October 1 (Reuters) – A record 269 million viewers tuned in to this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) opening week, which is held in the United Arab Emirates due to the COVID-19 crisis, with viewing minutes up 15%, data released Thursday showed.
The Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC) said the opening seven matches of the 13th edition of the tournament from September 19 to 25 recorded 60.6 billion minutes of viewing time, 15% more than the opening week of the 2019 edition (52.8 billion).
“We are delighted to deliver the largest IPL ever. Opening week … resulted in an astounding new audience record,” Gautam Thakar, CEO of broadcaster Star Sports said in a statement.
“Dream11 IPL 2020 would not have been possible without the support of all our sponsors and partners. Our teams are working tirelessly in a bio-secure bubble in India and the United Arab Emirates to bring fans of the game closer together.”
The increase in viewership for the 2020 edition – up from 268 million viewers in 2019, occurred despite the fact that there were only seven matches in the opening week, one less than last year, BARC said.
The season opener between Indian champions Mumbai and the three-time Chennai Super Kings winners on September 19 was watched by 158 million viewers, he added.