Indian Premier League opens on a high: Watch time at 9.7 billion minutes, second highest

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The Indian Premier League’s inaugural match between Mumbai Indians and Bangalore Royal Challengers (RCB) recorded a total watch time of 9.7 billion minutes on TV, a big-bang opening for the 2021 edition of the short-format cricketing event.

As per BARC India viewership data provided by Star Sports, the debut match also clocked 323 million total impressions.

This was higher than any other IPL opening match, except last year when the league was postponed and was played in the middle of a lockdown in the UAE. Last year, overall consumption of the first match on TV was 11.2 billion minutes.

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Nearly every third TV-owning household in India watched the opening match live this time.

The viewership for IPL 2021 opener was 43% higher than IPL 2019, Star Sports said.

“We are thrilled… We were expecting some growth over 2019 numbers, but the actual jump is pretty significant,” a Star Sports spokesperson told ET.

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The TV viewership for the first match was 6.8 billion minutes in 2019.

The response shows how eagerly anticipated the season has been despite only a five-month gap between the two seasons, the spokesperson said.

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The last season was played in the UAE between September and November.

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“We are confident that viewers’ interest will continue to grow as the tournament progresses. We are committed to delivering an immersive experience that takes fans confined at home closer to the action,” the spokesperson said.

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