Sports viewership grows by over 90% in the last 4 years: BARC report

India-Pakistan is most-watched game in 2019, garnering over 29 bn viewing minutes.

MUMBAI: The sports viewership on television, with around 90 per cent of growth, has gained most in the last four years among other genres, says Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India in the yearly report of 2019. It was mostly dominated by cricketing events such as IPL and the world cup.

According to the report, the 2109 International Cricket Council's Cricket World Cup match between India and Pakistan was the most-watched game between 2016-2019 garnering over 29 billion viewing minutes. The Indo-Pak match was one of the five events in 2019 that had garnered maximum eyeballs on the television screens.

“Within sports, cricket retains its numero uno position; live cricket pockets 58 percent of viewing minutes of sports broadcasts. Beyond cricket, the most-watched sports on TV are kabaddi, wrestling and football, and combined they corner 85 per cent on viewing minutes,” the BARC 2019 report reads.

Similarly, 2019 was an important year with respect to sports, especially cricket. The first-ever Pink Ball Test Match played in India was also a big draw; day one of the test match was viewed by 43 million people and clocked 2 billion viewing minutes.

The report also mentions that more than 70 per cent of rural India watches the kabaddi tournament, whereas at least 52 per cent of urban India gets entertained by the wrestling matches. Similarly, football gets more than half of its viewership from Kerala, Assam, Sikkim, and West Bengal.

India’s biggest domestic cricketing event, Indian Premier League, has only got bigger in 2019 since its inception in 2008. “In 2019, 424 million viewers, which is 51 per cent of total TV viewing population, watched live matches of IPL 12. It also showed that an additional 9 per cent watched tournament in restaurants, pubs and other such OOH locations.”

The top ten advertisers for IPL 12 were Vivo V15/V15 Pro, Mobile Premier League, Swiggy, Bjyus, Fogg, Vimal Elaichi Pan Masala, and Sprite, among others. However, this year, the IPL’s thirteenth edition seems to be in doldrums amid the rising concern of the novel coronavirus.

The 2019 marquee event ICC cricket world cup had pulled at least 509 million viewers at home and out-of-home, as 10 nations battled for supremacy. And, at least 2 million seconds of advertising featuring 192 brands played out over the tournament’s broadcast.

The tournament was in England and Wales, and was supported by top advertisers such as BJYUS, Disney, Puro Heathy Salt, Fogg, Phonepee, Kamla Pasand Pan Masala, Nissan Kicks, and Vimal Elaichi Pan Masala, among others. This sports event was only viewed the most till the time India was in the tournament. As India was out of the race in the semis, the viewership declined.

Despite viewership growth in the last four years, the sports genre has been ranked in the last position with a mere 1 per cent of total advertising volumes. genres such as news, GEC, and movies continue to account for over three-fourth of total ad volumes in 2019.

Similarly, ESP Properties, entertainment and sports division of GroupM India, in its report, had said that the overall sports sponsorship industry grew by 17 per cent to Rs 9000 crore, and for the first time ever, the on-ground sponsorship grew by 25 per cent to Rs 2000 crore.

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