Headbanger's Ball

Usually my Sunday afternoon siestas are broken by Barking Boxer. He lives in the building behind ours and his weekly treat is playing cricket with his human friends on the street. He cheers loudly and unreservedly. Last Sunday, he went ballistic. The size of the ball in the narrowness of the playing area confused him and drove him ecstatic at the same time - that's right, the kids next door had switched to footer.

As had the whole country. Not just Kerala and Goa and West Bengal. Finally, cricket fever is abating. Forgive this terrible indiscretion, but I never could understand what millions saw in twenty two men in long pants chasing a tiny ball around a wide open field, every thirty excruciating seconds, and could keep at it for hours, even days, together.

By now, the evidence that football fever has overtaken cricket is all over the place - the viewership figures of 5.2 million speak for themselves. In a couple of weeks, Intellect will tell us how much out of home television viewing occurred as well, and I would not be surprised if that added a good 50 per cent to the overall.

Last Sunday gave us the unusual and perhaps unlikely occurrence of two awesome live telecast finals almost back to back. Not middle of the road pop music cricket, but the intense mastery of stroke making jazz music tennis at primetime, and the ultimate headbanger's ball later that night. From the classy Federer sporting a pristine white jacket bearing his family insignia, to the crassness of a skirmish that a hero will regret all his life, the evening kept audiences glued to their sets.

In sheer numbers, the total home viewing audience on July 9th in the top six cities went up by 33 per cent over the average Sunday (the average Sunday itself including a live telecast ODI cricket match between home team India and the West Indies at prime time on May 28). One and a half million more viewers were added, with the audience post 11 pm alone shooting up from 2.1 million to 4.1 million viewers. Average viewing minutes post 11 pm nearly doubled from 56 to 92 minutes.

By now, the evidence that football fever has overtaken cricket is all over the place - the viewership figures of 5.2 million speak for themselves


The maximum increase percentage wise was observed among male children aged 4 to 14 years - at 43 per cent. Boxer's friends sure had a well filled day that day. While the maximum increase in volumes was observed among the 35 plus. 3.75 lakh more men tuned in to watch television on Awesome Twosome Sunday, up from 9 lakh men over 35 in these six cities on an average Sunday in summer. Plus a whole lot more in pubs, clubs and friend's places.

And hold your breath - 3.34 lakh more women over 35 too! (One of them being me.)

All in all it was a sports lover's treat, of course, but not just limited to the sports lover. And that's what makes this story all that more interesting. It holds out promise for all the other deserving but so far unsupported sport in this country. Add plenty of eye candy to the promotion of the sport, speed things up a bit, pour in millions of dollars, globalize the players keeping up with the worldly new definition of 'home', and who knows - twenty years down the line, Barking Boxer - or his progeny - could well be keeping time to hu-tu-tu.

(With grateful thanks to aMap for the data and Deepa Menon of Intellect - LMG for the analysis).

(The author is Lintas India Director of Media Services)

(The views expressed here are those of the author and need not necessarily subscribe to the same)

Latest Reads
Life is more imaginative than fiction in a story like POW, says writer-director Gideon Raff

MUMBAI: Sometimes, coming back home after 17 years is not always a happy ending. "Prisoners of War" is the story of three Israeli soldiers, who were held captive for that many years following their kidnapping while on a secret mission with their unit.

Television TV Shows Thriller
IPL media rights bidding postponed sine die

MUMBAI: The BCCI has made it clear that the media rights auction cannot take place till the time it gets a concrete go-ahead and a formal approval from the Justice RM Lodha committee. Till the evening of 24 October (Monday), BCCI did not receive the okay from the committee which said, "it is in...

Television TV Channels Sports
Q3-16: DIRECTV mitigates AT&T U-Verse TV subscriber numbers fall

BENGALURU: AT&T acquired DIRECTV added 323,000 net subscribers and hence helped mitigate the company’s Entertainment and Internet Services Group (Entertainment) segment’s loss of 326,000 U-Verse subscribers for the quarter ended 30 September 2016 (Q3-16, current quarter). About 70 percent of...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
"Let India open its market, we will open ours" - PEMRA chairman Absar Alam

Pakistan’s TV watchdog - the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) - charimanAbsarAlam was in the line of Pakistan’s Geo News anchor Shahzaib Khanzada’s fire last week. In his Monday to Thrusday current affairs talk show AajShahzaibKhanzada Kay Sath - the anchor grilled him time...

Television TV Channels GECs
BIG Magic acquires 'Boonie Bears' exclusive FTA rights

BIG Magic has acquired exclusive FTA rights of ‘Boonie Bears’, the No.1 and most popular animated series in China. BIG Magic has renamed it ‘Babloo Dabloo’ for the Hindi viewing audience. Babloo Dabloo airs every Monday – Sunday 10 am – 11 am & 5 pm – 6 pm only on BIG Magic

Television TV Channels GECs
PBL: Setting stage for next big thing on Indian sporting landscape

India has witnessed the emergence of a multi-sports culture over the past few years. This significant development has come on the back of a promising display by Indian sportspersons across various disciplines, the meteoric rise of home grown leagues and the consequent widening of the fan base of...

Television TV Channels Sports
CNNMoney new section will be about the fastest growing economy; MoneyStream app launched

MUMBAI: Attracting 1.8 million average monthly page views, witnessing a 37 per cent growth in video consumption and 16 per cent in unique browsers month-on-month from India in less than a year’s time is not smooth. In its ambitious plan of global expansion, CNN Digital is leaving no stone unturned...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Content a 'Game of Thrones'; AT&T's control over HBO, Cartoon Network, Warner Bros faces regulatory lens

The global media landscape is resulting in a new juggernaut as an internet and cable behemoth yesterday purchased an entertainment conglomerate making the former unmatched in its size and reach to consumers through home broadband, smartphones, satellite television and a battery of movies and cable...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
US$ 4.5 bn expected from IPL rights; SC recommends accounts scrutiny

The Supreme Court on Friday froze all financial transactions between the BCCI and state cricket associations by directing the apex body not to disburse any funds till it resolves to abide by the Justice RM Lodha panel recommendations on reforms by 3 December . The top court ordered that none of...

Television TV Channels Sports

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories