Due to the general elections in India, BCCI was forced to shift IPL 7 matches to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. The UAE phase of games will end tomorrow with defending champions Mumbai Indians meeting Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai.
In all, BCCI allotted 20 games to UAE. IPL 7 got under way in Abu Dhabi on April 16. The India leg of matches will begin on May 2.
"We have been absolutely blown away by the crowds, even for the 2.30pm games. We initially thought 6.30pm games wouldn't be an issue but 19 out of 20 games have been sellouts, so that's a sign of how the IPL has caught the imagination of people here," Gavaskar was quoted as saying by "Khaleej Times".
The former India captain revealed numbers which suggest IPL 7 is a major hit compared to IPl 6.
"The viewership for the opening match was bigger than in 2013 - 4.4 versus 4.1 ratings. When compared to the first seven days of last season, the online viewership has doubled - 12 million compared to 6 million. The page views on the website has been 50 per cent higher till April 26 - 89 million page views. On Facebook page we have had 6 million likes. At the end of 2013, it was at 3.3 million. On Twitter, we have 1.4 million followers, up from from 1 million last year, making it the first Indian brand to achieve this," Gavaskar explained.
He said that the "huge success" is UAE was an encouraging sign and it always presented BCCI with an option to hold matches away from India.
"The fact that it has been such a huge success here is an encouraging sign. It is an option that we will always have. Not just to the UAE, but other neighbouring countries. The timing is crucial because of the telecast angle being so important. Also the weather.
"I gather one of the reasons Sri Lanka wasn't there was because of the monsoons. Bangladesh had just had the Asia Cup and the World T20, and we were concerned that the pitches would be tired. The pitches here have been excellent. There's been enough in it for quick bowlers; it hasn't been a one-sided contest. The size of the grounds makes a difference to the franchises. Ticket sales earn the franchises money. These are all factors when we think about taking the tournament out of India," he said.
IPL 7 ends on June 1 with the final at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium.