Barring the two years of Covid-19 when the country was in lockdown, the opening match has witnessed the second-highest rating in 12 years, the highest reach for an opening match ever and the highest consumption ever. Contrary to reports that IPL viewership on TV is declining, the performance on TV has beaten all expectations. IPL on TV is carrying forward the momentum that cricket on TV has generated over the past 8-9 months and is only set to grow during IPL.
The opening match of IPL 2023 played between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings recorded a significant increase in TV viewership across key markets, audiences and broadcast feeds as per BARC. Star Sports witnessed an enormous 31% growth in TV ratings as the match delivered a TVR of 7.3 with the peak viewership scaling to 10.2 TVR during Dhoni’s batting in the second innings. The reach for the opening match on TV witnessed a 20% growth compared to last year whereas IPL on digital saw a 26% drop in reach for the opening match, as per DATA.AI. Viewer consumption on TV too witnessed a massive uplift of 50% as the live match clocked 8.7 billion minutes whereas the watch time on digital dropped by 30% despite being free to stream.
Regarding advertiser participation, despite uncertainties in global economic conditions, TV has seen a positive response in onboarding sponsors and advertisers. As per a source at Disney Star, the broadcaster has onboarded 20 new brands shortly after the opening game's massive success and is conversing with several more brands that have shown interest. Meanwhile as per reports, digital has seen a steep 70% decline in advertiser count compared to last year.
In summary, the IPL's TV viewership has returned to pre-pandemic levels proving very clearly that IPL is viewed by most on linear television The opening match of IPL was a testament to the consistency of growth in TV viewership for live cricket in India.