The 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup broke viewing records in India, with official broadcaster Star Sports reporting a three-fold increase in the number of people tuning into the watch the tournament, according to figures just released.
They show that the total number of minutes consumed was 5.4 billion – that is compared to the 1.8 billion minutes consumed the last time the event was held in 2018.
The final itself between Australia and India recorded 9.9 million impressions, the highest figure ever recorded for any women’s T20 match in India. That was despite the Indian team going down in the end to an 85 run defeat.
(That match was also watched by 86,174 spectators at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) which, in itself was a record, making it the second highest ever attended female sporting event. It was only beaten by the 1999 Women’s World Cup final between the USA and China, which was watched by more than 90,000 fans at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, in California).
Star Sports also had a big success with their campaign #TakeOnTheWorld which featured India’s teenage sensation, opening batter Shafali Verma. She ultimately ended-up on the losing side in the final, but her talent and performances across the event won her millions of new fans, despite her age.
The campaign also saw 1.3 million interactions generated across social media, a five-fold increase over the last ICC’s Women’s World Cup.
It is hoped that the greatly heightened interest in the game will help inspire a whole new generation of young girls across India to take up the game. It will also alert potential sponsors and advertisers to the commercial possibilities offered by high level women’s cricket.
Of course, with sport across the planet virtually shut down for the moment, some of the momentum built up by the World Cup will, inevitably, be lost. However, it must be hoped that this is just a pause, and not a setback to the development of the women’s game not only in India, but across the world more broadly.