Bengaluru

Welcome to play, but you have to pay

RENTED ARENA:A match taking place on the private football ground of The GameChanger in Bengaluru.— Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

RENTED ARENA:A match taking place on the private football ground of The GameChanger in Bengaluru.— Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.  

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With open spaces shrinking, renting out playgrounds is the new business in the city

Open spaces such as playgrounds are bearing the brunt of increasing urbanisation and not everyone can walk from their homes to a local ground to play a game of football or cricket. This lack of space has given impetus to a successful business — renting out private grounds for a fee.

Apart from school playgrounds, commercial playgrounds too have opened their doors to the public. Private players in neighbourhoods such as Koramangala, Panathur, T.C. Palya, Whitefield, Electronics City, Hegganahalli, Kanakapura Road, and Horamavu offer mostly football, basketball, badminton and cricket facilities.

“Big public playgrounds, in addition to being scarce, are very difficult to use or rent. So, hiring a private playground is the best bet,” says businessman Saumil Mujumdar.

The rent usually ranges from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 25,000 for a few hours, depending on the size of the ground and the facilities offered.

An added attraction is that many of these facilities are open late into the night. However, most places charge extra for the use of floodlights. “Every time we practise, my team and I need to rent out a private ground that has an artificial turf that is needed for our game of ultimate Frisbee,” says Alex Sebastian, a resident of Indiranagar. The ground he uses charges on an hourly basis. “They charge Rs. 2,000 an hour for a portion of the ground and close to Rs. 8,000 for the entire ground,” he says, and adds that rents are on the higher side because of the artificial turf.

“You are always vying for space with cricket and football in a public playground. Also, the ground is uneven and we are prone to injuries. There are several football stadiums cropping up in and around the city …. Though we have to pay to use them, something is better than nothing,” says Noella Thomas (30) who plays ultimate Frisbee.

While a few say that the question of safety, especially for women, makes them opt for private playgrounds, some say it is the best option for working professionals who want to play on the weekends.

Parks vs. playgrounds

A much-needed distinction has to be made between parks and playgrounds. While senior citizens want walks, children want to run and play. Walks are possible in parks only, while running and playing is possible only in an open playground, says Mr. Mujumdar.

“Cubbon Park is a good example … while it is a great place to take a walk, it is not the place for a game of football,” he says.





cost of playing

Private playgrounds are found in newer areas

These include Whitefield, Electronics City, Hegganahalli, Kanakapura Road and Horamavu

Operators need a trade licence from BBMP

Fee ranges from Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 2,000 an hour

They are not as big as the playgrounds owned by schools, colleges, hospitals


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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 8:59:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/Welcome-to-play-but-you-have-to-pay/article14501585.ece

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