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Tickets for 'Bollywood Oscars' in Tampa go on sale

Bollywood actor Sridevi performs during the International Indian Film Academy awards in Macau on July 6, 2013.
Bollywood actor Sridevi performs during the International Indian Film Academy awards in Macau on July 6, 2013.
Published Jan. 14, 2014

TAMPA — With 100 days to go, the International Indian Film Academy said Monday that tickets for its awards show in Tampa would go on sale today.

Ticketmaster's website said tickets for the April 26 show at Raymond James Stadium would go on sale at 8 a.m.

Individual ticket prices, with fees and taxes included, range from $93.50 in the upper levels of the stadium to $3,294.75 on the field near the stage.

The IIFA's 15th annual Weekend & Awards is scheduled for April 24-26. The awards weekend includes events focused on Indian film, fashion, music, business and culture. It is expected to draw 30,000 or more visitors to the bay area.

Every year, IIFA takes its awards weekend to a different country. This year is the first time it will be in the United States.

Monday's announcement was made at a news conference in Los Angeles featuring Bollywood stars Priyanka Chopra and Anil Kapoor. A similar event is scheduled in Tampa today — it's not open to the public — with another in New York on Wednesday.

The tour is meant to generate buzz for the awards weekend. In Los Angeles, planners talked to two or three dozen journalists about why IIFA chose Tampa.

A lot of it boiled down to the commitment from local supporters like cardiologist, philanthropist and insurance entrepreneur Dr. Kiran Patel, according to Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham, who attended the Los Angeles announcement.

"They said there were markets with greater glitz and glamor," said Higginbotham, who has worked with local backers to land the awards weekend. "But unlike other markets around the world, they said that there was genuine interest (in the Tampa Bay area) in making this the best IIFA that they have had in their 15-year history."

Organizers expect a big demand for tickets based on calls they've gotten from both inside and outside the Unites States as well as on sales for past IIFA galas.

"We've had lots of inquiries," said Santiago Corrada, CEO and president of Visit Tampa Bay, Hillsborough County's nonprofit tourism marketing agency.

In 2011, 25,000 tickets for the IIFA Weekend & Awards show in Toronto sold out in less than 10 minutes. By comparison, Raymond James Stadium has a capacity of 65,890.

The schedule for the awards weekend includes:

• April 23: "IIFA Stomp" Bollywood dance music festival at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, next to the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa.

• April 24: "IIFA Rocks" concert at the University of South Florida Sun Dome.

• April 24 and 25: "IIFA Global Business Forum" at the Tampa Convention Center. This is expected to draw more than 100 CEOs of companies in India, Higginbotham said.

• April 25: "Magic of the Movies & Technical Awards" show at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

• April 26: The 6:30 p.m. awards show at Raymond James Stadium. The arrival of stars on IIFA's trademark green carpet and the awards ceremony are expected to be broadcast to 600 million viewers in 108 countries.

In addition, IIFA's website offers premium packages costing from $10,000 to $25,000 per person. Those include three-day hotel stays, meals, transportation to events, special access and chaperone service, personal photos with the stars and a good deal more.

Information from CBC/Radio-Canada was used in this report.