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Viewership, fan engagement & brand visibility: Understanding the power of Cricket Live on TV

PPL shows rake in higher viewership than some top impact GECs, shows data.

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New Delhi: With the mini-auction for the world’s richest sports league over, all eyes are now on the brands that will ride high on the Indian Premier League (IPL) especially as it gears up for its fourteenth season this April. Even more so, after its huge success last year, amid the challenges posed by the pandemic.

IPL 2020 shattered viewership records with TVR data reaching an outstanding 31.57 million average impressions, as per data from Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). Over 269 million viewers watched IPL in its opening week in September, 2020, which is 11 million more viewers per match compared to 2019.

With viewership numbers surpassing its previous record every year, it is no surprise why increasing numbers of brands are eager to put their money on the broadcast of this T20 extravaganza. According to initial estimates, the total number of on-air advertisers on IPL 2021 could easily cross the previous year’s numbers, including its much popular pre, post and mid innings (PPL) show, Cricket Live.

Contrary to the notion that the pre and post IPL match shows do not grab much eyeballs, viewership data of Cricket Live shows that it records a higher engagement and reach every year. According to the 2019 BARC report, live cricket broadcast garners a giant’s share of 58 per cent of the total pie, but the pre- match, mid-innings and post-match (PPL) shows and repeat broadcast account for a sizable 21 per cent.

Such is the thrill of the game, that viewers remain engrossed in the live matches broadcast, with no time to ruminate on its finer details. The discussions often spill over to the post-match shows, where some of the best experts scrutinise the game and share their sharp insights and keep the audience hooked even when the match ends.

These shows have raked in higher viewership than some top impact GECs and ads during the Cricket Live get 37 per cent higher attention than that on all other genres. The free commercial time on PPL and non-live shows also provide high reach and opportunity to see (OTS) for brands driving associative value for the brands.

Byju’s Cricket Live  a pre and post-match show during IPL 2020 is a case in point. The programme recorded a TVR of 1.2 according to BARC data (M15+ AB India Urban) and accumulated a reach of over 341 million. It aligned perfectly with the brand’s identity as an expert in the space of education and helped it get a mass reach.

“The Byju’s app certainly sees increased downloads during an India match or a big IPL match compared to non-cricket days. Other measurable objectives like awareness, audience engagement, time spent on the app, conversation rates, also have shown an upward trend,” Byju’s head of marketing, Atit Mehta had earlier told Indiantelevision.com.

The engagement on PPL shows is seen to be higher, especially in the regional feeds of the broadcast channels, where there is an opportunity to deliver the relevant match analysis in local languages, with popular celebrities and cricketers from the region.

In the past, apparel brand Fabindia has benefited immensely from brand integration with IPL on such pre, mid and post-match shows. Fabindia’s partnership with the IPL in 2019 helped it record a growth of up to 50 per cent over the same period previous year, Fabindia CMO had stated earlier, highlighting that “post-IPL, the brand had increased footfalls and conversions in the menswear range.”

As style partner, the brand had styled more than hundred on-air cricket experts in over a thousand designs from their menswear collections, as they analysed the game during the show, Cricket Live. This not only resulted in a 96 per cent increase in brand sponsorship awareness, but over 220 hours of brand exposure.  The activity also helped the brand gain a 22 per cent uplift in Google searches.

There are no doubts, IPL remains one of the biggest reach platforms on television, which guarantees a complete family viewing experience – an advantage that brands are keen to leverage upon to reach out to multiple stakeholders at the same time. The quality of the reach also remains high. Attention measurement data suggests that ads on IPL get up to 60 per cent higher attention than those on all other genres put together.

This is mainly driven by the nature of the live content which keeps viewers glued in anticipation of what will happen next and also the ad break sizes which are of less than a minute thus ensuring high break TVRs and attention leading to more memorability for the advertisements.

Despite the impact of Covid2019 restrictions on sports tournaments across the globe, IPL stays afoot as one of the most attractive, and reliable properties for advertisers to bet their money on. With the next edition of the IPL just weeks away, the anticipation is already building up among the cricket fans with their hopes high that their much loved sports league will return to its home-ground this April.

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