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Star India clocks nearly 10 bn viewing minutes for IPL 2021 opener

The number is higher than pre-pandemic IPLs but lower than 2020.

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KOLKATA: Star India network has clocked 323 million total impressions for the opening match of IPL 2021. Although the curtain raiser between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore received 42 per cent higher viewership than 2019, it ticked lower viewership than the 2020 edition of the league.

IPL 2020 was hosted in an unprecedented situation which led to a tremendous growth. The country got the flavour of live sports after a long hiatus that caught more eyeballs. With limited entertainment and socialisation options at hand, it gave viewers a much needed break. But this year, the calendar has been jam-packed wit cricket; two international series took place right before the IPL. Moreover, the audience has other avenues of entertainment at hand as well. However, it needs to be mentioned that with parts of the country descending into lockdown again, the viewership may go up in the later part of the tournament.

 “We are delighted with fans' response to Vivo IPL 2021. Almost 10 billion minutes of consumption (9.7 billion) for the opening match of the tournament shows how eagerly anticipated the season was, despite just a four-month gap between the two seasons. We are confident that viewers’ interest will continue to grow as the tournament progresses,” said a Star Sports spokesperson. “We are committed to delivering an immersive experience that takes fans confined at home closer to the action. We also urge everyone to stay home as much as possible, take all precautions and be safe during these difficult times.”

Since acquiring the media rights for the IPL, Star and Disney India have invested in and grown the league year-on-year, taking the most popular sporting event in the country to greater heights. This year, nearly every third TV-owning household in India watched the opening match live, the company stated.

IPL 2021 is being broadcast in seven languages, custom-designed from the ground up for viewers of that region. With a team of 100 commentators across language feeds for the 14th season of the tournament, the illustrious panel is guaranteed to keep the audience gripped with live commentary in the language of their choice. The Select Dugout panel for the IPL 2021 that includes a decorated set of experts such as Scott Styris, Brian Lara, Brett Lee, Graeme Swann, and Dominic Cork will deliver detailed analytical commentary to create deeper fan engagement.

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