Cricket-crazy fans set to add a kicker to India’s economy as world cup begins

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Mumbai (Reuters) – Match tickets selling for up to 50,000 Indian rupees ($600) a pop. Flights to get to a venue. Hotel bookings. Or even just a match-watching party with food and alcohol ordered in.

The cricket frenzy set to hit India as the International Cricket Council’s World Cup begins in a nation of cricket-crazy fans is expected to give a short boost to the country’s economy as consumers splurge to enjoy their favorite sport.

World Cup related spending could add an estimated additional output of 180-200 billion Indian rupees in the October-December quarter with matches spread out over this month and the next, estimated Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at Bank of Baroda.

“The World Cup has the potential to boost India’s GDP, more so because it coincides with the festive season,” Sabnavis said. “Consumption, particularly services consumption, is likely to receive the maximum boost. Hospitality and tourism sector are likely to benefit the most.”

The 13th edition of tournament began in India on Thursday with 48 one-day international matches scheduled across a two month period. India last hosted the world cup in 2011, when 1.2 million people attended matches, according to data from brokerage house Jefferies.Reuters Graphics

Online travel and hotel booking platform MakeMyTrip said it is seeing increased travel bookings to cities including Ahmedabad in Western India and Dharamshala in the north of the country where key matches will be played.

Ahmedabad, which will host a game between rivals India and Pakistan on Oct. 14, has seen a 200% increase in room reservations compared to August, said Rajesh Magow, group chief executive at the portal.

Demand for homestays has also risen as cricket fans are travelling in larger groups to watch matches, he said.

“On India match days, fares have shot up on average by

150% for select hotels and 80% for select flights compared with the prior week,” said Jefferies in a note this week.

Hotels in smaller venues are fully sold out for multiple days.

The downside could be that more Indian consumers will stay in and watch matches rather than go out and spend on movies, theme parks and malls, said Jefferies.

“On the other hand, the event should provide boost to food delivery, quick commerce, alcobev, soft drinks, media, online gaming etc,” the report said. “We expect companies to run world-cup specific promotions on match days to tap this consumption boost.”

The increased demand may also mean higher inflation.

“The upward bias in inflation on this score could be between 0.15-0.25% for these two months,” said Bank of Baroda’s Sabnavis, while adding that unpacking the impact of festivals from the impact of the cricket spectacle is difficult.

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