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IPL 2020 is smashing viewership records

Organized in the middle of a pandemic, the IPL has brought a much-needed distraction and excitement in an otherwise what seems to be a jinxed year. It is smashing all previous viewership records. Read more in detail.

Ankit Kanaujia
Last updated: 27.10.2020
IPL 2020 is smashing viewership records | Sports Social Blog

The Indian Premier League was established in order to cash in on the growing popularity of T20 right after India won the inaugural T20 World Cup. Over the years, interest in cricket, particularly of the youngsters, seemed to be waning. The sport seemed dull and slow, lacking excitement. But the IPL brought in bling, glitz, and glamour to the sport like never before. With Bollywood stars and big business houses getting involved, cricket became a huge money-spinner.

Ever since its inception, IPL has been one of the most-watched sporting events in India, and this year seems to be no different. After much delay, this year’s edition was announced to be held behind closed doors in the UAE. Organized in the middle of a pandemic, the IPL has brought a much-needed distraction and excitement in an otherwise what seems to be a `jinxed´ year. The start of the tournament has also brought an opportunity for those interested in online IPL betting to make some quick cash in these times of financial woes.

Before the tournament started, the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and the IPL chairman Brijesh Patel had said that they expected the viewership of this year’s edition to surpass previous records. That was a pretty high bar to set, and astonishingly, the very first match between the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Superkings delivered the goods. According to a BARC survey, over 20 crore viewers watched the first match, a record for any sporting event in India’s television history.

As the tournament has progressed, the interest in the tournament has not seemed to wane. First week numbers show that approximately 269 million viewers saw the matches during the first week, which is an increase of around 11 million viewers compared to the 2019 edition.

According to a BARC Nielsen report, there were 21 percent more impressions per match compared to last year. Even while there were no double-headers during the first week, the total number of viewing minutes went up to 60.6 billion minutes across 21 channels. This was a rise of 15%, in spite of a fewer number of channels, and one less match.

Along with the broadcasters, even the advertisers seem to be relishing the opportunity to grab more eyeballs. The advertising count has increased by 19%, while the brand count has increased by 22%, compared to last year., which has been associated with the event from the start of the season, has said that there has been a 25-30% increase in the number of hits on their websites and other platforms compared to the previous week. Aakash Institute, which has launched a new ad campaign on Hotstar, has reported a 40% increase in enquiries for their new courses.

Another heartening feature of this year’s IPL has been the rise in viewers on OTT platforms. According to various reports, smartphone usage has increased by 8%, and video streaming has risen by 13%. There has been a 32% rise in the user base across OTT platforms, driven mainly by the increased traffic on Disney Hotstar. The first match saw a peak of around 8.2 million viewers simultaneously watching the match, while the second match between Delhi Capitals and Kings XI Punjab saw a peak viewership of 5.2 million simultaneous views. This is despite the fact that viewing the match online requires a subscription on the platform.

Also among the big gainers are gaming platforms. Fantasy Cricket has seen a huge spike in active users. The excitement of predicting a winning combination, and the big prizes offered to fantasy gamers have been a big draw.

With so many close encounters, and high scoring games already, the high viewership is likely to be maintained. Moreover, with people generally avoiding venturing out unnecessarily, IPL provides a much-needed source of entertainment to the audiences.

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