The 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has shattered a few records. Not only is it the biggest-ever IPL edition in terms of viewership, it is also the first sports tournament to surpass 400 billion viewing minutes, the Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC), said on Friday.
Last year, the IPL recorded 326 billion viewing minutes, while the 2019 Cricket World Cup registered 344 billion viewing minutes. The spurt in IPL viewership, said BARC, from a year ago has been nearly 23 per cent, pointing to high tune-ins.
The 2020 IPL edition registered 31.57 million average impressions. Average impression is viewership per minute.
Sanjog Gupta, head, sports, Star India, said that coverage in five regional languages, namely, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil and Kannada pushed up viewership by 28 per cent over the last year, improving reach.
The South Indian language feeds in particular saw viewership growth of 30 per cent over the last year, Gupta said, with the production team at Star working round-the-clock to ensure coordination between the television crew filming the event in the UAE to commentators sitting in different parts of the country and fans looking to connect with the tournament.
"There were innovations such as in-stadia fan cheer and fan walls so that viewers could get closer to the game," Gupta said. The fan wall allows a registered viewer to log into what is the equivalent of a Zoom call, allowing them as well as commentators and cricketers to engage with each other throughout the game.
Star will be taking the fan wall concept to some of its other key properties such as the Indian Super League, which begins on Friday.
Also, more women and kids tuned in this year to watch the IPL, logging a viewership growth of 24 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively. Growth in men's viewership was around 18-20 per cent, Gupta said.
"All segments have seen a growth this year, which is a big plus," Gupta said. Experts say that the timing of the tournament around the festive season and consumers being at home have all contributed to viewership growth of the IPL.
From an advertising perspective, 114 television advertisers were onboarded by Star, with 18 on-air sponsors, cutting across categories such as banking and finance, edtech, online gaming and shopping, FMCG, auto, mobile handsets and durables.
Of the 18 sponsors, 5 were co-presenting sponsors, while 13 were associate sponsors. The 5 co-presenting sponsors included title sponsor Dream 11, Phone Pe, Amazon, Vodafone Idea and Byju’s.
The 13 associate sponsors included Mondelez, ITC Foods, Polycab, Diageo, P&G, Coca-Cola, Hero, KP Group, Facebook, Daily Hunt, Samsung, Cred and AMFI. Beyond the match, Byju’s was the sponsor of the pre and post-game live shows, Gupta said, pointing to the growing importance of digital companies as big advertisers.