After a delay of six months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian Premier League (IPL) returned to TV screens over the weekend, with huge numbers tuning into Sky Sports’ UK coverage during the opening weekend.
In data provided by Sky, the opening match between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings on Saturday 19th September between 14:45 and 18:45 averaged with an audience of 168,000 viewers (1.8% share) on Sky Sports Cricket. The game peaked further with 234,000 viewers, a 3.4% combined share across Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event, which also screened the game between 15:00 – 17:00. This was a strong start compared to the opening match in 2018 (the last time Sky had coverage and coincidentally also involving Mumbai v Chennai) which averaged 90,000 viewers and a share of 0.6%.
In further data available to BizAsiaLive.com, the average Indian viewers that tuned into Sky Sports Cricket for the first match stood at 62,000 viewers – a 27% share of the viewing, which equates to 37% of the overall audience. The game peaked at 15:00 with 97,000 viewers and a 37% share (combined over Cricket and Main Event).
Sunday’s match between Delhi Capitals and Kings XI Punjab averaged with 108,000 viewers and a 1.1% share – Indian viewers accounted for almost half of the audience (53,000, 16.8% share of viewing).
In another interesting piece of data, 56% of the audience for Saturday’s opening game were male – this is a marked swing for female viewers with the year to date average for cricket on Sky Sports seeing male viewers account for 73% of the audience. This was repeated for Sunday’s game where 54% of the audience were male.
Sky Sports, which acquired the IPL rights for the next three years, announced Western Union as its headline sponsor of this year’s tournament.
“We are excited to sponsor the Indian Premier League cricket (IPL) on Sky Sports for the benefit of passionate cricket fans, and especially for our customers in the U.K” said, Keerthy Bamrah, Head of U.K. Marketing at Western Union. “We recognise the deep loyalty our customers have for the game and the multiple national teams playing the game. It is a perfect opportunity to connect with our customers”.
“Cricket brings people together, and no one understands the importance of connections better than Western Union. We are pleased to help Western Union reach broader audiences through this sponsorship with Sky Media and familiarise our customers to the multiple channels offered to send money quickly, easily and whenever they want it and when it comes to IPL – Sky Sports Cricket is the ultimate destination,” said Debarshi Pandit, Head of Multicultural Business at Sky Media.
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