Rajkot, Apr 6 (PTI) The Board of Control for Cricket in India plans to make its ‘fan park’ concept bigger and better to reach out to more cricket lovers across maximum regions nationwide, a senior official said here today.

The IPL Fan Parks, started in 2015, are built in specifically selected open arenas and stadiums throughout the country to provide a stadium-like experience to the residents of the cities that do not host IPL matches.

Giant screens are set up at these venues for public screening of the IPL matches over the weekends, and fans can attend free of cost with special arrangements being made to make it women and child-friendly.

The BCCI has shortlisted 36 cities across 19 states for the concept’s fourth edition, Anant Datar, representative of BCCI for Fan Parks, said today.

“In Gujarat, Rajkot, Surat and Nadiad are three cities selected to have IPL Fan Parks,” he informed.

“BCCI’s main objective is to reach out to fans and cover maximum regions. We have selected only those cities which are not hosting IPL matches, so that people of these cities can experience stadium-like excitement,” Datar said.

He informed that the first IPL Fan Park for the 2018 season, the 11th edition of the IPL, would be on April 7 and 8 in Raipur, Bhopal, Rajkot and Tirunelveli.

He said that the concept has received “overwhelming” response from the public and that was the reason why 36 cities had been chosen to host IPL Fan Parks this year.

“The number may go up even further next year,” Datar said.

“DNA Entertainment Networks Pvt Ltd has been officially contracted and authorised by the BCCI to plan, produce and execute IPL Fan Park this year in 36 cities across India on all weekends,” he informed.

Saurashtra Cricket Association media manager, Himanshu Shah, said that the Fan Park here would be organised at Rajkot’s Racecourse ground and over eight thousand people are expected to turn up when the first two matches are telecast live.

“This would be a novel experience for people of Rajkot as the city had witnessed ten IPL matches during 2016 and 2017. This time, however, no IPL matches have been allotted to Rajkot but fans can get stadium-like excitement by visiting these fan parks,” Shah said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.