The official broadcasting partner of IPL, Star India has reported a cumulative reach of 352 million in the first 26 matches of IPL 2021 as per data from BARC. This is 3 million more than IPL 2020. The broadcaster said that the upward trend reflects the loyalty of the fans and the popularity of the Indian Premier League.
A spokesperson from Star expressed amusement about the extraordinary response for IPL 2021 while talking to exchange4media. He also insisted that postponing the season was the right thing to do to ensure everyone’s safety.
“We are humbled with the response to IPL 2021. While it’s heartening to know that more viewers tuned in to watch this IPL season than the one in 2020. We still believe that postponing the season was the right decision to ensure the safety of everyone involved and in line with the prevailing situation in the country,”
For IPL 2021, Star had set up a mega cast with nine different feeds in multiple languages along with broadcast innovations such as simulated crowd sound and dynamic audio which kept viewers engaged. The Star India network had earlier announced that it had clocked 323 million total impressions for the opening match of IPL 2021.
Star had bagged the global rights holder of the IPL for a massive amount of Rs 16,347.50 crores for a period of five years (2018-2022). The Indian broadcaster also acquired TV and OTT (Audio, Video, and other media services via the internet) rights.
For this season Star has signed multiple contracts with broadcasters worldwide to showcase IPL 2021 in over 120 countries. The opening match between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore received a tremendous response, bigger than opening matches of all other IPL editions. Nearly every third TV-owning household in India reportedly watched the opening match of IPL 2021.
The pandemic has made an impact on the viewership of games. As reported earlier, the current season’s viewership had seen a decline compared to the previous edition. The first 17 matches of IPL 2021 had attained an average cumulative reach of 105 million viewers, as per BARC India data. Comparatively, the first 14 matches of IPL 2020 had an average cumulative reach of 116 million viewers. IPL 2019 had an average cumulative reach of 101 million viewers for the first 17 matches. The viewing minutes for the 17 matches stood at 6.62 billion compared to 8.34 billion for the first 14 matches in IPL 2020 and 6.07 billion for 17 matches in IPL 2019.