Even before the IPL got suspended, what was the sentiment around it? Was the raging pandemic a mood dampener? Rediffusion Consumer Lab ( Red Lab), along with IIHB, have been tracking viewer or audience sentiment around the sporting extravaganza for some weeks now. And the Red Lab’s first report results on the prevailing sentiment around IPL are quite interesting.
The consumer survey was conducted on 17thth and 18th April, reaching out to 482 respondents with a set of questions, and the same set of questions were asked on 24th, and 25th April and a third round of the same questions were administered on 1st and 2nd May.
Should the IPL have been played at all this year?
24th and 25th April, and a third round of the same questions were administered on 1st and 2nd May.
Should the IPL have been played this year, the response to this question started pretty positively at 81% saying Yes, 14% saying No, and the rest ‘maybe/don’t know’ in Week 1.
By Week 2, it was 75% Yes, 21% No, and the response to the rest of the people remained undecided.
Week 3 saw a significant plunge, with only 58% still saying Yes. ‘No’ was up to 37%, the numbers nearly doubling.
It seems the grim reality of the pandemic upsurge across India was finally catching up with India’s most famous sports entertainment show!
This feedback in Week 3 had already been recorded before news of the IPL bio-bubble being breached had become public. So the decline in sentiment cannot be attributed to actual negative news from the IPL front.
The next question asked was, Should the IPL have been played overseas again?
In Week 1, 22 percent said Yes and 18% said No, and the Rest didn’t care.
In Week 2, 27% said Yes, 22% said No.
In Week 3, 42% said Yes, 14% said No.
The third question was, Do you think watching IPL every evening provides an escape from all the pain, grief and death all around?
The overwhelming majority in Week 1 said ‘yes, at 86%. It was dipped by Week 2 to 78%. The sharp dip in Week 3 to 62%. The majority would still want to continue to see the IPL. But maybe true sentiment or anti-sentiment calibration needs to go beyond quantitative numbers, and the 33% fall in three weeks is a more eloquent indicator of the mood.
Are you watching more/less/same of the IPL as last year? This was the 4th question asked.
In Week 1 itself, 27% of respondents said they were watching less of the League. This had climbed to 32% in Week 2. By Week 3, there were 38% who said they were watching less of the IPL.
Subsequent reportage of BARC data on viewership of IPL seems to bear out the feedback.
An average of 105 million unique viewers watched 17 matches in the first two weeks of IPL 2021, registering a dip of 9.5% over last year. In 2020, an average of 116 million unique viewers watched 14 matches in the first two weeks of the league. So, the research findings are in sync with those of actual viewership data.
Another question asked during the survey was, If IPL were to be cancelled, would you miss the game?
This question was asked all three weeks and much before the announcement of the suspension.
81% had said ‘yes’ in Week 1. Dropped to 72% in Week 2. It was dipped to 49% in Week 3. Viewers were starting to get weary of the IPL.