BY: Yohan P Chawla
Cricket is a sport that binds the entire nation together, and that’s a fact everyone is aware of. The cricket fever continues in full throttle with the ICC Cricket World Cup underway in England.
BARC India’s THiNK newsletter titled, ’Cricket in India is not just a game’ talks about the popularity of sports in India, which is largely driven by Cricket and how the growing supply of cricket content both on sports channels and others as well as the growing love and support for the game proves that the sport is much loved.
A total of 766 Million viewers sampled sports content in 2018, out of which 93% of all sports viewers in 2018 consumed cricket content, which once again proved the fact that Cricket in India leads sports consumption. Cricket clocked 12.3 BN impressions in 2018 despite the absence of international tournaments in the year. Marketers also continue to bet on the sport to capitalize on the eyeballs garnered by the sport across television and digital.
Interestingly, 342 MN women watched and consumed cricket content which forms 48% of cricket viewers in 2018. The Women’s Cricket World Cup final between India and England had a viewership of 39 MN impressions.
While content created around the sport apart from the LIVE coverage and telecast is a major driver for Cricket broadcasters in the country. A total of 49,837 hours of cricket programming in the year 2016 went up to 69,835 hours in 2017 and finally peaked at 89,420 hours in the year 2018. This is a 79% increase from 2016.
The Indian Premiere League also is growing with the sport. The average watch time for the league increased from 28 minutes per viewer to 34 minutes from 2016 to 2018. Viewership in 2016 was 1027 MN impressions whereas it increased to 1250 MN impressions in 2017 and finally grew by 19% 2018 and reached 1425 MN impressions.
While viewers enjoyed the sport and the thrill, brands made sure they caught the vital attention of the viewers. Advertisements during India matches increased by 18% in 2018 and 17% witnessed growth in 2017. Perfumes and deodorants led the pack with 12,701 advertisements in 2018 being the most advertised product category.
Advertising in IPL also saw tremendous growth from 57 categories in 2016 to 79 categories in 2018. Brands too increased from 138 in 2016 to 214 in 2018. Smartphones and cellular phones dominate the category of products that love to advertise during the IPL.
While the love for cricket continues to grow and so does the availability of cricket content. What is going to be exciting enough will be the records that are expected to break in upcoming India matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.