of the week tickets are being sold through portals like BookmyShow besides Café Coffee Day outlets, Mercedes dealerships and stores in malls.

Askari Zaidi, Vice-President, JPSI, said, “This is just as the international trend; volumes of tickets sold are usually lower than the first season. Also the economic sentiment among corporates has also affected ticket sales. In addition, high air fares and hotel room rates have also impacted plans of some of the fans who were planning to travel from other cities.”

He added that the company has received a good response for its premium seating J P Lounge with nearly 1000 tickets having been booked by corporates, which offers round table seating arrangement besides gourmet food and tickets are sold in the range of Rs 1.5 lakh-2 lakh.

“We had opened up the tickets much early in April and till July we received queries and bookings from international travellers who made F1 race part of their Indian itineraries,” he said. He said the revenues earned will be in line with the expectations and last year, the company earned Rs 100 crore from ticket sales.

Bookmyshow, which is selling F1 tickets, said 85 per cent of the tickets were sold out as per mid-week estimates.

Junaid Sheikh, operations-head Bookmyshow, said: “Nearly half of the tickets are sold out in some categories while other categories are completely sold out. We received bookings from international travellers besides F1 fans from Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Pune.”

However, some have pointed out to with a large number of cricket events happening simultaneously, corporates shifted spends on buying tickets for events like the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka that worked out an affordable destination and the Champions League T20.

The Formula One Paddock Club tickets are priced at $5460 per person, according to the F1 official Web site. It offers VIP access to circuit; open bar with Champagne, gourmet lunch with wines, pit lane walkabouts and race viewing experience with among others is being offered at w whopping lounges for a premium viewing experience.

HNIs evince interest

Shashank Shekhar, AVP, TUI India, one of the authorised distributors for Paddock Club tickets, said, “We have received a lot of enquiries from high-networth individuals and Paddock Club is just not going to see sponsors and corporate but also some families this season.” TUI is also selling other F1 tickets as part of its packages, especially to international travellers.

Suvrangsu Mukherjee, Managing Director of Total Sports Asia, which is also selling Paddock Club tickets, said that nearly 25-30 corporates have bought these luxury tickets. “Corporate use this opportunity for team building exercises, rewarding top management.”

Meenakshi.v@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 25, 2012)
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