The ongoing 10th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup seems to have hooked lovers of the sport in the country. The first 40 matches drew a record 162 million viewers, considerably higher than the cumulative viewership numbers recorded for the third season of the Indian Premier League (IPL-3) tournament last year.
According to data from TAM, a television audience measurement agency, as many as 161.9 million have watched the first 40 matches of the Cup, as compared to the 143.7 million viewers who had tuned in to watch IPL-3 in 2010. The data has been recorded in cable and satellite homes for viewers aged above four in urban and semi-urban centres.
Cumulative viewership numbers for the 2011 edition of the World Cup are 48 per cent higher as compared to the 109.5 million viewers recorded at the end of the first 40 matches in the World Cup of 2007.
Interestingly, the live streaming of World Cup matches on the broadcasterÃƒÂ¯Ã‚Â¿Ã‚Å“s official website has received 55 million views across the world. The website has served 30 million video streams to 17 million users. "The India matches so far have accounted for 10.7 million streams which reached a peak of three million during the India versus South Africa match recently," said an executive at ESPN STAR Sports.
Aloke Malik, managing director, ESPN Software India added, "We have leveraged the broadcast, digital and mobile platforms to screen the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. The response has been good. We expect the traction to build as we progress further in the tournament." As many as 49 matches would be played across India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the 10th edition of the World Cup, which has returned to the subcontinent after 15 years. The tournament began on February 19 and ends on April 2. IPL-4 would kick off soon after, with the opening match in Chennai on April 8.