Despite the doubts and delays before the cash-rich cricket tournament commenced in UAE last month, the Indian Premier League (IPL) made it halfway in the virus-hit season, with viewership across the globe increased. In the United Kingdom (UK) alone, the Indian-based cricket league surpasses one of Europe’s top-tier football leagues, the English Premier League (EPL) matches in terms of viewership.
According to reports in the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB), the organization that compiles audience measurement and television ratings in the U, the IPL’s fandom in the UK is higher than ever before. As per BARB, in excess of 2,50,000 people have watched the cash-rich IPL in the UK over the last couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, Sky Sports Cricket, a UK pay-TV broadcaster that has the rights to air IPL matches, recorded 17 lakh live viewers between October 12-18 for IPL matches. In addition, the cricketing league is being watched by over two lakh viewers every day in the UK. As many as 30 lakh viewers in the country watched the IPL in October. It’s greater than the EPL’s viewership under the new Pay Per View system.
The highest watched EPL matches, Liverpool versus Sheffield United and Arsenal versus Leicester, recorded 110,000 and 140,000 viewers, respectively, while the opening match of the IPL, between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, was watched by around 168,000 viewers, according to Sky Sports data. In 2018, the opening match between the same teams was viewed by around 90,000 only.
Earlier, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly has been overwhelmed with the response which the ongoing edition of the IPL is getting in terms of viewership and ratings. The opening week of the tournament was watched by 269 million viewers, 11 million more per match compared to the like period of last year’s edition.
“Unbelievable and I am not surprised at all. When we were discussing with Star and all the people concerned – if we have to do it this year and one-month prior to the tournament, we were contemplating, whether this can happen or not, what will be the ultimate result of the bio-bubble and will it be successful,” Ganguly said while speaking on Star Sports Cricket Live show.
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