T20 World Cup 2021: India’s ouster may hamper viewership

India vs Pakistan that took place on 24th October is the most viewed T20I match.

It’s all done and dusted for the long cricketing season in the UAE as Australia claimed the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021. Both the semifinals and the final matches had kept fans on the edge of their seats but for broadcasters, this situation was already created when India was on a brink of crashing out of the semifinals.

The star-studded Indian team was expected to at least qualify for the semi-final stage and no one believed in this more than the broadcasters of the tournament. While the question is about viewership, the drop in ad revenue wasn’t a problem since the official broadcaster, Star Sports had already sold out its inventory.

The absence of the Indian team in the knockout matches might have witnessed a downfall in the viewership. The broadcasters revealed that India vs Pakistan, which took place on 24th October is the most viewed T20I match with 167 million viewers. It broke the previous record that was set during the India vs West Indies 2016 ICC World T20 semi-finals.

India’s qualification in the semi-final stage of one of the biggest T20 tournaments might have generated massive viewership that would have challenged the record set during the India-Pakistan game in the last month. The craze of cricket in India is unmatched, the population of 11 out of 12 nations that played in the competition was 640 million, half that of India.

According to the data by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), Star Sports 1 Hindi (one of the channels that aired ICC T20 World Cup matches) has acquired the second spot across genres (Top ten channels- All India 2+) for the week 43 and 44. In week 43, the channel listed 2616.35 (000s) AMA whereas, in week 44, the channel logged 2832.51 (000s) AMA.

The general consumption touched an astounding 47 billion minutes (qualifiers + first 12 games of Super 12 stage),” according to the press note.

There were also rumours about co-presenting sponsorship estimated around Rs 60-70 crore, and the associate sponsorship was around Rs 30-40 crore. A 10-sec ad spot was sold for a lucrative amount of Rs 14-15 lakh.

According to Nikhil Vyas, Co-Founder & CEO, ITW Mediaworx, “ICC T20 World Cup viewership is looking very promising, if we look at the India Vs Pakistan match, despite India losing, it delivered 15-17 TVR’s and 188 million people tuned in for the match, that’s massive and a record in itself.”

I do believe that India losing the first two matches led to higher interest in the remaining India matches, which were earlier perceived as minnows along with the non-India matches featuring weaker teams, which wouldn’t have been the case had India done well.”

The overall viewership of the tournament won’t get impacted as India played all of the five games and there was interest in most of the games. We did lose potentially two more India matches but theoretically, there was always a chance of India’s early exit. These two matches would have certainly added much more interest and had the potential of making it the most-viewed World Cup ever, but that won’t happen now. However, the kind of matches we witnessed in Semis, anticipation for finals was also very high and these three matches contributed significantly to the overall event viewership. Let’s not forget the 2019 World Cup finals, in an ODI format, it delivered record viewership for a non-India World Cup final.”

He also mentioned, “In terms of Star’s Ad revenue, there wasn’t any impact as most of the ad inventory was presold. Moreover, all live advertising deals are non-cancellable. Hotstar might lose a bit as digital inventory is impressions based and the final three matches didn’t deliver the impressions and concurrency of the scale of an India match.”

There were in total 19 sponsors for the tournament, which included Dream11, Byju’s, Phonepe, Thums up, Vimal, Havells, JioMart, which were co-presenting sponsors, while Akash, Skoda, Whitehatjr, Great Learning, Cred, Upstox, CoinDCX, Royal Stag, Cadbury Dairy Milk, Galaxy Watch 4 Series by Samsung and Trends were the associate sponsors.

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